LGBT+ activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo are celebrating the arrival of Pope Francis, whose recent push for the decriminalization of same-sex relations has given them hope of greater acceptance of their community across Africa.
Despite the fact that same-sex relations are illegal or taboo in many socially conservative African countries, the pope’s message of inclusion and evolution in the Catholic Church has been received as a “beautiful message” by activists. The Catholic Church teaches that while same-sex attraction is not a sin, same-sex acts are.
According to the most recent data from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association World, Africa accounts for half of the world’s 64 countries that criminalize same-sex relations. While it remains uncertain if the pope will address the topic during his visit, his message of decriminalization will have been heard by the continent’s many Catholic faithful.