Since March 2023, a wave of violence has ravaged the LGBT+ community in South Kivu. Recent cases include the suicide of a lesbian woman, the attempted murder of a gay man, and cases of persecution and “corrective rape” of trans and lesbian women.
Although the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) doesn’t criminalize homosexuality or trans-identity, the LGBT+ community still faces serious human rights issues.
A recently social media video shows a man being attacked with a machete (panga) in Bukavu. It’s the story of a young gay man, Eustache, who was victim to a horrible ambush on March 6 around 8:00 p.m., while leaving a store in Bukavu after buying candles, due to the power cuts.
Young people from his neighborhood, who had insulted him and already threatened to act, began the attack. Under the pretense they would change his sexual orientation, Eustache was beaten many times with the machete on his thigh and face. The victim was taken to hospital, but he is left with numerous scars from this attack and his face was completely swollen and bleeding.
On Wednesday, April 5, a lesbian was found hanged at her home after being raped on Sunday, April 2.
Members of her family had forced her to marry a man. And, her brothers had pressured her into sex with men in order to discover “heterosexual pleasure.”
In fact, her family ordered this “corrective rape.” One of her family members has been arrested, because the victim was able to report the actions of her relatives before committing suicide.
Finally, upcoming presidential and legislative elections are expected in DRC by the end of the year. The registration process for future electors already began in March.
Serious irregularities were noted in the locality of Baraka on March 26, particularly with regard to 3 transgender women and 2 lesbian activists who wanted to register. The agents in charge of registering the future electors accuse them of attempting to promote homosexuality and going against traditions and customs. These women will, therefore, not be able to take part in the elections and will be illegally denied their legal rights.
Two days later, the neighborhood leader together with two policemen and local gang members, forced them to flee. All three transgender women were molested, while the lesbian couple next door was raped. All their belongings were looted, before their home was burnt to ashes.
Today, the three trans women have taken refuge in Bukavu, awaiting a possible evacuation to Burundi.