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Congolese MP seeks to drum up support for anti-gay bill

Activists and HIV/AIDS workers opposed to measure are fighting back


A Democratic Republic of Congo MP has been travelling around his country to drum up support for an anti-gay bill he introduced in December, but opponents of the measure are undertaking their own campaign to defeat it, AllAfrica reports.

Ruling Parti Travailliste Congolais (PTC) lawmaker Steve Mbikayi, whose bill reportedly includes more than 30 provisions that would criminalize being gay or transgender, makes the oft-repeated claim that homosexuality is alien to African culture, describing it as a foreign “anti-value” that is “considered scandalous.”

Under the proposal, anyone caught having gay sex would face three to five years in prison and a fine, while a transgender person would face a three- to 12-year prison term and a fine.

Mbikayi’s measure is not the first of its kind in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2009, legislation forbidding gay people from adopting children was adopted, but the following year, a bill that would have criminalized so-called practices against nature didn’t come up for a parliamentary vote for unspecified reasons, AllAfrica notes.

Human rights activists and those who work to combat HIV/AIDS have launched their own campaign to counter Mbikayi’s bill, appealing to MPs and doing public education outreach in a bid to highlight its potential dangers.