Homosexuality: The Debate Today in Malawi (Part 1)

Homosexuality Malawi


Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is “an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions” to people of the same sex.

This is the debate that has taken center stage in every place you go, from the church, business places, workplaces, public transport, you name it. However, the law is very clear and straightforward. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Malawi face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. They can be imprisoned for up to 14 years, with or without corporal punishment for men.

History of Homosexuality

Moving fast backwards, this behavior has been illegal since 1891 (as the British Central Africa Protectorate). The first record of a possible homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, an ancient Egyptian male couple, who lived around 2400 BCE.

The pair are portrayed in a nose-kissing position, the most intimate pose in Egyptian art, surrounded by what appear to be their heirs. While scientists do not know the exact cause of sexual orientation, they theorize that it is caused by a complex interplay of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences.

Hypotheses for the impact of the post-natal social environment on sexual orientation, however, are weak, especially for males.

Homosexuality and the Mindset

Moving back and forth, first, the field of psychology has extensively studied homosexuality as a human sexual orientation. The American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1952, but that classification came under scrutiny in research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Second, that research and subsequent studies consistently failed to produce any empirical or scientific basis for regarding homosexuality as anything other than a natural and normal sexual orientation that is a healthy and positive expression of human sexuality. As a result of this scientific research, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973.

Third, upon a thorough review of the scientific data, the American Psychological Association followed in 1975 and also called on all mental health professionals to take the lead in “removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated” with homosexuality. In 1993, the National Association of Social Workers adopted the same position as the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association, in recognition of scientific evidence.

Fourth, the World Health Organization, which listed homosexuality in the ICD-9 in 1977, removed homosexuality from the ICD-10 which was endorsed by the 43rd World Health Assembly on 17 May 1990. The consensus of scientific research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality.

Finally, there is now a large body of scientific evidence that indicates that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is compatible with normal mental health and social adjustment.” However, the debate still goes on in Malawi and other African nations.

Uganda and Malawi

Ugandan Parliament and President Yoweri Museveni’s leadership, is one such example that has come out in the open condemning homosexuality and passed strict laws against LGBT. As for President Reverend Lazarus Chakwera, he has been dodging this debate from campaign period but the late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika was very clear on the same when two men got married publicly. Bingu said the laws were clear and Aunt Tiwo together with his homosexual partner got arrested.


The debate over homosexuality is a complex one, with strong arguments on both sides. However, the scientific evidence is clear that homosexuality is a normal and natural variation of human sexuality. It is important to remember that people who are LGBT are just like everyone else, and they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

I hope this article has been informative and helpful. Thank you for reading and watch out for part 2.