ADDIS ABABA: They call themselves Lucy and Tina. They are Ethiopian. They are lesbians. They are a couple who have been together for five years. But last week, while dancing at a local club in Addis Ababa, they told Bikyanews.com they were attacked by other women, beaten and forced out of the nightclub. The reason: they are lesbian.
“The women just kept yelling at us and screaming and pushing when we started to hold hands,” Lucy told Bikyanews.com, her eye still dark from the marks of the assault. “They shoved and punched at us until we were forced to leave.”
Tina also has bruises on her arms. The couple said they were enjoying a night out of dancing at a club they often go to for relaxation. They said they’d never had any problems.
“It is shocking because we don’t show a lot of physical intimacy, but we do try to enjoy our time,” chimed in Tina. “And then all hell broke loose. It is becoming more and more common in Ethiopia to be attacked because people are gay or lesbian. The campaign against the community is growing.”
They both alluded to the recent calls from an Evangelical organization that is pushing for the death penalty against Ethiopia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
An anti-gay organization that held a recent workshop on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in Ethiopia is reporting that the death penalty against gay people in Ethiopia may be on the horizon.
The workshop reportedly looked with the social ‘evils’ and ‘disastrous’ effects of homosexuality in Ethiopia, and was led by United for Life Ethiopia, a Western Evangelical Christian organization with local representation.
Government officials, religious leaders, leading heath professionals, charities and members of the public attended the event at the Bethel Teaching Hospital in Addis Ababa, last week.
In the workshop police alleged ‘homosexual family members and neighbors’ have sexually abused 117 boys last year.
It comes on the heels of much antagonism toward the LGBT community in Ethiopia.
An article recently published by Bikyanews.com has received virulent anti-gay sentiments from users inside the country. A number of comments and angry emails have been flowing in that call for the death of Ethiopia’s small lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
“kill them all these rubbish people ,the country never allowed this kind of community,” one comment at the end of the article stated.
In yet another, a user linked anti-LGBT sentiment to the Bible in claiming that Ethiopia’s LGBT community should leave the country or face reprisals.
“No the same sex marriage in Ethiopia because that is the historical and Christianity country so that is the better thing …in the bible also not allow to be same sex marriage it is a big sin ..sorry for you guys who is the gay ppls …shame on you …also,” it read.
The article detailed a young man who was hopeful that Ethiopians were becoming more accepting and open to the gay community, but the comments show that there remains a staunch anti-LGBT sentiment in the East African country.
“Sometimes you just can get around those types of people,” David Emete, the man featured in the article, told Bikyanews.com after seeing the comments. “If they don’t understand or meet gay people, they won’t know better.”
But the community as a whole seemed bent on attacking LGBT people.
“Our community dont tolerate such disgusting practice, if you want to be a gay then please leave our country and practice where ever fits your bulshit place,” wrote another comment.
For Lucy and Tina, they fear that their lives could quickly become in danger and are looking to apply for sexual asylum in Europe or the United States.
“What else can we do with all this hate and anger but leave and that is what people want,” added Lucy.