South Africa: African academics challenge homophobic laws

A Western import. Unnatural. Contagious. Un-African. All of these arguments and more have been invoked to support the numerous laws criminalizing homosexuality in Africa. But now African academics have used scientific evidence to argue against such laws and to urge African nations to abandon them.

In a report published by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the academics, most of whom are scientists, make the case that laws criminalizing homosexuality have no basis in science and hamper efforts to prevent and treat HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (see

Partly because those arguing in favour of criminalising sexual and gender diversity have made explicit appeals to science, this report examines the extent to which science supports any of the arguments that proponents of these new laws make. Drawing on recent scientific evidence and, where possible, on systematic reviews, the report seeks to provide an up-to-date overview of the state of the current biological, socio-psychological, and public health evidence and assess how this supports, or contests, the key arguments made in favour of new laws. Read More