In light of the recent Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill, SFGN spoke with Stefan M. of Zurich, Switzerland. As he travels often in Africa he would prefer to keep his last name confidential. Stefan has traveled to Africa several times alone and with partners. This is despite the climate in Africa being hostile towards gays.
“I’ve been to Tanzania and Morocco 4 times, and once to Malawi. Tanzanian law declares life imprisonment as punishment for homosexual sex. Malawi proscribes prison sentences for citizens, and can expel incriminated foreigners. Morocco—long known one of the most liberal Islamic countries—can proscribe anywhere from 6 months to 3 years in prison,” Stefan said. Yet, despite these strictures he has always felt comfortable in Africa.
“In all African countries you need to be discreet,” Stefan said from his home in Zurich. “The same way a hetero-couple does not kiss in the middle of the road and the girls do not wear short skirts. I am sure by the end of our last stay in Morocco, everyone in the hotel realized my boyfriend and I were a couple. But they never reacted to that. We felt very safe.”
“I make friends when I go there. One time in Africa we befriended a local Islamic guide. He even accepted a glass of wine despite that being verboten under Islam,” Stefan said laughing. “Yes, I have been so comfortable in Africa that I even one time had sex with a very hot African policeman.”
Morocco—despite limitations on paper—is romantic enough to have inspired Stefan, 29, and his boyfriend Julien, 26, to enter into a civil union.
“It was a beautiful night to agree to get married,” Stefan said fondly.
New York real estate professional William Brantley has also traveled extensively in Africa. He has been to Morocco 4 times, and visited Kenya, Tunisia, and Tanzania once.
“I have traveled with boyfriends in Africa twice. It really depends on which country you go to and how flamboyant you are. It’s a good idea for some to tone it down a bit,” Brantley knowingly advised. “I never thought about it when I went to Morocco, but when we went to Tunisia we did travel as cousins. Especially in Tunis, the capital, it was pretty dangerous there.”
Brantley said, of LGBT rights in Africa. “More global interest should be directed towards Africa. However, we still have a lot to do in our own country, but for now,” he encourages, “go and visit. Just be careful.”
Brantley has also been on safari in Kenya, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. His apartment on New York’s Upper East Side is covered in notions and knick-knacks from his African travels. The abundance of souvenirs alone will make you want to pack your bags.