Photo via Facebook/Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
President Barack Obama has been using his time in Africa to advocate for the rights and dignity of LGBT people. Currently, only 21 of the 56 countries on the continent have decriminalized homosexuality, and only South Africa has legal recognition for trans people.
Obama first arrived in Kenya, where, despite warnings not to discuss LGBT issues, he said in no uncertain terms that LGBT rights are human rights. Aware of his policy of spreading acceptance and protections abroad, many anti-gay Africans have been on their guard. So when a rainbow was seen in the sky as Air Force One landed in Addis Ababa on Sunday, a number of Ethiopian commentators had meltdowns.
The above photo, posted by Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was captioned:
"President Barack Obama just landed in #AddisAbaba #Ethiopia for his three days official visit. Stunning #Rainbow on the skies of Addis as he landed."
Comments quickly turned heated, however, as people lashed out at the LGBT community. Below are a number of comments rounded up by Gay Star News:
"This rainbow is sign of God’s protection from every evil activities like obama’s government allow homosexual not sign of well come."
"So be careful mr obama to your agendas and activities for this 2 days cuz this is Ethiopia not American or Kenya."
"Don’t forget ! In Our motherland Ethiopia , the rainbow symbolizes God’s promise for mankind, not homosexuality!"
"No dirty gay marriage in our continent Africa."
"Please keep your homosexual agenda in Air Force One before u step on the holy land. Thanks."
In Ethiopia, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Over the years, President Obama's administration has embraced the promotion of LGBT rights and equality abroad as a cornerstone of foreign policy. Speaking alongside Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta last week, Obama said:
“I believe in the principle of treating people equally under the law, that they are deserving of equal protection under the law, that the state should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation."
(H/T Gay Star News)