Last edited: December 08, 2004

GALZ Wants Homosexuality Enshrined In New Constitution

Zimbabwe Herald, October 25, 1999

The Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe want the new Constitution to allow consensual same-sex relations between adults in privacy.

However, the Guadalupe Association of Zimbabwe, an organisation which campaigns for the right to life, said the new constitution should place limitations on people's sexual practices.

The constitution should "not allow homosexually orientated people to proselytise openly or secretly in schools and youth movements, etc.".

"This is a point that is supported by an overwhelming majority," the association said in its petition to the commission.

GALZ programm manager, Keith Goddard, however, insisted that a sexual orientation clause did not mean the "slippery slope down towards the acceptance of bestiality, sexual abuse of children, sex in the streets, sex with dead bodies and other forms of sexual violence".

He was petitioning the Constitutional Commission's plenary session in Harare yesterday.

"A sexual orientation clause does not mean the social acceptance of abusive behaviour. Violence is wrong.

"A sexual orientation clause does not confer special rights and privileges on lesbians and gay men; it will simply guarantee us the same rights and privileges which are afforded heterosexuals," he said.

Mr Goddard said the clause did not mean an end to Christian civilisation as many gays and lesbians were people of faith and posed no threat to society.

"A sexual orientation clause does not mean the destruction of Zimbabwean culture and an end to the Africa way of life; it means that the many different cultures will be encouraged to recognise and accommodate our relationships," he said.

He said the clause would not lead to the demise of the human race because "at any one time in history", the number of living homosexuals is around 10 percent of the total population.

"A sexual orientation clause does mean gays and lesbians of Zimbabwe will have protection that makes it easy to challenge anti-gay legislation and bring added clarity to the law.

"In particular, it means making a proper distinction between consensual sodomy (which should be decriminalised) and enforced sodomy which should properly be called rape," he said.

Supporting the GALZ stance, a 23 year-old lesbian, Ms Sikhanyisiwe Ngwenya, said: "I would like the new constitution to include the rights of lesbians in Zimbabwe.

"Zimbabwe, as a nation, must accept the fact that there are lesbians in Zimbabwe from all races and creeds, and I am one of them."

Ms Ngwenya said discrimination against women in the country was high and "as lesbians we are made to suffer even more than the ordinary women".

In his submission to the Commission, a homosexual man identified as Sweetie said campaigns against homosexuals were emotionally damaging to individuals and families of gay men.

He said society must recognise gay relationships and stop equating them with rapists, murderers and criminals and "calling us worse than pigs and dogs."

He said he has been in a "loving relationship" for seven years with a black man of 26.

"My partner and I are living together in a township in Harare.

"Having met him just after my O-level, I know I was definitely not influenced into entering into this relationship by other people," he said.

[Home] [World] [Zimbabwe]