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AN INVESTIGATION INTO LGBTQ+ RIGHTS AND ITS IMPACT ON POLITICAL DISCOURSE IN CAMEROON

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AN INVESTIGATION INTO LGBTQ+ RIGHTS AND ITS IMPACT ON POLITICAL DISCOURSE IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Cameroon, situated in Central Africa, has a multifaceted socio-political environment where conversations on LGBTQ+ rights have gained significant prominence. Throughout history, LGBTQ+ persons in Cameroon have encountered substantial social disapproval, legal prejudice, and even physical harm as a result of deeply ingrained cultural norms and legal structures that make same-sex partnerships illegal(Agyapong, 2023). The legislative framework in Cameroon exhibits a conspicuous lack of support for LGBTQ+ rights. The Penal Code, which was passed down from colonial control, renders consensual same-sex interactions illegal, with potential consequences such as imprisonment for a maximum duration of five years. Moreover, cultural perspectives often coincide with these legal limitations, fostering a milieu in which LGBTQ+ persons encounter prejudice, mistreatment, and even the peril of bodily injury(Akoto Ampaw, 2021). Notwithstanding these obstacles, there has been an escalating worldwide movement campaigning for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, asking for legislative revisions and societal inclusivity. This worldwide conversation has also resonated in Cameroon, igniting discussions, activity, and opposition to the existing state of affairs(Anyimadu-Antwi,, 2023). Cultural and religious views in Cameroon significantly influence societal attitudes towards LGBTQ+ persons, often condemning non-heteronormative manifestations of sexuality and gender identity. LGBTQ+ persons encounter pervasive instances of prejudice, mistreatment, and even physical harm, both within their own groups and from governmental entities(Attoh-Armah, 2020). The political debate around LGBTQ+ rights in Cameroon is diverse and frequently acrimonious. Politicians and policymakers are faced with the challenge of striking a nuanced equilibrium between the preservation of conventional principles, the incorporation of global demands to advance human rights, and the effective management of local public sentiment. Issues pertaining to the LGBTQ+ community sometimes overlap with more extensive deliberations about human rights, democracy, and national identity(Atuguba, 2019). The situation of LGBTQ+ persons in Cameroon has been subject to substantial international attention. Cameroon's discriminatory laws and practices have been denounced by human rights organisations, foreign countries, and international agencies. They have called on the government to revoke anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and safeguard the rights of sexual and gender minorities. Nevertheless, the exertion of such pressure has encountered opposition from the authorities in Cameroon and conservative elements present in society (Bacchini, 2018). Although there exists a considerable amount of scholarly conversation around LGBTQ+ rights in Cameroon, there is a noticeable dearth of empirical studies that investigate the convergence of LGBTQ+ rights and political rhetoric within the specific setting of Cameroon. This study aims to investigate  LGBTQ+ rights and its impact on political discourse in Cameroon. 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The topic of LGBTQ+ rights in Cameroon continues to be a subject of intense debate, since it is closely interconnected with cultural, religious, and political ideas. Notwithstanding the exertion of international pressure and advocacy endeavours, the legal framework in Cameroon persists in the criminalization of same-sex partnerships, hence intensifying social stigma and prejudice against those identifying as LGBTQ+(Barounis, 2017). This divisive environment prompts crucial inquiries about the impact of LGBTQ+ rights on political communication inside the nation. Cameroon has a profound presence of cultural and theological convictions pertaining to gender and sexuality, which often leads to pervasive prejudice and social marginalisation of those identifying as LGBTQ+. Gaining insight into the society perspectives on LGBTQ+ rights is essential for comprehending the fundamental mechanics of political communication(Baú, 2016). The legislative framework pertaining to LGBTQ+ rights in Cameroon is characterised by a lack of clarity and a tendency towards suppression. Notwithstanding the constitutional provisions that provide equality and nondiscrimination, there continues to be a presence of legislation that criminalise same-sex interactions, therefore exacerbating an atmosphere characterised by fear and persecution. A comprehensive analysis of the convergence between legal frameworks and political rhetoric provides valuable insights into the processes by which policy choices are formulated and challenged (Cohen, 2022). The use of LGBTQ+ rights as a rhetorical tool by political players in Cameroon is a common practice, whereby they strategically leverage public opinion to further their own goals. The research aims to examine the tactics used by different political actors, including as government officials, opposition parties, and civil society organisations, in managing the conversation around LGBTQ+ rights. On the other hand, Cameroon's position towards LGBTQ+ rights is not detached from wider global forces and effects (Cohen, 2022). The research aims to examine the influence of global advocacy initiatives, diplomatic interventions, and human rights conversations on domestic political narratives and decision-making procedures. The study endeavours to provide a thorough comprehension of the intersection between LGBTQ+ rights and political discourse in Cameroon by examining these factors. This analysis seeks to shed light on the obstacles, prospects, and prospective avenues for achieving enhanced inclusion and social justice. Hence, the  study is to investigate LGBTQ+ Rights and its impact on Political Discourse in Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate LGBTQ+ Rights and its impact on Political Discourse in Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

To examine the socio-cultural attitudes towards LGBTQ+ individuals in Cameroon.

To analyze the level of representation of LGBTQ+ issues in political discourse within Cameroon.

To explore the potential impact of LGBTQ+ rights advocacy on political policies and public opinion in Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared to further guide the study

What are the socio-cultural attitudes towards LGBTQ+ individuals in Cameroon?

What is the level of representation of LGBTQ+ issues in political discourse within Cameroon?

What are the potential impact of LGBTQ+ rights advocacy on political policies and public opinion in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The findings of the study will be significant to the following

Policymakers: Understanding the dynamics of LGBTQ+ rights and its impact on political discourse in Cameroon is crucial for informing policy decisions, promoting human rights, and fostering inclusive governance. By shedding light on the complexities of this issue, this study aims to contribute to academic scholarship, policy formulation, and advocacy efforts aimed at advancing LGBTQ+ rights and social justice in Cameroon and beyond. 

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study focuses on  assessing  LGBTQ+ Rights and its impact on Political Discourse in Cameroon. Empirically, the study will  examine the socio-cultural attitudes towards LGBTQ+ individuals in Cameroon, analyze the level of representation of LGBTQ+ issues in political discourse within Cameroon and explore the potential impact of LGBTQ+ rights advocacy on political policies and public opinion in Cameroon.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of Terms

LGBTQ+ Rights: This refers to the legal and social rights afforded to individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other non-heteronormative sexual orientations or gender identities.

Political Discourse: Political discourse involves the exchange of ideas, opinions, and arguments within the realm of politics. It encompasses various forms of communication, including speeches, debates, media coverage, policy discussions, and public campaigns. Political discourse influences public opinion, shapes policy decisions, and reflects the dynamics of power within a society.

Human Rights: Human rights are fundamental rights and freedoms that every person is entitled to, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. These rights include but are not limited to the rights to life, liberty, equality, and freedom from discrimination, torture, and arbitrary arrest or detention.


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