U.S. Support of Gay Rights in Africa May Have Done More Harm Than Good
LAGOS, Nigeria — Suspicious neighbors and landlords pry into their private lives. Blackmailers hunt for victims on the social media sites they use to meet others of the same sex. Police officers routinely stop them to search for incriminating images and chats on their cellphones.
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Since an anti-gay law went into effect last year, many gay Nigerians say they have been subjected to new levels of harassment, even violence.
They blame the law, the authorities and broad social intolerance for their troubles. But they also blame an unwavering supporter whose commitment to their cause has been unquestioned and conspicuous across Africa: the United States government.
“The U.S. support is making matters worse,” said Mike, 24, a university student studying biology in Minna, a town in central Nigeria who asked that his full name not be used for his safety. “There’s more resistance now. It’s triggered people’s defense mechanism.”
Four years ago, the American government embarked on an ambitious campaign to expand civil rights for gay people overseas by marshaling its diplomats, directing its foreign aid and deploying President Obama to speak before hostile audiences.
The story continues and please pay attention:
***Since 2012, the American government has put more than $700 million into supporting gay rights groups and causes globally. More than half of that money has focused on sub-Saharan Africa ***— just one indication of this continent’s importance to the new policy.
America’s money and public diplomacy have opened conversations and opportunities in societies where the subject was taboo just a few years ago. But they have also made gay men and lesbians more visible — and more vulnerable to harassment and violence, people on both sides of the gay rights issue contend. The American campaign has stirred misgivings among many African activists, who say they must rely on the West’s support despite often disagreeing with its strategies.
So since 2012, just in Sub-Saharan Africa, $ 350 million into sub-Saharan Africa on this project alone? I don’t want to see any persecution or injustice or denial of rights but really; are booklets printed up or what? With all due respect as well, doesn’t this also point to at times, our government not really functioning that well? To spend money like this and could it have been accomplished (if it has to be that is) by spending less?