A new law in Tanzania bans HIV/AIDS outreach programs that serve LGBT people. This comes just months after Justice Minister Harrison Mwakyembe announced a plan to end pro-LGBT charities. Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu also announced a ban on personal lubricants because it “encourages homosexuality.”
According to The Guardian, this sudden crackdown was a surprise as the country has been tolerant of LGBT people.
Unlike in neighbouring Uganda—where pride events were disrupted by the police last week—Kenya and Zimbabwe, gay Tanzanians have not experienced the same levels of violence and discrimination, and politicians have until now generally ignored the topic.
The Washington Post regards this as the first time a country has suspended the United States’ HIV/AIDS initiative in opposition to the LGBT community.
U.S. officials said they are hopeful that the outreach programs will soon be restored, noting that the health minister has said the government is considering which HIV services would be appropriate for the gay community. But members of that community are pessimistic.