Gays and Lesbians in Zimbabwe and Their Rights

Gays and Lesbians in Zimbabwe and Their Rights

“It degrades human dignity. It’s unnatural, and there is no question ever of allowing these people to behave worse than dogs and pigs. If dogs and pigs do not do it, why must human beings? We have our own culture, and we must re-dedicate ourselves to our traditional values that make us human beings. … What we are being persuaded to accept is sub-animal behavior and we will never allow it here. If you see people parading themselves as Lesbians and Gays, arrest them and hand them over to the police!” That being said, you can see that being openly gay in Zimbabwe does not work well in ones interests. Homosexuality is not illegal, it is sodomy that is.

The issue of gays and lesbians has for a long time been a highly contentious issue in not only Zimbabwe but around the world. It is an area that has put many a world leader to the test in how they respond to the issue of their rights. Mugabe’s disgust towards homosexuality is a sentiment that is shared by many a Zimbabwean as well.

Gays and lesbians have for a time long been subjected to all forms of discrimination which has lead to them living their lifestyle under the radar. This is not to say that all homosexuals are living under the radar, there are some who are very much out there in the open and made their sexual orientation known to all. With the inclusive government and the new Constitution expected in the near future, gays and lesbians are becoming more vocal and demanding that their rights are recognized and made a part of the new Constitution. A lot of them are fighting hard to see that they are protected under the constitution. Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) is at the forefront of seeing to it that there is constitutional equality.

GALZ Mission Statement

The principle objective of GALZ is to build a democratic and accountable organisation and to strive for the attainment of full, equal rights and the removal of all forms of discrimination in all aspects of life for gay men, lesbians and bisexual people in Zimbabwe and to inform, educate, counsel and support people in matters relative to their health and well being.

Sexual rights are human rights.

Mugabe’s fight against homosexuality was dealt a blow in the mid to late 90s when the 1st president of Zimbabwe, Canaan Sodindo Banana was convicted of sodomy. He was jailed for a year and died a few years later but was not buried at Heroes Acre with full honours as you would expect for a former head of state. This goes to show what happens to people convicted of sodomy regardless of who you are and what you have done for the nation.

Could the extreme homophobia be a result of Mugabe’s attitudes towards them influencing people to detest homosexuals or is it based on something that they themselves truly believe to be wrong? Many Zimbabweans are Christian and there are passages in the Bible that condemn homosexuality. These include Genesis 19, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Leviticus 20:13 –

“If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

This is something that may drive them towards making the decisions they have made about homosexuality.

This “Satanic”, “Western Import” (not my words but those of Mugabe and his supporters) of homosexuality will continue to be a thorn in the side of Zimbabwean politics for a long time coming. Human rights groups see it as another violation in Zimbabwe and other see it as a moral issue that just shouldn’t be allowed. It may be one of those issues where there will never be a resolve that leaves both parties happy.

What will become of the gays and lesbians on Zimbabwe?

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30 Responses to Gays and Lesbians in Zimbabwe and Their Rights

  1. T September 16, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    What do you believe? Is the first sentence about about how you, yourself see gays and lesbians???? “It degrades human dignity. It’s unnatural, and there is no question ever of allowing these people to behave worse than dogs and pigs. These people????? Is it your / our responsibility to set them right, what give us the right to judge them and condemn them to death, does the Bible not also say love your neighbour as yourself? Romans 13:10 “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law…” More than anything, I believe salvation is the answer, instead of punishing them, or whatever, give them the WORD.

    • LivingZim September 17, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

      I used to be under the notion that people can do whatever they want to do just as long as it does not interfere with my life. But, after seeing the way it was put in the Bible, my stance on it is that it is something that should not be done. You are right in saying ‘what gives us the right to judge and condemn them. All we can do is show them the error in their ways and what it could lead to if they continue with the lifestyle.

      • Farai Made March 21, 2011 at 1:18 am #

        I guess also after reading the bible verses I have included below you will also change your mind and start supporting against female pastors(1 Corinthians 14:34-36), female teachers and female leaders like our Vice President Amai Mujuru and others female in leading positions in work (1 Timothy 2:11-15) and women wearing trousers( Deotoronomy 22:5). And Educating women, Why Educate them when the bible says their role is only to bear children and serve men.
        I guess you will also support slavery and colonization and racism, because they also used the bible to justify their actions during slavery(Exodus 21:2, Colossians 3:22, Timothy 6:1, Titus 2:9-10, Peter 2:18) imagine where you would have been right now if slavery still existed because the bible supports it. Black people were called “sin of Ham” or “curse of Cannan” by pro-slavery Christians because of the bible misinterpretation.
        And you would also support murder, for non virgins, and for those who don’t listen to leader and priests,fortune tellers, children who hit or curse parents, adulters, non believers, for working on Sabbath, and for being a son of a sinner.e.t.c (let me know if you.need more) (Deuteronomy 22:20-21,Deuteronomy 17:12,Leviticus 20:27, Exodus 21:15, Leviticus 20:9-10, 2 Chronicles 15:12-13,Exodus 31:12-15, Isaiah 14:21).
        I think that it is important that
        everyone first make a careful examination of the
        Bible and how it has been interpreted and used
        through history. I think it
        might be good if we were educated as to just
        what horrors have been based on it .Of course, any time the Bible is used to justify
        an action, a particular interpretation must be
        employed ( after all, the Bible contains quite a
        number of broad, vague, and even contradictory
        statements ) . I suggest you take a few minutes to go through the article on the link bellow, long but helpful.

        • Rose May 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

          I like your response

      • soko May 28, 2012 at 1:39 am #

        the same bible that says 5)
        (Deuteronomy 22:23-24)
        If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

        Deuteronomy 21:10-14
        “When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive’s garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you under compulsion.”

      • soko May 28, 2012 at 1:43 am #

        our constitution allows different religions (or lack of religion), why must we govern the issue of homosexuality based on the views of one religion(Christianity). having known some gay people they are just human beings just like us. who are we to assert our beliefs on others?

    • homosexuality March 21, 2011 at 3:06 am #

      I too believe that homosexual is
      unnatural. But in fairness of the
      fight ,I’ ve seen a few examples
      of ” do you see animals of the
      same sex pleasuring each
      other ?” My response to this . Do
      you see animals wearing three
      peice suits , running down the
      street to catch the bus and hitch
      a ride to their office where they
      sit in front of a computer typing
      all day ? Do you get the concept
      I ‘m going for?

  2. Sebastian September 17, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    This is one of those issues in which I agree with our Dear President Robert Mugabe….I rest my case.

    • LivingZim September 17, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

      I guess that is something that I can’t dispute because of how I feel about it. Question for you, do you think the way he expresses his disdain towards homosexuality is a bit extreme? Could he be a bit more diplomatic about it?

      • Townshipvibes September 23, 2009 at 11:59 am #

        the problem with Mugabe is he is so vocal about the Gay issue, but we keep getting these stories about senior Zanu PF guys being involved in the same thing. What is he doing about it?

        These days life seems to be more about being ‘politically correct’ so we better be careful about what we may say.

        • LivingZim September 23, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

          He may try and make their lives miserable in the same manner in which he treated Banana. The issue of homosexuality is a very touchy subject that can get you into a lot of trouble depending on how you approach it but it is one that cannot be avoided. What are your views on the topic if you dare say?

          You may find this thread on the New Zimbabwe forums of interest:

  3. ZimLesbian September 17, 2009 at 8:01 pm #

    Each to their own! We have a right to love and be who we are without fear, i hope the people of Zimbabwe will seriously step out of the box…
    Anyone who says they agree with Mugabe on that issue are as crazy as he is. I don’t know why you blame the west for gay people in Zimbabwe, they have been there for a long time.

    • LivingZim September 17, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

      Yes, people do have a right to love but isn’t it unnatural to ‘love’ someone of the same sex in that manner?
      I don’t think you can call Sebastian crazy like that because there are millions of sane people around the world who would agree with him on that topic too.

      One burning question I have for you is, what do you think about the Bible?

  4. Zimlesbian September 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    God is Love. He loves me, and i love him and we have a personal relationship and that is all that matters.
    The bible? Do you all follow it to the later? The only thing i know is Jesus told me that the greatest commandment is Love Thy Neighbour. And that i will strive to do.

  5. Reflections February 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    We humans think we know it all, and THAT is our problem. I for one had two FANSTASTIC gay friends (I am female) and these two male where one of my best friends ever! I am curious by nature, and really keen on hearing,understanding or merely accepting each and every person’s reason for behaving in one way or the other – that is my take on things generally.

    What I learnt from these two wonderful people is that being gay was not A CHOICE. Believe me if they could change it, they gladly would – so as to fit better into the society. They both even have a child each with a girl (of course!). They tried dating females – like every male is “taught” to, but they felt empty, miserable and that something was missing … UNTIL they discovered/realised they were gay. That brought them so much peace (internally) and happiness. Basically, they found themselves! Doesn’t every human being just long for that rather golden moment to find themselves in one way or the other??? Isn’t it a beautiful moment when you do?? So why deprive gays of that right? EVERYONE seeks for authentic unconditional love and happiness on this planet and I personally believe gays should not be an exception …They too have needs and rights … as all human beings do.

    On another note, these two gay friends really played a significant role in molding me to be the person I am today! One was a top hair-dresser and the other was into fashion. The hair-dresser was super talented and creative and he was the ONLY person i was comfortable with touching my head with my eyes closed! I let him experiment on me and the hair-cuts he gave me almost cameout 10 times more gorgeous than the magazine depicted/or than I or even he himself imagined at times! And he always knew/had that extra special umpf to fit my head shape/face. Until todate, I can never find a hair-dresser i can allow to touch my head while i snooze off a bit!

    AND then the fashion “queen!” – ohh my … “before I explain how he groomed me in that area, let me let in on a little secret – I was attracted to him … so were many other girls!) He was DASHING!!! We flirted for a while (he was bi-sexual, though more attracted to other male counter-parts – don’t ask me anything more, that is all he later explained to me and I accepted that, not quite understood, I must confess … i also didn’t understand when he later told me that sometimes he would sleep with “straight men” …errrr??? … that threw me off, i.e. from a scientific point of understanding, … BUT well i somewhat accepted (we agreed to disagree!!) and let’s leave it there!). Now, let’s rewind a bit, THEN, one day he asked me to go for lunch with him. As we walked to the cafe, he held my hand, swang it back and forth and we giggled all the way to the cafe actually like two best friends! Then he broke the news. I was confused, because I only heard about it on TV and no-one, particularly at that time came out in the open about it in Zimbabwe (maybe it was just in my circle – I don’t know, but the fact is i had not come into direct contact with any one gay person yet). We were both silent for the 1st half hour of our steak and egg meal … as many questions flooded my only 20 year old brain at that time! Then he finally looked at me and said shoot! – he clearly sensed that I had millions of questions waiting to explode out of my little brain! Slowly I felt comfortable to ask and that’s how my knowledge of what it is to be gay developed. It was him who also broke the news about my hairdresser also being gay. Everything made sense, because there was a certain similar comfort and trust i felt with both of them which i did not feel with other men in my circle! Rather similar to that which i felt with VERY good girlfriends! From then on, the three of us met at least once a week over lunch or so and I fired them with the most wired of questions (e.g., so how do you have sex?? – yeah crazy right, but that’s just me – I’m just a little too direct at times!) They ALWAYS answered me in detail – happily. They were my best teachers on the subject to which i feel so blessed and grateful for today!

    Now, back to the fashion grooming subject, ooh my, this dude could DRESS – he had a classic sense of style. He ended up calling me (teasing me) “Madam Elegance”; he thought my style was too elegant for a 20 year old and taught me how to be more cheek and causual. It was then that the cheek boldness in me was brought out, God help, because it even shocked HIM in the end, BUT he LOVED it – I was his make-over master piece!!! What irreplaceable perfect best friends for a girl in that important delicate phase I had; my hair was done out right – almost always perfect, it was fresh and almost always ahead of what was in. Then on the clothing side, my weekend relaxing attire was girly and cheek, exactly like a 20 year old should be (I left the elegant look only for the office job i had at that time!) Those were my best times, with my two most beloved zimbabwean gay best friends by my side!

    I last saw the fashion “queen” in London 10 years ago when I was there on a study trip. He lived in a lovely pent flat on Kensington high street (or something like that) and he was completing his Masters in development studies at the centre of African studies in central London. Prior to that, he had completed a degree in Journalism whilst still in Zimbabwe actually. And he said to me; ” I will be the first Zimbabwea/African gay President” and I thought, why not!!! I mean he has what it takes, sooo! But unfortunately the next time i called London he had moved, my numbers too changed and today I actually miss him dearly much. I hope he would stumble into this one somehow and get in touch. If so, find me on facebook Princess – I can’t get over your classic original louis Vuitton trunk you had in your london flat. DAMN I want it – where the hell are you???!!! Let alone the Shona/Zimbabwean art … timeless

    AND as for the hair-dresser, I’m still intouch with him! He is somewhere here in Europe too and owns a cheek Euro/Afro hair saloon, too bad it is too far from me, BUT BUT BUT, he came to my wedding a couple of years ago and made me look PREEEETY!!! He also gave a beautiful speech stating how much i inspired/helped him develop into this confident hairdresser and person he is today! Little did I know, I was touched, but also little did he know two how much he too had inspired and developed me … NB: People are put into our lives for various reason, pay close attention, with an open heart …you will be surprised to learn the treasures hidden in almost every encounter with another human being!

    Life is too short, let us TRY to understand each other i.e. where we are coming from, if we can’t understand, let us then merely accept, but just don’t judge. No one had the right to judge another human being. Leave that to the Lord …

    • Farai Made March 20, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

      what a lovely story, thanks for sharing I with all Zimbabwean could see it the way you do and stop all the prejudice and discrimination.

  6. wezhira November 23, 2010 at 3:18 am #

    Zvimwe ndezvimwe, apa i support Bob 100%. this is disgusting stuff. the fact that some other countries and societies vanozibvumira hazvirei kuti isu tongoita gudzadungwe tichi tevera zvisinabasa

  7. Sean R March 21, 2011 at 1:33 am #

    As a black lesbian , I always say
    throughout the time of
    colonialism and slavery, the
    imposition of Christianity was
    one of the worse things that
    ever happened to black people.
    It breaks my heart to see Afro –
    American , Afro -Caribbean and
    Africans that want to persecute
    fellow LGBT black folks based
    on the bible. If the Zimbabwean
    minister wants to live his life
    and his people based on the
    bible, why not go back to
    slavery? Why can ‘t Zimbabwe go
    back to be the Republic of
    Based on Genesis 9. He is the
    people of Canaan, the people
    doomed with the curse of Ham,
    where their only place is to be a
    slave. If he wants to be a good
    Biblical Christian, he must
    realize his inferiority as a dark-
    skinned man and know his
    place as a slave . He must also
    find a white man to enslave
    him. If the slave owner
    mistreats him, he must still
    submit to his slave owner
    according to Exodus 21 .

  8. paidamoyo March 21, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    It doesn’t matter how
    people connect physically , it’s
    important how they connect
    emotionally. Just because we
    were meant to have sex and
    reproduce heterosexually ( men
    as many times as they can in
    the time given ) doesn’t mean
    we need to. If we did then we
    would have very few males ,
    with many, many wives . That’s
    the natural way really. Since we
    as people have developed
    beyond simply natural instincts ,
    we should then have the ability
    to understand that attraction is
    not something you can control.
    You are attracted, who you are
    attracted to , and that ‘ s that .
    You can ‘t just be friends ,
    because the emotions and
    temptations that exist there
    continue to plague the
    relationship ( like for you a man
    and a woman who really like
    each other but can ‘t be
    together , just being friends,
    rarely works ) . On top of that,
    you can ‘ t marry someone who
    you lack that attraction for.
    Then it’ s a strained and terribly
    tiring existence .

  9. homosexuality March 21, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    I ‘ve heard this many times . I
    respect all of your opinions, I
    just want to share one of my
    own . I think that being
    homosexual is not a bad thing .
    We all prefer different things .
    When it comes to sexuality,
    some of us may rather be with
    someone of the same gender ,
    opposite gender or both. Maybe
    some one you are right in
    thinking that people just do it
    for the experience or ” natural
    birth control” , but I think that
    there are people out there
    willing to give their hearts to
    both genders . Actually , I think
    that those people are
    homosexuals ; the other are just
    curious but does not make
    them homosexuals . Some say
    that it says in the Bible that it
    can only be men and women
    but not with the same gender . I
    am not certain about that since
    I have not read the Bible , but
    even if the Bible did mention
    that , I’ d still wouldn ‘t have a
    problem with homosexuality . I
    don’ t think it matters what other
    people say, whatever it has to
    do with religion , etc . I think
    what truly matters is what the
    person feels. If they like both
    genders or if they don’ t, it’ s fine
    with me either way, but I don’t
    like the fact that people will use
    that as a way to discriminate
    them or put them in the
    spotlight . I also think that a big
    part of being human is
    individuality ; what makes each
    person unique. I believe that
    discriminating a person by their
    differences is wrong but
    accepting them is what should
    be .

  10. homosexuality March 21, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    No one should be
    condemned for being attracted
    to one another .

  11. homosexuality March 21, 2011 at 3:09 am #

    homosexuality is not unnatural
    just because you don’ t see
    animals doing that . because
    being homosexual has more to
    it then just sex ,which is what i
    don’ t understand . the first thing
    most people think when they
    hear the word gay is, sex . which
    is stupid . its not unnatural at all. i
    mean just because it ‘s different
    doesn ‘t mean its unnatural. no
    one has the right to say this
    about homosexual people, so
    this statement is just adding on
    to the homophobic world this
    place is turning into. i am hoping
    one day soon, people will
    realized that there is nothing
    sinful about homosexuality.
    Homosexuality does not have to
    be in the sexual sense . What if
    the people are in love ? Are we
    to deny their right to happiness ?

  12. Tendai March 21, 2011 at 3:14 am #

    The bottom line is some people
    are more attracted to
    members of there own gender
    and love for another person
    really has little to do with
    gender . Love is not sex .
    Since sex is done more for
    pleasure than for reproduction
    what is the difference who or
    what you do it with . A long as
    you are happy and no one has
    been hurt. In other words as
    long as I am not raping and or
    molesting it is not for others to
    worry or lose sleep over much
    less join a crusade.

  13. Tendai March 21, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    Look around you natural has no
    significance today. Everything in
    our world is unnatural? Is is
    natural to make friends on the
    web ? Is the Internet natural ?

  14. Taona March 22, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    The bible says that “All
    have sinned and gone their way…., and that Christ died for us
    while we were sinners” – from the latter it means that if we
    say we do not sin we are DEFEATING the purpose why Christ
    died for us on Calvary. On the same breath, someone out
    there has created an imaginary sin scale –the Bible says
    that “All sin is equal before God and its consequences is
    death”. So if one is a murderer, fornicator, Adulterer, liar,
    drunkard, homoerotic etc. they are all graded equal before
    God’s Judgment Scale. However, We tend to judge harshly on
    sins we do not commit, but favourably on the ones we do.
    The blood of Jesus speaketh better things!!! We confess our
    sins those that we have committed knowingly and
    unknowingly with our deeds, actions, behaviour and
    otherwise and we are made righteous to be called the sons of

  15. Taona March 22, 2011 at 4:59 am #

    please note: the fact that a man sleeps
    with another…does not mean/ make him gay…..

  16. primrose May 28, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    Hunhubu ,hunhubu inhonho,zvekufemera mugotsi mevamwe varume.

  17. machaka May 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    homesexual is a crime against natural laws of living.its against God the creater of evrything .why should human beings behave worse than animals.homosexual is biblically,traditionally morally wrong

  18. Rumbi May 28, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    It is not our place to judge. And all those who say animals don’t do it so why should we – animals don’t wipe their bum after taking a dump but we do – maybe thats a Bigger problem? Personally – I don’t live my life according to animals – I don’t degrade myself as such. But since you do – animals do have homosexual behaviour.

    If they are happy and aren’t hurting anyone, then live and let live.

    Judge not lest ye be judged.

  19. Asiagate Scandal December 13, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    What i know is, in one of the years to come these galz are going to be given their rights wether we like it or not
    I advise you guys to pray all the time so that the devil dont get even a half chance to corrupt you.

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