Following a scathing attack on the country’s LGBT community, activists have slammed Namibia’s Finance Deputy Minister, Natangue Ithete.
According to Informante, Ithete told finance ministry staff in Walvis Bay that homosexuality was being brought to Namibia by foreigners.
“You are either a man or a woman. Don’t come from outside and tell us this is acceptable,” he raged.
Ithete added: “They must keep their gay activities in their countries. We will not entertain any of this gayness [sic].”
Local LGBTI group Out-Right Namibia (ORN) condemned the minister’s statements as “misleading the Namibian nation and instigating direct homophobia and transphobia within the country.”
ORN Director Linda RM Baumann said the comments reflected “clear personal prejudice from his side.”
She stated that, “the Namibian LGBTI community are inherently citizens of this country, the African continent and contributors to the very Ministry he is directing.”
“Out-Right Namibia wants to remind Mr. Ithete that no LGBTI Namibian person has made a choice to be homosexual and or be a target of discrimination, prejudice and stigma.”
The group also noted that homosexuality and gender identity were not the same issues, urging the minister to educate himself on matters such as sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
“ORN grossly condemns his position and upholds the current government’s motto of ‘Inclusivity’ with no segregation of preference of any Namibian citizen. Out-Right Namibia wants to remind you that there are no gay rights nor do we as a community want any form of special rights,” said Baumann.
While consensual “sodomy” is illegal and could technically be used to prosecute gay men, this is not believed to have happened since Namibia’s independence in 1990.