John M. Becker

Gays in Liberia Blamed for Ebola, Now Facing Violence

Filed By John M. Becker | October 23, 2014 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: Africa, anti-gay violence, blame the gays, Christianists, gay-bashing, hate crimes, Liberia, violence

liberia-map.jpgThe small west African nation of Liberia is at the epicenter of the deadliest outbreak of the Ebola virus in history. As we've reported previously here on Bilerico, the population is in a panic, and Christian churches are taking advantage of people's fears in order to pin the epidemic on gay people.

Now, LGBT advocates say gays are being attacked as a result. Via Reuters:

Leroy Ponpon doesn't know whether to lock himself in his flat in Monrovia because of the deadly Ebola virus, or because he is gay. Christian churches' recent linking of the two have made life hell for him and hundreds of other gays.

Ponpon, an LGBT campaigner in the Liberian capital, says gays have been harassed, physically attacked and a few have had their cars smashed by people blaming them for the hemorrhagic fever, after religious leaders in Liberia said Ebola was a punishment from God for homosexuality.

"Since church ministers declared Ebola was a plague sent by God to punish sodomy in Liberia, the violence toward gays has escalated. They're even asking for the death penalty. We're living in fear," Ponpon told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone from Monrovia.

While homophobia is common in Liberia, Amnesty International confirmed to Reuters that there has been an upsurge in threats and violence against LGBT people in the capital city in the wake of the Christian churches' attempt to blame Ebola on homosexuality.

Ponpon says he and many other gays who've been outed in the press are too afraid of being identified to move around in the daylight, except in disguise. Consequently, they often have to move around at night, which means violating the Ebola curfew -- an offense punishable by imprisonment. Gay sex also carries a prison sentence in Liberia, of up to one year.

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