A Sierra Leonean advocate for the recognition and respect of the rights of same sex couples Issa Sheriff is still reported missing.
Sheriff, had to run for his life after he announced at a family meeting that he was going to get married to his spouse one Mr. James
According to reports,the family thought the meeting was called to discuss issues around the house they inherited and whether Sheriff will handover the documents of the property to his elders.
To the surprise of the family, he openly announcedhis wedding plans to a gay which is against their tradition, cultural and religious belief as Muslims.
According to a member of the Family Abdul Sheriff,they only knew this Mr. James as a rich guy around who has been supporting Sheriff with money and clothing throughout the years but never understand that he was using him as his Gay partner.
“He is a disgrace to our family,this is unacceptable and we wont mind killing him if we see him anywhere around here to save ourselves from such an embarrassment,”
Eye witnesses reports that Sheriff was mercilessly beaten and thrown out of the gate and his mother had to hit her head and collapsed on the ground in the process of restraining his other brothers from beating him up.
“The woman was crying and begging them to stop but they couldn’t listen until they pushed her and she fell on the ground hitting her head and collapsed immediately,” an eye witness narrated.
In what could be a growing same sex community, gays and lesbians are stigmatized in Sierra Leone with most of them living in fear of not being attacked or even killed in a society which sees their way of life as evil.
Religious and traditional leaders have openly condemned it with some even threatening to maltreat whoever they will find doing it. The worse for the country’s LGBT community is the reaction of their family who most times ostracized them leaving most to them to move out of the family homes.
President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Sierra Leone Bishop Archibald Cole has been leading a campaign to condemn LGBT describing them as lost souls who communities should not encourage.
“We unequivocally and unreservedly condemn any form of same sex marriage in this country and we will do all we could to save those lost souls who believe its their own way of life,” said Bishop Cole.
An obsolete 1861 Law of Sierra Leone prohibits male homosexual acts and carries a 10 years’ imprisonment if anyone is caught in such an act which makes it more difficult for the country’s LGBT community to come out openly.
Individuals and organizations that supports same sex cannot come out for fear of being attacked, gay parades, protests or demonstrations are not allowed and people are afraid to associate themselves with them.
Sheriff, the only one who against all odds was ready to come out and announce his status as Gay to his family was almost beaten to death whilst his mother dying in the process.
With such happenings, the LGBT community will continue to live in perpetual fear with no one to speak on their behalf.