President Yahya Jammeh
In addition to making male prostitution and being irritating in public illegal, the homophobic government of the Gambia has also criminalised men dressing in women’s clothing.
According to AFP, the country’s parliament approved the amendments to the criminal code act with the backing of Justice Minister Lamin Jobarteh.
The law will now penalise any man or boy “attired in the fashion of a woman” in a public place or who “practises sodomy as a means of livelihood or as a profession” with a fine and up to five years in jail.
The changes to the law are ostensibly intended to combat under-age prostitution.
Last month, speaking during the opening of parliament, President Yahya Jammeh warned homosexuals that they would receive no mercy in the Gambia.
“Homosexuality is anti-humanity. I have never seen homosexual chicken, or turkey. If you are convicted of homosexuality in this country, there will be no mercy for offenders. We will put you in the female wing of the prison,” Jammeh said.
“We want the population to grow. There will be children in this country. Homosexuality is anti-god, anti-human, and anti-civilization. Homosexuals are not welcome in the Gambia. If we catch you, you will regret why you are born. I have buffalos from South Africa and Brazil and they never date each other. We are ready to eat grass but we will not compromise on this. Allowing homosexuality means allowing satanic rights. We will not allow gays here,” he ranted.
In 2008, Jammeh – who has been president since 1996 – gave gays and lesbians 24 hours to leave the country or threatened to have their heads cut off.
Under British colonial era laws, homosexuality is illegal in the Gambia and those found guilty of “unnatural offenses” face up to 14 years in prison.