Regions of Africa: Northern Africa Western Afr...

Right wing media suggests that we should be more like developing nations in Africa when it comes to the treatment of gay citizens.

They seem to have a not so secret envy of these African nations where gays and lesbians are routinely mistreated by the police, beaten and sometimes
tortured, with impunity. Gays can expect to be threatened by mobs of citizens and ridiculed with their photos on the
front pages of newspapers. They are subject to criminal prosecution just for being
gay. Ah, those were the days.

While Senegal is a conservative Muslim country, we exported some of this hate and bigotry to Kenya. Right wing Christian organizations like The Family have seen parts of Africa as a petri dish for social alteration. They can do in Africa what we prohibit them from doing in the United States.

Today, the ever erudite editors of the  Washington Times have found new heroes in the presidents of Senegal and Kenya. They are admired for having “stood up” to President Obama. One can only imagine their outrage if one of these leaders was petulant with President Bush. Suddenly we would know, to the penny, our foreign aid expenditures:

President Obama isn’t a big fan of free trade, but there’s one thing
he’s striving mightily to export — homosexual rights (and sometimes
homosexuals). It’s not a big seller in the developing world.

his recent $100 million “working” vacation in Africa, Mr. Obama was
upbraided by the president and vice president of his father’s native Kenya and got into a very public spat with the president of Senegal, all over homosexual rights and same-sex marriage.

Not so fast. Some Comparisons are in order.

Let’s take a look at just how “civilized” these nations are in comparison to the United States:

Kenya Senegal United States
Maternal mortality rate per 100K 360 370 21
Infant mortality rate per 1,000 42.2 53.9 5.9
Life expectancy 63 60 79
Pop w/improved drinking water 59% 52% 100%
Literacy 87% 39% 99%
School life expectancy – yrs 11 8 16
Pop with improved sanitation 59% 52% 100%

I should note that this is not just correlation. There is some cause and effect related to national priorities and compassion.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.