Quiet recently, a number of laws have been enforced to prohibit various forms of discrimination in areas covering education, employment, housing, police practices, and other programs. Although these laws do not explicitly refer to sexual orientation or gender identity, they prohibit sex discrimination, which protects all people (including LGBTI people) from gender-based discrimination, including discrimination based on a person’s nonconformity with stereotypes associated with that person’s real or perceived gender.
The struggle of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people for equal rights has moved to center stage. LGBT people are battling for their civil rights in Congress, in courtrooms and in the streets. Well-known figures are discussing their sexual orientation in public. Gay and lesbian people are featured in movies and on television – not as novelty characters, but as full participants in society.
LGBT people continue to face real discrimination in all areas of life. No law prevents a person from being fired or refused a job on the basis of sexual orientation. The nation’s largest employer – the Sierra Leone military – openly discriminates against gays and lesbians. Mothers and fathers lose child custody simply because they are gay or lesbian, and gay people are denied the right to marry.
The right to privacy, or “the right to be left alone,” is guaranteed
The public urge for government to end discrimination, to recognize lesbian and gay relationships, and to adopt laws prohibiting discrimination in the private sector cannot be overemphasized.
This also includes the rights to form social and political organizations, to socialize in bars and restaurants, to march or protest peacefully, to produce art with gay themes and to speak out publicly about LGBT issues.
The lack of acceptance and fear of persecution has led many LGBT youth in Sierra Leone to leave their homes and live in transitional housing or on the streets. Many LGBT youth have also been rejected by their family of origin or caregivers and forced to leave the home as minors. The consequences of youth homelessness have many implications for the socioeconomic status of LGBT youth in the country.
Gays and Lesbians are also human beings and must be allowed to practice whatever kind of sex they chose to practice. So government must let them be in peace.
I want to use this opportunity to call on all gays and lesbians to come out on 3rd February to join me, Mariatu Jalloh on a national rally to march to state house and call on the President to give gays and lesbians their rights to practice whatever they want to practice.