|Status||Illegal since 1972|
|Penalty||5 years imprisonment and fine. Vigilante executions, beatings and torture are also tolerated.|
|Recognition of relationships||No|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Cameroon face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Cameroonand LGBT people face stigmatisation among the broader population.
In 1921, German ethnographer, Günther Tessmann quoted a local calling homosexuality a "national custom"among the Bafia people in his book Die Homosexualität bei den Negern Kameruns. He later on described the three stages of life of a Bafia man, namely:
Kiembe boys were prohibited to have sexual and social contacts with prepubescent girls at the risk of being tortured or enslaved; there was a fierce competition to get the available women. The only option left of those kiembe men was to develop a close male sexual friendship with a lexan, a kiembe boy of a younger or of the same age who is in the same situation, where they would often engage in ji’gele ketön, anal penetration.Before the sexual act, one of the boy would ask the consent of the other person by showing them a basketry plate of earthnuts and say that if they eat one, they consent. This metaphor symbolized the apparent dirtiness of a nut coming from the ground but become sweetness of it upon tasting. These acts could happen anytime, at any place (such as at one of the boys' home) and were seen as normal. For instance, it wasn't rare for a father to come back home to witness his son performing a sexual act and to laugh it off.
The kiembe and his lexan would help each other to abduct a woman and share her, regardless of her marital status, with the other kiembe people of the settlement so they could all become ntu. This event is seen by many as a turning point that will make the young man win over heterosexual relationships. However, some still continue to be in same-sex relations.
Upon reaching the mbäng stage, the father would often name his newborn after the lexan, regardless of the baby's gender.
Same-sex relations were also seen as the logical extension of intimate adult friendships.
Cameroon’s first Penal Code, enacted in 1965, did not criminalise consensual same-sex sexual acts. An ordinance issued in September 1972 by President Ahmadou Ahidjo introduced Article 347bis (now 347-1). This amendment took place a few months after the advent of the unitary state under the new constitution, when the National Assembly had not yet been elected.
The Law on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime (Law No. 2010/012 of 21 December 2010) criminalises online same-sex sexual propositions.Under Article 83(1) any person who makes sexual propositions to a person of their sex through electronic communications shall be punished with imprisonment of one to two years and a fine of 500,000 to 1,000,000 CFA francs or only one of these two penalties. Under Article 83(2) it is established that the penalties are doubled when the proposals have been followed by sexual intercourse.
In May 2005, 11 men were arrested at a nightclub on suspicion of sodomy, and the government threatened to conduct medical examinations to "prove" their homosexual activity. As of February 2006, nearly all were still being detained, with trials scheduled in March 2006. [ needs update ]
The Advocate estimates that in 2011, at least a dozen men were arrested under Section 347.One of these, Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, was arrested by security forces for sending SMS messages to male acquaintance and sentenced to three years' imprisonment at Kondengui Central Prison. The sentence was protested by international human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the latter of which named him a prisoner of conscience. On 24 November 2011, three young men were sentenced to five years' imprisonment for having oral sex in a parked car.
In November 2011, a Cameroonian court convicted two young men who had been arrested for homosexuality outside a nightclub based solely on their appearance and behavior to five years' imprisonment. The presiding judge stated that the way they spoke and their having worn women's clothing and ordered a cream-based liquor was sufficient evidence for homosexuality. An appeals court later overturned the verdict.
A gay Cameroonian man was granted the right to claim asylum in the United Kingdom due to his sexuality in early July 2010. Cameroon's Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, responded to the court's action by acknowledging that homosexuality was definitely illegal in Cameroon, but also arguing that homosexuals were not prosecuted for their private activities. He dismissed the asylum-seeker's claims, saying that the man had nothing to fear from the law: "Do you think he is the only gay person in Cameroon?"
In August 2011, a gay Cameroonian man was granted temporary immigration bail from the UK Border Agency after Air France refused to carry him to Yaoundé.In May 2012, the UK Border Agency sought to return asylum-seeker Ediage Valerie Ekwedde, finding "no credible evidence" that he was gay, but was forced to keep Ekwedde in custody after he threatened to "make a fuss" on the Air France flight returning him to Cameroon.
Cameroon is a conservative society in which homosexuality is frowned upon. In 2006, a number of tabloids published the names of at least 50 very prominent people they claimed were homosexual. They condemned them for deviant behaviour. The stories boosted newspaper circulation, but were criticized by the state communication council for invading people's privacy. The campaign provoked a national debate about gay rights and privacy.
A Cameroon court jailed Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga for four months for defaming Grégoire Owona, a government minister named in the list of 50 presumed homosexuals in Cameroon.
The US Department of State's 2010 Human Rights Report found that homosexual people "generally kept a low profile because of the pervasive societal stigma, discrimination, and harassment as well as the possibility of imprisonment. Gays and lesbians suffered from harassment and extortion by law enforcement officials. False allegations of homosexuality were used to harass enemies or to extort money."In 2012, the first association for lesbian and queer women, World Queens, was founded.
A 2013 news story stated that Cameroonian authorities allow vigilante executions, beatings and torture are also tolerated.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal|
|Equal age of consent|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment only|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples|
|Step-child adoption by same-sex couples|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military|
|Right to change legal gender|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples|
|MSMs allowed to donate blood|
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