“Because I am gay, society discriminates against me and looks at me as abnormal, one who does not need basic needs,” said a 22 year old male who has been openly gay for five years now. He explains how life became difficult for him once people knew he was gay.
Ally Husein came out when he was 17 years old.
Ally experienced stigmatization in different aspects of his life. Notably, he says some people now refuse to share hands with him, or talk to him, based on the belief that talking to him might cause them to have a child with the same sexual orientation.
Husein Nondo, Ally’s father, explains that when Ally was young he would spend most his time playing with girls and would prefer to dress like them. He didn’t expect his son to be gay but became suspicious when he recognized that he wished to spend more time with women than his fellow men. Husein says that he tried to shape him otherwise, but believes that he failed and Ally ignored his advice.
There is no doubt that discrimination against gay and lesbian people in Tanzania is a major problem. Homosexuals experience a number of social and cultural difficulties. There is a need for the government to recognize the rights of homosexuals, and educate others on their rights as well.
All people are entitled to human rights regardless of their sexual orientation. Gay and lesbians should enjoy human rights like any other. Those who suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation are urged to report to human rights centres for education and support.
Maria is a student of Mass Communication at St. Augustine University of Tanzania, as well as a volunteer news presenter at Radio SAUT, the university’s on-campus student-run radio station. Maria’s dream is to become a journalist who focuses on human rights issues, especially those of women and children.