News April 17, 2018 at 01:21 pm

Britain apologizes for criminalizing same-sex relations in its former colonies

Bridget Boakye | Contributor

Bridget Boakye April 17, 2018 at 01:21 pm

April 17, 2018 at 01:21 pm | News

The on-going debate about whether homosexuality is native to Africa just took an interesting turn.

Although many Africans argue that homosexuality is a Western import to the continent, some historians and activists say that homophobia, not homosexuality, is the Western import. And it seems like Britain just confirmed so.

Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, apologized on Tuesday (4/17) about Britain’s role in criminalizing same-sex relations in its former colonies. May said anti-gay laws often passed under British rule and still in effect, were “wrong then and wrong now”.

“Across the world, discriminatory laws made many years ago continue to affect the lives of many people, criminalizing same-sex relations and failing to protect women and girls,” May said.

“I am all too aware that these laws were often put in place by my own country, they were wrong then and they are wrong now. As United Kingdom’s Prime Minister I deeply regret both the fact that such laws were introduced and the legacy of discrimination violence and even death that persists today,” she said in London.

May made the statement at a meeting of the Commonwealth, a network of 53 mostly former-British colonies. This network is especially important to Britain as it leaves the European Union next year and seeks to find other avenues to project Britain’s influence around the world after it does.

Britain’s colonial-era laws outlawed same-sex activity in 37 of the 53 member nations. Nineteen of the Commonwealth’s 53 countries are African. Activists launched a petition calling for Britain to apologize for colonial-era laws which outlawed and in some cases, imposed the death penalty, for same-sex activity in 37 of the 53 member nations, on Monday.

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