1887

n Gender Questions - Homosexuality in Cameroonian prisons : perspectives of female inmates, prison staff and NGO representatives

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2309-9704
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Abstract

Homosexuality is highly resisted in Cameroon by all spectrums of the social strata and it is a criminal offence under Cameroonian criminal law. Yet there has been little research on homosexuality in Cameroon, let alone prison sexuality. Defence lawyers for lesbians, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersex individuals (LGBTI) and their families receive anonymous telephone calls and text messages threatening them with death if they do not withdraw from defending homosexuals. The National Commission for Human Rights and Freedom (NCHRF) refuses to protect LGBTI victims from arbitrary arrest and police brutality, and their subsequent incarceration in prison. Workshops organised for sexual minorities are being disrupted even when the organisers obtain due authorisation. The article examines the continuation or spread of the practice of homosexuality despite its criminalisation, as well as the dynamics of the practice within a prison system. The research is qualitative, involving the narratives of 38 research participants distributed as follows: 18 female inmates, 18 prison staff members and two NGO representatives. The findings reveal that homosexuality exists in Cameroonian prisons and is more common in men's cells than in women's cells. Prison staff have attempted to limit its practise in the cells, yet it is ongoing and both prison staff and inmates punish the perpetrators of this offence. The decriminalisation of homosexuality as an offence has become imperative, because in this author's view sexual orientation is not biologically determined but rather the result of socialisation.

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/content/genderq/1/1/EJC167613
2013-01-01
2016-12-10

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