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Cameroon President’s Lesbian Daughter Comes out, Calls For Change

BRENDA Biya, the daughter of Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, publicly came out as a lesbian on June 30, aiming to inspire legal changes in her home country where homosexuality is banned. In a heartfelt Instagram post, the 27-year-old, who splits her time between the United States and Switzerland, shared a photo of herself kissing her girlfriend.

In an interview with the French newspaper Le Parisien published on Tuesday, Brenda revealed that she had not come out to her family prior to her public announcement. ‘There are plenty of people in the same situation as me who suffer because of who they are,’ she said. ‘If I can give them hope, help them feel less alone, if I can send love, I’m happy.’

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Cameroon’s penal code punishes same-sex relations with up to five years in prison. Despite her father’s longstanding leadership—President Paul Biya has been in power since 1982—he has not publicly commented on his daughter’s revelation.

Brenda highlighted that the anti-homosexuality law predated her father’s presidency. She expressed hope that her openness could spark legislative changes. ‘It may be too soon for it to disappear completely but it could be less strict. We could first eliminate the prison sentence,’ she suggested.

Cameroonian LGBT rights activist Bandy Kiki, based in Britain, praised Brenda’s courage. ‘She has affirmed the existence of LGBT people in Cameroon,’ Kiki said. However, she pointed out the disparity in how anti-LGBT laws are enforced, noting that the wealthy and well-connected often avoid severe consequences, while the poor face harsh penalties.

Brenda Biya’s brave declaration shines a light on the ongoing struggles of LGBT individuals in Cameroon and raises hopes for future legislative reform and greater acceptance.

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