LGBT activists in Zimbabwe are
celebrating the resignation of Robert Mugabe.
On Tuesday, Mugabe, an outspoken
opponent of LGBT rights, was forced to resign as president after 37
years in control. The military placed the 93-year-old Mugabe under
house arrested after he fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mugabe refused calls to step down. But on Tuesday, as the Zimbabwean
Parliament began impeachment proceedings, Mugabe relented and
announced his departure.
There have been widespread reports of
human rights violations in Zimbabwe under Mugabe's rule.
Mugabe is also a vocal opponent of LGBT
rights. Mugabe in 1995 described gay men and lesbians as “dogs and
pigs.” In 2013, he threatened to “chop off” the heads of gay
men who fail to reproduce.
After then-President Barack Obama
lauded the Supreme Court's ruling that led to nationwide marriage
equality, Mugabe sarcastically asked for Obama's hand in marriage.
“I've just concluded since President
Obama endorses the same-sex marriage, advocates homosexual people and
enjoys an attractive countenance thus if it becomes necessary, I
shall travel to Washington DC, get down on my knee, and ask his
hand,” Mugabe is quoted by Newsweek
as saying during his weekly radio interview.
GALZ, an LGBT advocacy group based in
Harare, said in a statement that it received the news of Mugabe's
resignation with “much jubilation.”
“We are ecstatic that the face of
brutality, hate and impunity has resigned,” GALZ said.
Ricky “Ricki” Nathanson of the
Trans Research, Education, Advocacy and Training (TREAT) told the
Blade that he was relieved that Mugabe had
“It is with such relief and joy to
hear of the resignation of the ex-president of Zimbabwe, Robert
Gabriel Mugabe,” said Nathanson. “When he took over, we thought
that it would usher in a new independent country. But that
independence was only experienced in certain areas and not across the
“Certainly members of the LGBTI
community felt the brunt of his homophobia as evidenced by his
outspokenness on them,” Nathanson added. “His ‘pigs and dogs’
speech has gone down in history at his intolerance of this