Gambian president: LGBT stands for “Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis”

Gambia’s president, Yahya Jammeh, suggested yesterday that gays in his country need to exterminated like malaria causing mosquitoes.

He added that LGBT (the ever-growing abbreviation for gay rights), actually stands for “leprosy, gonorrhoea, bacteria and tuberculosis.”

According to Reuters, Jammeh gave a speech which included the following: “We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively….  We will therefore not accept any friendship, aid or any other gesture that is conditional on accepting homosexuals or LGBT as they are now baptised by the powers that promote them. As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis; all of which are detrimental to human existence.”

gay africa

Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh. (Photo courtesy IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin)

Jammeh joins a growing number of African dictators who have chosen to scapegoat gay and trans people in order to divert attention from their corrupt administrations.  Russian president Vladimir Putin has cracked down on gay and trans people in his country for much the same reason.

Nigeria, for example, recently signed into law legislation providing a prison sentence of 14 years for anyone convicted entering into a gay marriage or civil union.  Showing same-sex affection in public is punishable by 10 years in prison, as is going to, or operating, a gay club, society or organization.

Uganda recently passed a law mandating life imprisonment for gays who commit “aggravated homosexuality.”  Aggravated homosexuality includes having “gay sex” with someone who is HIV positive or someone who has a disability (apparently, the Ugandan legislature thinks this somehow “helps” people with  disabilities).  It’s also aggravated homosexuality, and life in prison, if you’re caught having “gay sex” more than once.

ugandan evangelical christian religious right gay

Ugandan anti-gay hate leader Martin Ssempa.

American evangelicals have been spreading anti-gay hate in Uganda.

American evangelicals have been spreading anti-gay hate in Uganda.

Ghana, once touted as a beacon of democracy in Africa, also has started targeting gays in the past few years.

Homophobia in Africa and Russia has been aided and abetted in recent years by America’s religious right.  Frustrated by their increasing inability to foment anti-gay hate in America, and the increasing disdain a growing number of Republicans seem to have for their political extremism, American “Christian conservatives” are now busy spreading hate and intolerance across Africa, Russia and Europe.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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44 Responses to “Gambian president: LGBT stands for “Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis””

  1. Badgerite says:

    No, they are not. I know and have known a lot of truly fine, generous, tolerant and decent people who are deeply religious. And their religion is a big part of who they are. What’s more, since most of the world IS religious and subscribes to one religion or another, it seems an odd way to try to persuade them to attack something that they view as fundamental to their identity. To call them ENEMIES, to me, merely takes you don’t to a low level that some in the religious community have already claimed as their own.

  2. FLL says:

    Canada leads! From the Wall Street Journal article:

    Alintuma Nsambu, Uganda’s envoy to Canada, said in an interview Wednesday that he had been summoned by the Canadian Foreign Ministry to explain why Canada shouldn’t sever diplomatic ties with Uganda over the antigay bill.

    From today’s newscast in Uganda:

    I hope this snowball keeps getting bigger as it rolls down the hill and other Western countries, including the U.S., follow suit. Go Canada!

  3. Bill_Perdue says:

    They’re neither, they’re facts.

  4. FLL says:

    A decision to end non-humanitarian foreign aid to countries like Uganda is the real deal. I’m even suspicious that corrupt governments, like Uganda, could divert foreign aid earmarked for humanitarian purposes to other programs, like military and political ones. While we’re at it, why haven’t there been any politicians in Washington who have spoken about this? U.S. senators? House members? They could open their mouths too, you know.

  5. Badgerite says:

    That’s just stupid and bigoted. Bye now.

  6. 2karmanot says:

    Sandhurst still produces gentlemen monsters as is tradition.

  7. FLL says:

    As far as international relations, words are often actions, especially at the United Nations. As I said in my comment above, cancelling (or at least decreasing) Uganda’s foreign aid is the best response. I hope people keep demanding that the U.S. decrease or end foreign aid to Uganda and Nigeria because of their anti-gay laws.

    Obama’s statement about Uganda, in and of itself, was helpful because it’s international news. The mere fact of stating that doesn’t get my membership on Americablog revoked, does it? ;)

  8. 2karmanot says:

    “Presidential leadership has an effect.” President Obozo doesn’t lead. He only tours disaster areas and whines about hope and change. His oratory, however, is second to none.

  9. BeccaM says:

    Indeed. To throw that in there is just another instance of ignorance attempting — and failing — to dress it self up as wit and cleverness.

    The most disturbing aspect, of course, is the deliberate dehumanizing, which is always the first step before genocide and extermination.

  10. Bill_Perdue says:

    They’re asking for help.

  11. FLL says:

    This is where leadership on the part of the U.S. president is essential. I wish Obama had gone even farther and announced a cancellation of foreign aid to Uganda, but he did condemn the recently passed anti-gay law in Uganda. ThinkProgress reported the story (link here), which is to be expected because ThinkProgress has a politically progressive bent. Out of all the major TV networks, only MSNBC’s report on the story comes up in a Google search (link here). Everyone should not only report on the Obama/Uganda story, but also demand that Obama go further and cancel foreign aid to Uganda. Presidential leadership has an effect.

  12. BeccaM says:

    Hell, slavery itself was justified using the Bible — which is in no way neutral on the subject, either.

  13. BeccaM says:

    Leprosy, gonorrhea, bacteria and tuberculosis are all treatable afflictions that don’t require the death of the people who have them. (That is, assuming Jammeh is referring only to bad bacteria. We literally depend on the existence of good bacteria to live.)

    What an ignorant, bigoted, psychopathic monster.

  14. Bill_Perdue says:

    “Christers, judaists and islamists are our enemies even if their only crime is contributing to ignorance and superstition.” It doesn’t matter what they say, if they contribute to the spread of ignorance and superstition they endanger us.

  15. PeteWa says:


  16. PeteWa says:

    how nice to see that the lessons of Radio Rwanda have been completely forgotten!

  17. Badgerite says:

    Nelson Mandela was an icon in South Africa and the world. He was pro rights for everyone and most especially for gays. Why is it that his thinking and his example is having so little influence in Africa these days? Do they think that he didn’t know right from wrong?

  18. Badgerite says:

    Not necessarily. I know a few ‘Christers’ that support gay rights. And as the post below shows, a few judaists, and probably somehwere a few Islamists.
    And by few I mean more than you seem to acknowledge.
    America is a predominantly ‘Christian’ nation and yet the majority of the public now supports the right of same sex marriage. So.

  19. Bomer says:

    Scott Lively has been brought up on charges of crimes against humanity. I haven’t heard much on what’s been happening with that case other than the judge ruling that the Ugandan LGBT organization’s law suit has standing and that the case against him is moving forward.

  20. heimaey says:

    Well Gambia stands for Gay Asshole Men Bleed In Anuses! There!

  21. cole3244 says:

    hate and bigotry along with war and destruction are our only exports these days since most manufacturing jobs have been eliminated in agreeing to all the bad trade deals made by gopers and dems alike.

  22. Ninong says:

    Does the UK still educate Gambia’s young army officers at Sandhurst?

  23. nicho says:

    Not really

  24. jomicur says:

    Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Gambia… The old phrase “darkest Africa” is seeming more and more apt, just not in the way it used to mean. These “leaders” and evidently a lot of their followers are benighted.

  25. jomicur says:

    But I’ll betcha he might make a real pretty speech about it someday (depending on the polls, of course).

  26. Ah yes, the United States Army School of the Americas, where the US foments fascism abroad. This is just like picking on the Jews in times past. Speaking of which my boyfriend and I are planning on visiting the Holocaust Museum/Center in Michigan. They have an exhibition on the Nazi persecution of homosexuals. I recently confirmed my family’s passed down history on my dads side that they are originally Jewish through DNA testing confirming that my paternal DNA is Ashkenazi. I know in the Jewish tradition your mother has to be Jewish but hey, it is the same amount of DNA.

  27. dtnorth says:

    In the context of this article I think that is irrelevant.

  28. nicho says:

    That’s what’s so great about the bible. There is so much violence, rape, murder, etc. in it — all either justified, or often demanded, by god — that you can justify almost anything. The interesting thing is that the OT was composed during the reign of the Hasmonean Dynsasty, which was an incredibly cruel, violent outfit. The reason the OT god was so violent was to show that the Hasmoneans were doing his will.

  29. Bill_Perdue says:

    Most Gambians, including Yahya Jammeh are moslems. President Yahya Jammeh was trained at the United States Army School of the Americas, where so many pro-American dictators learned how to oppress, torture, dissemble, murder and kill.

    Yahya Jammeh came to power in a July, 1994 coup d’état and immediately did what his American trainers had taught him to do – he suspended the constitution, sealed the borders, and implemented a curfew. “Following the Gambia’s successful presidential and legislative elections in October 2001 and January 2002, respectively, the U.S. Government determined that a democratically elected government had assumed office and thus lifted the sanctions it had imposed against the Gambia…” Wiki

    Christers, judaists and islamists are our enemies even if their only crime is contributing to ignorance and superstition.

  30. Bill_Perdue says:

    In many case I raise ideas knowing full well that they’ll be implemented and hoping that people will, as you have, draw the obvious distinction.

  31. Bill_Perdue says:

    Start with Lively and Obama BBF Rick Warren and Donnie McClurkin.

  32. Indigo says:

    I’m not optimistic that Obama is genuinely responsive to human rights issues but you’re right that we should insist anyhow.

  33. Will Dollinger says:

    All this violence is rooted in language from the pulpit. First you dehumanize then you can pretty much use the scapegoat for distraction.
    Wrote this about that…

  34. Indigo says:

    When I pause to think about it, it’s fascinating how many atrocities have biblical justification.

  35. Indigo says:

    Waaay past time! Yes. But humanity as a generic group is not a fair target. Pick a sub-group, say FundiMericans or Loony Africans and take it from there.

  36. Bill_Perdue says:

    We should insist that the Obama and the US advertise their willingness to give long term asylum to victims of anti-LGBT violence by islamist and christer rightwing governments in places like the Gambia, Iran and Iraq, Nigeria and Uganda and Texas Russia.

    And we should demand that the US withdraw all non humanitarian aid. Withdrawing humanitarian aid would just be used by these right wing religious nuts to ‘demonize’ our brothers and sisters in those countries.

  37. The_Fixer says:

    Leprosy? Where does this guy get his material?

    I have a very dim view of religions in general, evangelical/fundamentalist ones in particular. The fact that these people (Scott Lively, I’m looking at you) are fomenting this kind of hate in Africa should be widely broadcast on the nightly news, and wherever else it can be broadcast. I firmly believe that good people of conscience would shame him into irrelevance if they knew what was going on.

    I wonder what this guy would do when confronted with persecution? It would be interesting to see him react to being dropped in a real racist part of the world. Maybe then he’d understand that persecution of minorities is not something to which civilized people aspire.

  38. Hue-Man says:

    Add Kenya to the list. “Kenyan lawmakers formed a caucus to
    push for enforcement of anti-gay laws, spurning a call by U.S.
    President Barack Obama and other foreign leaders to recognize
    the rights of homosexuals in Africa.”

  39. nicho says:

    In the US, you can commit almost any atrocity as long as you can find a quote in the bible to back it up. Then, we have to let you do it to protect your “freedom of religion.”

  40. nicho says:

    We all have bacteria. Without bacteria, life as we know it would be impossible.

  41. nicho says:

    Oh, yes. Hillary’s favorite group.

  42. Quilla says:

    Read THE FAMILY by Jeff Sharlet.

    This train wreck was expected.

  43. dtnorth says:

    LGBT stands for “Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis”

    Nope. As a gay man I have never had any of those.

    A spot of eczema perhaps.

    However your country must be rife with them given the life expectancy rate of 58.

    ( Source: World Health Organisation )

  44. kenthomes says:

    It is way past time to start bringing “crimes against humanity” charges to all of America’s evangelical Christian cults, for aiding and abetting genocide. This is what always happens when religion and ignorance come together. What if this dictator said this about black people or Jewish people – we all know that immediate sanctions and actions would be taken. Since it is “just” gay people being threatened, the world gives a collector yawn. I am disgusted with the human race…we never seem to learn or change our behavior.

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