AFP
1 minute read
1 Jun 2021
4:39 pm

Senegalese official ‘relieved of duties’ after assigning gay author

AFP

Same-sex activity is punishable by up to five years in prison in Senegal, a conservative Muslim nation where homosexuality remains taboo.

Same-sex marriage. Picture: iStock

Senegal’s education ministry said Tuesday that an official who assigned a text written by a gay author had been “relieved of his duties,” after an uproar in the West African country.

Last week, Ousmane Balde assigned a passage from the novel “More Tales of the City,” by gay American writer Armistead Maupin, in a mock exam.

The move provoked a scandal in Senegal, however, and was widely condemned in local media.

The passage contains a scene in which a character comes out to his mother, who opposes gay rights.

Same-sex activity is punishable by up to five years in prison in Senegal, a deeply conservative Muslim nation where homosexuality remains taboo.

In a video seen by AFP on Tuesday, Balde apologised for assigning the passage and said he had accidently attached it to an email containing several different texts.

“I made a mistake,” said Balde, who trains English teachers in the Dakar suburb of Rufisque. “I have no contact with any gay lobby”.

He added that he had taken part in an anti-gay rally in Dakar this month.

An official from Senegal’s education ministry told AFP that Balde “has been relieved of his duties” as the English coordinator in Rufisque’s teacher-training centre.