poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Zim gays: 'Dogs and pigs' no more?
Wilson Johwa

“Worse than dogs and pigs” is how Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe described homosexuals almost a decade ago, when the gay community attempted to highlight widespread homophobia in the Southern African country.

That statement, reported around the world, still reverberates in the country, casting a long shadow over the exercise of sexual freedom. Under Zimbabwean law homosexuality as such is not illegal. But sodomy –- narrowly defined as anal sex between men -– is.

Yet, in subtle ways, things are also changing. Intolerance, particularly at the official level, seems to have mellowed into indifference. The random and all too frequent arrest of gays appears to have ceased, while the police’s last raid of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) office was in 1996.

“We have a good relationship with our local station,” says Keith Goddard, who heads the 400-member organisation. “They treat us with great professionalism.”


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