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“I was really struck not just by the difficulties and challenges that they faced, but also the joy and passion that went into their advocacy work and sense of community they created.” The center, which officially operates as an HIV/AIDS clinic, offers healthcare services, counseling, legal aid and vocational training.
But as Tchante explains, all of those were secondary to the most pressing need in the LGBT community – hope.
Two years ago, Cedric Tchante fled his home in Douala, Cameroon, under the cover of night.
Between the torture and murder of a dear friend and the death threats against him that had expanded to his mother, it had become clear the then 28-year-old needed to get out fast and in secret.
Tchante had been working as a peer counselor educator and HIV prevention education coordinator at Cameroon’s first center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – a dangerous job in a country where homosexuality is punishable by up to five years in prison.
“It’s normal to kill somebody for being gay or lesbian in Cameroon and you will have no problem with the police of the courts,” Tchante, now 30, tells PEOPLE.
When it comes to the studying of homosexuality in nature the most prodigal studies have to be those collated by Bruce Bagemihl in his book "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity" (1999).
Homosexuals still are, persecuted by religious bodies throughout the world (who are by far the greatest and most bitter enemies of LGBT tolerance).In the dimly lit undergrowth of a Central American rain forest, jewel-like male hummingbirds flit through the vegetation, pausing briefly to mate now with a male, now with a female.A whale glides through the dark and icy waters of the Arctic [...] her fins and tail caressing another female.Male gorillas court and couple with each other, grizzly bear families have two mothers, male swans form pair-bonds with one another and female long-eared hedgehogs have oral sex.In this book homosexual behaviour is documented in over 450 species of animals.
“Our first [priority] was to make people happy because all of the people we received were really sad and the only thing they wanted to do was die and not have that pain anymore,” he says. because my English is not perfect and I didn’t know anybody except Shaun,” Tchante recalls.