LGBTQ+ rights in Senegal
Senegal is a predominantly Muslim nation and conservative society in West Africa. Despite the country’s progressive constitution, LGBTQ+ rights are not legalised and the life of LGBTQ+ persons are not easy in this country. Here is a look into the rights they currently experience in Senegal.
People of the LGBTQ+ community in Senegal experience discrimination and stigma. Despite the country’s constitution being one of the most progressive in Africa, homosexuality is seen as a crime and same-sex sexual activities are criminalised under the Senegalese law. LGBTQ+ persons suffer prosecution and social ostracisation and due to this, there is widespread fear of persecution among the LGBTQ+ population.
The government of Senegal does not recognise the legal status of the LGBTQ+ community. As a result, there is a lack of public visibility of LGBTQ+ persons and little data is available regarding the LGBTQ+ population in Senegal. LGBTQ+ organisations are not present in the country, making it difficult for members to come together and represent their rights.
Reality of Discrimination
The reality of discrimination and persecution that LGBTQ+ persons experience in Senegal is alarming. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are often threatened, beaten and arrested. In 2014, Senegalese authorities arrested 12 people at a gay club, and in 2021 six Senegalese men were arrested for attending a gay wedding. Though the constitution of Senegal is progressive, the government has not taken steps to legalise LGBTQ+ rights.
LGBTQ+ Rights Advocate
There are a few organisations in Senegal that work for the rights of LGBTQ+ persons, such as the Organisation of Islamic African Plaintiffs (OIAP). This organisation works to promote the rights of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. OIAP is advocating for legal rights and recognitions of the LGBTQ+ persons and provides legal assistance to those affected by discrimination.
Though many countries in Africa are slowly beginning to recognise and protect the rights of LGBTQ+ persons, Senegal has not taken steps to decriminalise same-sex activities or provide legal protection for its citizens. In absence of legal recognition, the LGBTQ+ persons in Senegal face discrimination and persecution. With the help of organisations such as OIAP, there is hope that the rights of LGBTQ+ persons in Senegal will eventually be recognised and protected.