13 February 2013
Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Rainbow Sunrise, an NGO founded in the city of Bukavu in 2011, plays a crucial role in offering LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) people a safe place to meet, a chance to share experiences, and sexual education. Very few support organizations exist for gay people in the DRC. The country has no explicit law against homosexuality; nevertheless there is very little social acceptance of same-sex relationships.
LGBT people are increasingly subject to discrimination and violence, and many keep their identities hidden in order to avoid assault and stigmatization. In December, a draft bill criminalizing gay sex was proposed in the DRC parliament. Supporters of the bill claim that same-sex activity is un-African, and a result of Western influence. Opponents say that such relationships existed in traditional culture, and point to harsh colonial-era laws as a source of negative attitudes.