Same-gender sexual activity — for both men and women — is illegal in Cameroon. It is punishable with a prison sentence of 6 months to 5 years and/or a fine of 200,000 CFA (approx. €300) and can go up to 8 years in jail if one of the offenders is 16-21 and the other is a minor under 16. No types of same gender relationship are legally recognised, there are no anti-discrimination laws to protect the LGBTQIA+ community and no right to change legal gender for transgender persons. Individuals are commonly arrested without evidence because of their real — or perceived — sexual orientation or gender identity. Online communication between individuals of the same sex for the purpose of sexual proposition is a crime is punishable by a 1–2-year prison sentence and/or a fine of 500,000 to 1,000,000 CFA (€760 – €1520).
Cameroon is a conservative society. LGBTQIA+ people face frequent stigmatization and are under immense social pressure. The risk being detained, are exposed to physical abuse and are subject to degrading treatment such as anal examinations in the process of ‘proving’ same-gender sexual activity. The discriminatory ban on same-gender sexual conduct also creates inequity in access to HIV/AIDS treatments. There have also been reported cases of discrimination involving minors within the education system. Cis-women who do not dress in typically feminine attire, or who engage in conduct considered unfeminine, are often victims of persecution and can be targets for rape and sexual assault.
Alternatives Cameroun - founded by young Cameroonian professionals fighting for human rights in Cameroon especially people who have same-gender relationships.
ADEFHO - Association for the defense of homosexuals’ goal is to have the rights of homosexuals respected, through the decriminalization of homosexuality.
The LGBTQIA+ communities in Cameroon often seek asylum in the United States, United Kingdom or European countries such as France and Belgium. However, the journey is very long, painful and without any guarantees. According to the Cameroon American Council (CAC), more than 100 Cameroonian asylum seekers have been deported recently, some of whom have faced exposure to COVID-19. Authorities sometimes refuse asylum application of Cameroonians because they do not believe that the seekers are homosexual, notably in United Kingdom.