The staggering outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has caused worldwide panic, devastating the countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone that are ill-equipped to handle such a dire health emergency. But lost in the entire pubic health scare is the largely fragmented and horribly oppressed gay community of Liberia. The religious leaders in Liberia hate gays just as much as our religious leaders, but they do so from much smaller mansions.
Liberia, already notorious for its rabid homophobia (think Kansas but bigger and with actual black people), found itself even further away from equality after Liberian religious leaders linked gays to Ebola. This outright ignorance naturally lead to even greater oppression of gays in Liberia. According to gay activist Leroy Ponpon, LGBT people have been harassed, physically assaulted and some have had their cars smashed by people who blame gays for Ebola. On the plus side, at least they can’t blame Mexicans over there.
“Since church ministers declared Ebola was a plague sent by God to punish sodomy in Liberia, the violence towards gays has escalated. They’re even asking for the death penalty. We’re living in fear,”Ponpon told Reuters.(EdgeMedia)
And since Liberia has been hit particularly hard, Amnesty International’s Francois Patuel told Reuters there have been a plethora of threats and violence against LGBT people in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. Threats escalated following the proclamations from Liberian Christian leaders
“Amnesty has received pictures of cars that reportedly belong to gays with their windows smashed as well as reports that gays have been forced from their homes and had to go into hiding,” Patuel said. (EdgeMedia)
The anti-gay anxieties, pervading Liberia like the infectious disease itself, are so rampant that they have Ponpon afraid to leave his home, especially after the media foolishly published his photo and phone number across newspapers there.
“In the day, we move around wearing sunglasses and disguises,” Ponpon added. “The problem with moving at night is that it is not safe in Monrovia in the dark, and also, if you violate the Ebola curfew, it is punishable by imprisonment. Right now, all we want is protection. We want the government to come forward and say that this is a minority group and they deserve the same rights as anyone else and then people will stop attacking us.” (EdgeMedia)
Obviously, the people most at risk of contracting Ebola are the caretakers and families who improperly handle the deceased bodies of the infected. But logic and religion go together like Sarah Palin and Shakespeare.
H/T: Huffington Post
Featured image courtesy of ImpunityWatch