Desmond Mpilo Tuto is calling on
nations to decriminalize gay sex, saying it will help reduce the
spread of HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.
The 80-year-old Tuto, a retired
Anglican bishop, came to prominence in the 80s speaking out against
South Africa's apartheid. He is the patron of the Cape Town-based
Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation.
“In the future, the laws that
criminalize so many forms of human love and commitment will look the
way apartheid laws do to us now – so obviously wrong,” Tutu wrote
in last week's edition of The Lancet.
“Never let anyone make you feel
inferior for being who you are. When you live the life you were
meant to live, in freedom and dignity.”
Tutu, along with an international team
of researchers, goes on to argue that countries that criminalize gay
sex often perceive AIDS to be a gay disease. Such an association
leads officials to fall short of providing an adequate response to
“The struggle for equity in HIV
services is likely to be inseparably linked to the struggle for
sexual minority rights – and hence to be both a human rights
struggle, and in many countries, a civil rights one,” the paper