The political leaders of Côte d’Ivoire have refused to pursue any anti-gay legislature unlike their backward counterparts in many other African countries, stating that they have more important things on their agenda than what people do in their bedrooms. I am happy that there are still leaders in the West African sub-region who still have common sense and put some of their people’s needs first. The country which was once known as the centre of medical excellence in West Africa as well an extremely beautiful travel destination was recently in a destructive war which ended in 2011 but damaged a lot of the country’s structures and laid waste their reputation. Part of the turmoil allegedly stemmed from the discovery of oil, the resource whose discovery hasn’t really helped any African nation overcome its difficulties despite the ridiculous amounts of money involved in its production and trade.
Many people I know have been to Abidjan and report that the city is extremely friendly and tolerant. Though
anti-gay attacks do occur (like in most countries of the world – even the most tolerant), most gay people are mostly free to do as they choose. Also the police readily investigate all matters regardless of the sexual orientation of those involved and this is a big thing. Reading the article on LGBT freedom in the country and how gay men and women may not express affection through other means besides some petting, I wonder if that is solely due to people not wanting to test the limits of Ivorien tolerance or if this behaviour is simply due to established cultural norms which apply to all people irrespective of sexual orientation. I don’t often see heterosexual couples kissing in public in many African countries and the ones that do, even under the darkness of a smoky club, are often branded as rude and without manners. Then again, I’ve never been to Abidjan and do not know whether heterosexuals routinely play ‘tongue-hockey’ and more in public.
I’m glad there is still hope on the continent. Now to go and find my French dictionary 🙂