Rethinking the issue of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Africa: The Struggle for Equality

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is one of the main topics that has recently been central to many debates. While the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community has made great strides in advancing their rights in some countries in the global North, full equality remains elusive in the global South. The term “sexual orientation” refers to an individual’s physical or emotional attraction to the same or opposite gender. Meanwhile, “gender identity” refers to a person’s innate, deeply felt psychological identification as a man, woman or some other gender, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth. The issue of  sexual orientation and gender identity in Africa is seen to be more reminiscent of colonial repression than of post-independent freedom. As of July 2015, seventy two countries have laws criminalizing homosexuality, and most of them are located in Asia and Africa.