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LGBT Community Dealt Major Blow as Transgender Cameroonians Imprisoned

The Cameroonian government has sentenced Shakiro and Mouthe "Patricia" Roland to five years in prison and fined them heavily for 'attempting homosexuality'.

The Cameroonian government has reportedly sentenced two transgender Cameroonians to five years in prison this past Tuesday. Shakiro (real name Njeukam Loic Midrel), a popular internet celebrity in Cameroon and her partner, Mouthe "Patricia" Roland, were charged with "attempting homosexuality and fined heavily with the possibility of added jail time should they fail to pay. The couple had already been imprisoned in the two months prior to their trial commencing at the Bonanjo Douala magistrate's court.

READ: South Africans Confronted with Reality of Continued Homophobic Murders

The conviction of Shakiro and Roland is a major blow to the queer community of Cameroon. Additionally, the judgment comes shortly after an alarming report was released by Human Rights Watch last month and which highlighted the increasing persecution of the country's LGBT community.

Describing the societal impact of the recent judgement to News24, Alice Nkom, head of the Association for the Defence of Rights of Homosexuals, said the following: "It's a hammer blow. It's the maximum term outlined in law. The message is clear: homosexuals don't have a place in Cameroon." Nkom has vowed to appeal the judgement saying, "We will continue the fight before the court of appeal. This decision risks increasing violence against LGBTQ people."

While Angola may have officially enacted its new penal code against the discrimination of LGBT Angolans earlier this year in February, the reality of many queer people on the continent remains quite bleak. South Africa has been contending with several homophobic murders this year alone while LGBT+ Rights Ghana's new centre was raided and subsequently shut down by Ghanaian security forces.