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Cameroon President’s Daughter Hints at Same-sex Relationship

Same-sex relationships are banned in the Central African country and those found engaging in same-sex acts or relationships face up to five years in jail

The daughter of Cameroon’s president has shared an image in which she is kissing another woman, sparking mixed reactions in a country where same-sex relationships are illegal.

The Instagram post shows 26-year-old Brenda Biya embracing Brazillian model Layyons Valença.

“I’m crazy about you & I want the world to know,” Ms Biya wrote, adding a love heart emoji.

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Her 91-year-old father, Paul Biya, became Cameroon’s president in 1982 and is one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders.

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Those engaging in same-sex acts or relationships in the Central African nation face up to five years in jail.

Ms Biya – a musician based abroad who goes by the name King Nasty – did not explicitly state her sexuality when posting the picture of the kiss.

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However, some time after the image was published, Ms Biya shared an article from Le Monde, in which the French newspaper reported that she had “come out”.

She also shared other messages from people expressing their support for her.

Transgender Cameroonian activist Shakiro was among those who praised Ms Biya, saying her Instagram post could be a “turning point for the LGBTQ+ community in Cameroon”.

Shakiro said Ms Biya “is now positioning herself as a voice for social change in a country where taboos are deeply rooted”.

Shakiro currently resides in Belgium. She sought asylum there after being convicted of “attempted homosexuality” in Cameroon.

Although Ms Biya has been praised by some, several social media users in Cameroon responded to her post with homophobic comments.

Some have speculated whether Ms Biya shared the picture in order to generate a buzz, given her reputation for publishing social media posts that spark controversy among Cameroonians.

There have also been questions about whether coming out is a privilege that can only be enjoyed by a select few in the country.

“I love this for Cameroon’s First Daughter,” LGBT activist Bandy Kiki said in a Facebook post.

“However, it highlights a harsh reality: Anti-LGBT laws in Cameroon disproportionately target the poor. Wealth and connections create a shield for some, while others face severe consequences.”

Human rights groups have previously criticised Cameroon’s strict laws against members of the LGBT community.

In 2022, Human Rights Watch urged Cameroon to “take urgent action to revoke this discriminatory law and to ensure that the human rights of all Cameroonians, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics, are upheld”.

Barrister Alice Nkom, a renowned human rights lawyer who defends LGBT people in Cameroon, said Ms Biya was a “model of courage” who is “sending an important universal message of love”.

Most media outlets in Cameroon have not reported on Ms Biya’s recent picture. The media regulatory body has been known to sanction publications and broadcasters for depictions of homosexuality.

The government – and President Biya himself – have not officially commented on the story either.

SourceThe BBC

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