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Cameroon homophobia confronts AIDS fighters

Joel Ghislain Nkontchou didn’t expect all the abuse that he received, but he soon learned how homophobic his country can be. In Cameroon, harassment has become a difficult problem that threatens to stymie the efforts of AIDS-prevention activists working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. A 23-year-old master’s student in business law at the … Continue reading

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Stephane Tchakam: Vibrant LGBT activist’s memory lives on

“Stephane is dead!” announces a voice on the phone. “Which one?” “Stephane Tchakam.” “Excuse me. Are you kidding or what?” The call came from Philip, a well-known gay activist in Douala, Cameroon, who phoned a friend in Yaoundé to tell him the shocking news that Stephane Tchakam had died. Very early, around 6 a.m. Monday, … Continue reading

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Taking the AIDS battle to LGBT youths in Cameroon

They call it the Excellent Life AIDS Awareness Agency, or ELAAA. In the four months since Cameroon’s Affirmative Action Association, or ACT, launched that project at its new headquarters, the ELAAA center has helped about 150 youths, ages 16 to 24. Altogether, those youths have made nearly 550 visits there, learning about behavioral changes that … Continue reading

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Cameroon court hears appeal of 5-year sentence for homosexuality

With support from Lawyers Without Borders, two young Cameroonian men appeared in court in Yaoundé on July 20, seeking to overturn their five-year prison sentence for homosexuality, imposed in November 2011. In addition to the five-year prison term — the maximum allowed under Cameroonian law — they were each fined 200,000 CFA francs, or about … Continue reading