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angola scraps law banning same-sex relationships

January 24, 2019
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Of the 69 countries around the world that still criminalize homosexuality and gender-nonconformity, almost half reside in Africa, with the continent securing LGBTQI+ rights at a glacial pace. The homophobic policies woven into the laws of African countries were inherited from colonizers — so it’s refreshing to see the former Portuguese colony of Angola reassert a new level of independence by banishing the “vices against nature” provision in its law, decriminalizing “same-sex conduct.”

All Africa reports that on Wednesday (January 23rd), Angola’s parliament adopted a motion to remove a provision enforced by the Portuguese when they ruled over the country from the 18th to the 20th century. The colonizers showed up with bibles and guns, enforcing their dominion through violence and propaganda-based theology. The People’s Republic of Angola achieved freedom in 1975, and this latest change in the laws brings with a second phase of independence.

Compared to other proactively homophobic countries like Uganda and Nigeria, Angola didn’t enforce the “vices against nature” provision, as there are no known prosecutions. That said, the law did make it harder for queer Angolans to access healthcare and education — a byproduct of ideologies, customs and beliefs imposed on Africans by colonizers. African patriarchs lambast African feminists, accusing them of adopting ideologies from the West that “contradict the beliefs of Africans,” while enforcing laws built around religious ideology used to mentally enslave Africans and instill a hierarchy of superiority. There’s evidence of homosexuality on the African continent dating back to ancient Egypt, yet the hill that African leaders want to die on was built by the same overlords that still exploit the continent. The irony can be seen from space.

There is a global shift towards decriminalizing LGBTQIA+ communities and although the average rate of reform ebbs and flows with euphoric highs and disastrous lows, it is still happening at a historic rate. The move by the Angolan parliament to scrap the provision and legalize Iris Angola, an organization fighting for the nation’s LGBTQ+ rights, shows a slow yet present realization by African leaders that the youngest (by population age) continent in the world is shifting, evolving beyond the obsolete ideologies of the past.