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Angola decriminalizes same-sex relationships

The country’s new penal code ends a colonial-era ban on gay sex that punished people with 14 years in prison.

Photo by Emmanuel Zua from Unsplash.com

The rainbow rises in Angola as it became the latest African country to decriminalize same-sex relationships.

Angola used to have a penal code that criminalized same-sex sexual activities, which is a remnant of its colonial past. The African nation that was a former Portugese colony used to condemn same-sex sexual relationships as one of multiple “vices against nature.” As a result, gay people faced prison sentences of at least 14 years.

The new penal code that eliminated the anti-LGBTQIA provision was made in 2019, with the country’s president signing it into the law in November 2020. It officially took effect on February 9.

In addition to decriminalizing same-sex relationships, the new penal code also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Those who violate the law may be jailed for a minimum of two years.

According to International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), same-sex sexual acts continue to be a taboo subject in almost all West African countries, including in Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Benin, where the existence of LGBTIA people is still denied.

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