Cameroon president’s daughter hopes to help change anti-gay laws

The daughter of Cameroon’s president says she hopes coming out as a lesbian can help change laws banning same-sex relationships in her country.

Brenda Biya told Le Parisien newspaper that there are many people in her situation and she hopes to inspire them.

The 27-year-old girl shared her photo kissed another woman last week, causing mixed reactions in Cameroon.

“I’m crazy about you and I want the whole world to know it,” she said in an Instagram post that included a photo of her hugging Brazilian model Layyons Valença.

In an interview with The Parisian of FranceShe said she did not inform anyone in her family before posting the article.

“Coming out is an opportunity to send a powerful message,” she said.

She added that she found the anti-gay law, which was in effect before her father came to power, “unfair and I hope my story will change that”.

Paul Biya, 91, has been president of Cameroon since 1982 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.

Ms Biya said she had been with the Brazilian model for eight months and had taken her to Cameroon three times without telling her family they were in a relationship.

The musician, who is currently living abroad, said she has received both supportive messages and negative reactions since posting about her relationship.

She happily revealed her condition, adding that she wanted to bring hope and “send love” to those who are suffering “because of who they are”. [and] help them feel less lonely.”

Her brother was the first person to call her after she posted the article, angry that she had posted it without telling her family, she told Le Parisien.

Her parents, the president and First Lady Chantal Biya, later called her to ask her to delete the post. “Since then, everything has been quiet,” she said.

She said that she first fell in love with a girl when she was 16, but it was difficult to express her love because of the circumstances in her country.

Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and can be punishable by up to five years in prison.

There has been no official comment from the president or first lady.

A government source told French broadcaster RFI that the matter concerned “the private life of an adult residing abroad and had nothing to do with Cameroon or the head of state”.

Human rights groups that have criticized Cameroon’s anti-gay laws have hailed Ms Biya’s revelation as a courageous move.

But questions have been raised about whether coming out is a privilege enjoyed by only a small number of people in the country.

“Anti-LGBT laws in Cameroon disproportionately target the poor. Wealth and connections provide a shield for some, while others face dire consequences,” said LGBT activist Bandy Kiki. said earlier in a Facebook post.

On Tuesday, a group supporting the current law filed a complaint against Ms. Biya with the prosecutor.

Philippe Nsoue from the DDHP Movement said they were seeking justice, saying that although Ms Biya was the president’s daughter, “no one is above the law”.

“Whenever a Cameroonian citizen or foreigner commits an act contrary to [LGBT] “Given the situation in our country, we have to seek legal intervention,” he said.

Additional reporting by Paul Njie in Yaoundé


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