Gay Mali News & Reports

Not much information about gays in Mali
but some related stories and reports appear on the Internet:

Behind the Mask–Mali
Gay and Lesbian Arabs website
Gay and Lesbian Arab Society-Ahbab

Also see:
Gay Middle East Web Site:
More information about Islam & Homosexuality can be found at:
Other articles of interest can be found at:
Queer Muslim magazine: Huriyah

Gay Islam discussion groups:

1 Stepping back in time: A gay (suspended) travel writer’s journey

2 Mali Gay is Rejected by his Family 8/05

3 Al-Qaeda demands 10m euro ransom for European hostages 5/09 (background story)

4 Homophobia And Stigmatization Hamper HIV Prevention Efforts 3/11

5 The 2011 Mali Youth Summit on HIV 4/11

2006(?) – From:

Stepping back in time: A gay (suspended) travel writer’s journey to Timbuktu, Mali

" There are gay people everywhere, so I’m sure there are gay people in Timbuktu. But I don’t know any," Amadou, a local English-speaking tour guide, informed me straightforwardly. "It would be hard for them here; they would have to hide it."

I had spent two weeks on the road to the fabled city of Timbuktu as part of an intrepid group of travelers from the appropriately named tour operator Adventure Center (800/228-8747; I obviously hadn’t headed there for the gay life. In fact, after a fortnight traveling in the predominantly Muslim West African nation of Mali, I was surprised anyone acknowledged the existence of gays at all. People who have heard of Timbuktu assume it’s a myth, or some murky country in Central Asia. In fact, during Timbuktu’s apex in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was one of the most powerful and wealthiest cities in the world, thanks to the trans-Saharan gold trade.

Nowadays, it’s a quiet outpost with stuck-in-another-era alleys, where quiet men in long robes and head scarves glide by, where the fires of outdoor bread ovens illuminate women’s faces, and the brown spires of mud mosques jut into the cloudless skies, looking like a Star Wars backdrop. Caravans of camels rest on the town’s outskirts after completing the weeks-long trek from the salt mines deep in the Sahara. Timbuktu has no paved streets — ongoing desertification of the region means Saharan sands continually swamp the hazy town like waves on a beach. When the harmattan wind starts up in winter, the place appears almost foggy.

Even though the Islam of Mali is extremely moderate in its practice, Mali does not enjoy the "homosex" found in other parts of the Islamic world. But it should still be on gay travelers’ lists. There is so much more to this country than just the sands of the Sahara. During my two-week sojourn in the country, our tour group spent days floating on a traditional long canoe down the Niger River — Africa’s third-longest. We camped out under the stars along the tranquil banks of the timeless river, hearing fishing boats cast their nets at dawn. We spent a night in the maze-like medieval town of Djenne, home to the world’s largest mud mosque. For four days we hiked around the dramatic sandstone cliffs of the Dogon country in the east-central part of Mali, where isolated villagers have ingeniously built their homes into the face of a 150-mile escarpment. And we caught a glimpse of Mali lurching toward the 21st century in the modern capital of Bamako, where bankers in suits visit traditional healers for prophecies and where women wash their laundry in a river lined with high-rises. The ancient and the 21st century have no problem coexisting in magical Mali.

Getting there
Gay-friendly Adventure Center (800-228-8747; offers seven different guided group itineraries through the country, ranging from 14 to 21 days and priced from $1,040 to $2,965. This includes guides, accommodations from four-star hotels to camping, most meals, and in-country transportation. Note that French is spoken in Mali in addition to tribal languages.

The best hotel you can check into in Mali is the Kempinski Hotel El Farouk (+223/223-1830;; $110-250). Perfectly situated on the banks of the Niger River in a quiet part of Bamako, the spiffy 100-room, six-story building feels more like an exclusive cruise ship. Only stay at the generic Sofitel (, +223/221-432; $126-$272) if the Kempinski is full.
In Timbuktu, check out the Delais Azalai (+223/292-1163; $52), built to look like a mud fortress on a hill, with simple but comfortable rooms.

In Bamako, the restaurant of the Kempinski Hotel El Farouk (+223/223-1830;; $12-$20) is run by a talented Lebanese chef who serves up grilled capitaine (a local fish specialty), shish kabobs, pan-seared salmon, and even crA me brulee. Great views of the Niger River are gratis.
Try different kinds of couscous in an artistic African ambience at San Toro (+223/221-3082; $8-$15). In Timbuktu, you can catch a cheerful meal of couscous or traditional meat dumplings at Restaurant Poulet D’or (+223/614-5850; $8-13), located inside the Maison des Artisans art market.

Mali is considered to be at the forefront of world music. In Bamako, enjoy live bands in a small courtyard setting at La Savanna (+223/631-4156; $5 cover), which attracts a young urban crowd and some Europeans.
Le Privilege (+223/941-0631, +223/941-0640; $10 cover) is the hot spot du jour, drawing some American soldiers earlier in the evening and a hip, ethnically mixed crowd that boogies to Europop and energetic West African music late into the night. Same-sex couples dance together here, although they are not usually gay.

Don’t leave Bamako without checking out its fine MusA(c)e National (+223/223-486;; $10), full of antiques and textile arts. Bustling Bamako has two frenetic marketplaces worth exploring — the tourist-centered Maison des Artisans on Boulevard du Peuple, with excellent masks, carvings, and jewelry made by artists working on the premises, and Marche Rose on Rue Mohammed V, which caters to the locals and offers every retail good from toilet paper to 50 Cent jerseys.

August 1, 2005 – Behind the Mask

Mali Gay is Rejected by his Family

by Par Jean -Luc
Au Mali un homosexuel a été battu par sa famille, soumis aux mauvais traitements d’un "féticheur" pour le "soigner"et le guérir du mauvais sort, hospitalisé dans un hôpital psychiatrique, interdit de fréquentation de la mosquée par l’Iman, arrêté à plusieurs reprises sous prétexte d’incitation à la débauche et actes amoraux.

Le pauvre homme maintenant a le problème de s,integrer dans la societé d, aller à la mosque pour prier, ou même à visiter la famille à cause de son orientation sexuelle. Mainetenant il est entrain de chercher refuge dans des pays qui peuvent l’accepter tel qu;il est et vivre en paix . Ce qui est dommage c’est que la famille ( sa propre famille) l’a rejeté au lieu de le soutenir.

Nous voyons ces cas surtout dans des pays musulmans comme la Mauritanie , le Soudan, Nigerian …,òu ils ne respectent pas le droit de l,homme , òu les hommos sont mal tratés. Dans ces pays l’hommosexalité est un crime puni de mort.

Un exemple vient de Nigeria où le mois dernier la cour islamique de Katsina, au nord du Nigéria, a condamné à mort par lapidation Yusuf K. et Usman S. pour " crime de sodomie ". Les deux hommes ont été arrêté par la police suite à une dénonciation sans qu’aucun témoin n’ait été présenté à la cour par l’accusation. Alors que deux adolescents iraniens viennent d’être pendus pour les mêmes faits.

17 May 2009 –

Al-Qaeda demands 10m euro ransom for European hostages

Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb demanded a 10m-euro ransom for two European hostages held since January, Maghreb and international press reported on Saturday (May 16th). Al-Qaeda Sahara region chief Hamid Essoufi, alias Abdelhamid Abu Zeid, is reportedly behind the ransom demand.

According to El Khabar, the Swiss hostage will be released upon receipt of the ransom payment, followed a week later by the Briton. Two Canadian diplomats and four tourists were kidnapped in Mali and Niger during the past five months by the North African branch of al-Qaeda. In April, the terrorists released the diplomats and two of the tourists.

March 2011 – Behind The Mask

Homophobia And Stigmatization Hamper HIV Prevention Efforts In Mali

Religious practices, cultural beliefs and stigmatization by the general population hamper access to health care and HIV/Aids prevention for Malian Men who have Sex with other Men (MSM) and force them into bisexualityor underground sexual practices that put them at high risk of Sexually Transmitted and HIV infections, says Dr Dembelé Bintou Keita, Director of ARCAD/SIDA, an HIV/Aids organization that also provides health care for MSM in Mali.

Dr Dembelé says with over 95% of the population that is religious, the Malian society is not tolerant to MSM who “have no rights and certainly no right to claim their sexual orientation. All cultural beliefs towards MSM are negative.” She explained, “On a social level, the abuses start in the family. Men who are attracted to other men are forced to get married so that they will not bring shame to the family. The society and the family force them to do what is socially acceptable, so they get married but they still have men as sexual partners.”

According to Dembelé, more than 50% of MSM in Mali are married to women but have sexual practices on the sly with casual male partners , most of the time without protection, and “if they contract STD or HIV infections, they are scared or ashamed to go to a doctor for fear to reveal their bisexual sexual orientation.”

In 2004 a survey conducted by UNAIDS on the situation of MSM in Mali revealed that HIV prevalence was higher among MSM than the general population. Aware of the needs of this community ARCAD/SIDA, which promotes respect for people rights and the right to health care services and HIV/Aids prevention and protection for all, regardless of the sexual orientation, started its first interventions within this community in 2005. Over the years ARCAD/SIDA has been actively involved in the MSM community, visiting clubs and places where MSM meet at night to identify them and distribute protection kits, condoms and lubricants.

They also organize HIV/Aids and STI awareness meetings counselling and testing also offering STD and HIV health care, psychological support for seropositive MSM and training for MSM peer educators. However, the homophobic and religious environment, the small number of MSM going to health care structures, and the stigmatisation of ARCAD/SIDA seem to impact significantly on the organization’s ability to deliver services at an optimal level.

ARCAD/SIDA is an HIV/Aids organization that was created in September 1994. Its main objective is to develop a global health care of HIV infection through research and communication. The organization works with people affected by HIV and their relatives in order to provide health care support. They offer prevention and health care services for at risk population such as sex workers, MSM, disabled people and prisoners.

2011 April 22 – UNAIDS

The 2011 Mali Youth Summit on HIV: Empowering the Leaders of Today

From 15th to 17th April, 150 young leaders from across the globe came together for a three-day working meeting at the 2011 Youth Summit in Bamako, Mali. The Summit was organized by UNAIDS under the patronage of Mali’s President Amadou Toumani Touré. Four Chinese representatives from diverse backgrounds travelled to Mali to participate in the Summit. The Youth Summit ended with endorsement of a Call to Action, to be presented at the High Level Meeting on AIDS in June. This Call to Action is available online

The aim of the Summit was to empower young leaders from communities around the world to play a stronger role in national, regional and global responses to HIV. Representatives aged under 25, including young people living with HIV, used the summit to explore strategies for bringing about a prevention revolution for HIV and building responses that are energetic, sustainable and youth-driven. UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé spoke to participants at the opening ceremony: ‘You are the most powerful engine we have for transformation and progress’ he said. “Do not let anyone tell you that you are the leaders of tomorrow. You are the leaders of today.’

Team China: Participation and Contribution
Representing China at the Mali Youth Summit were four Chinese youth leaders, Hu Baowen, Bi Zijia, Li Rong and Li Maizi. These four representatives brought their experiences from different areas of the HIV response and made important contributions to the Summit meeting.

Hu Baowen, Program Officer and Coordinator at Yunnan Daytop Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, was the only Chinese member of the Summit’s 12-person steering committee. Seven days in Mali preparing for the Summit familiarized Hu with the ins and outs of an international level HIV conference. ‘The Summit provides grassroots NGOs like us with an open platform for exchanging information, as well as brand new networking resources.’ Hu said, ‘I had a great opportunity to share my experience and learn from others.’

Bi Zijia, a journalist working for China’s Xinhua News Agency, brought a strong understanding of advocacy and the media to the summit. Bi Zijia has previously worked with UNAIDS as an intern, and tries to promote accurate reporting around HIV in her daily work. During the Summit, Bi co-facilitated the seminar, ‘How to use traditional media to promote the Call to Action globally’ together with CCTV news anchor James Chau and Editor Dwain Lucktung from the UK.

‘Those 150 young leaders come from all sectors, and most of them had zero experience in journalism, so I imagined it would be quite a challenge for us to train them to master the basic skills needed for working with traditional media,’ said Bi. ‘The 2-hour course went more smoothly than I expected, and I was proud of how quickly they were able to get to grips with professional mass media communication skills and technologies.’

Li Rong, a masters student focussing on child and adolescent health at China’s prestigious Peking University School of Public Health had just completed a 9-month UNAIDS Special Youth Program fellowship in January. The first Chinese person to win a place on the SYP so far, Li gained a lot from training in Geneva and working at the UNAIDS China Office. His knowledge was further advanced in Mali. ‘The Summit placed great emphasis on the upcoming High Level Meeting, due to take place in June 2011, and urged us to seize this important opportunity to advocate for change.’ Li Rong said.

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