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In Swaziland, community police banish gay men

MVUTSHINI, Swaziland -- Two young man have been banished from their community after they were reported to community police for being gay.

It is a crime to be gay in Swaziland, and discrimination and violence against the LGBT community is rampant.

The men, aged 18 and 21, were living in Mvutshini with one of the men's aunts. Neighbors confronted the young men, who allegedly admitted that they were gay. The aunt then reported the two to community police. She told The Swazi News:

"I was afraid of being labeled all sorts of names in the area and be accused of harboring gay people in my house. My other problem was that local men would have ended up quarrelling with their wives and resorted to being gay because of the boys living under my roof."

The aunt's comments reflect the homophobia that is common in Swaziland, and even the newspaper is slanted in its reporting of rumor and innuendo.

A U.N. working group on human rights in 2011 recommended that the kingdom should embrace equality for LGBT people, but a top government official denied that LGBT people exist in Swaziland.

Allafrica.com reported that the House of Our Pride (HOOP), a support group for LGBT people, described to U.N. about the dire conditions in Swaziland:

"It is a common scene for GLBTI to be verbally insulted by by-passers in public places. [There is] defamatory name calling and people yelling out to see a GLBTI person's reproductive part are some of the issues facing GLBTI in Swaziland.

"Faith houses have been known to discriminate against GLBTI, advocating for the alienation of GLBTI in the family and society, while maintaining that these GLBTI are possessed by demons.

"GLBTI are hugely discriminated against in the community, as they are not recognized at community meetings and their points are often not minuted at these meetings nor are they allowed to take part in community services."

To read more about being LGBT in Swaziland, click HERE.