Ethiopian churches oppose gay travel company’s tour plans


Anti-gay: Ethiopia is one of the majority of countries in Africa where same-sex relations are illegal

Anti-gay: Ethiopia is one of the majority of countries in Africa where same-sex relations are illegal (AFP Photo/RAJESH JANTILAL)

Addis Ababa (AFP) – Ethiopia’s religious leaders on Monday urged the government to block a US gay travel company from touring the country’s ancient sites, and one group warned visiting homosexuals could face violence.

The Chicago-based Toto Tours, which describes itself on its website as “the only gay tour company in existence” that has been operating with the same ownership and management for almost three decades, told AFP it has received death threats since announcing a 16-day trip to Ethiopia, which includes numerous historical religious sites.

Their itinerary has sparked ire in Ethiopia, which like many in Africa is deeply homophobic and has strict anti-gay laws, punishing homosexual acts with up to 15 years in prison.

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“Tour programmes and dating programmes that try to use our historical sites and heritage should be immediately stopped by the Ethiopian government and we urge Ethiopians supporting these sinful and evil acts to desist from their acts,” Tagay Tadele of the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia told journalists.

The council counts seven Islamic and Christian denominations as members.

An influential Ethiopian Orthodox organisation, the Sileste Mihret United Association, also held a press conference Monday to condemn the tour company.

“Homosexuality is hated as well as being illegal in Ethiopia. Toto Tours are wrong to plan to conduct tours in our religious and historical places,” the organisation’s vice chairman, Dereje Negash, told AFP.

“If Toto Tours comes to Ethiopia where 97 percent of Ethiopians surveyed oppose homosexuality, they will be damaged, they could even die,” he said.

Dan Ware, the president of Toto Tours, said the company had been “terribly misunderstood”, in an email to AFP.

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“Our company is not aimed at spreading values contrary to local cultures when we travel around the world. We are simply an organization where like-minded people can travel comfortably together to experience the world’s most precious wonders.

“We come with only the greatest respect and humility.”

He said the tour had been advertised on the company’s social media pages and spotted within Ethiopia, leading to “death threats”, and called for protection for the tour group from both the US State Department and the Ethiopian tourism ministry.

“This is terrible discrimination, and when the word of this spreads internationally, as it is most likely to do, it will have a negative impact on the important tourism industry in Ethiopia.”

He said that by the time the tour takes place in October “the eyes of the entire world will be on the people of Ethiopia to see what happens to us.”

Twenty-eight out of 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have laws penalising same-sex relationships, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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Some countries, like Angola, Mozambique and Seychelles, have moved to scrap anti-gay laws.

However Kenya’s high court earlier this month refused to do so, in a major blow to gay activists on the continent.


  1. As an Ethiopian Orthodox believer I suggest to well-come them with our churches ceremonial way by the use of holy water and blessed ashes (placed on believers’ foreheads) as a sacramental for protection against evil is common among and praying condition.We are not afraid of the fact to face the truth.Let us face the fact and meet them the Ethiopians face to face when they come;organised and disciplined.In general let the world know what our country wants regarding how we treat Gay people according to our Orthodox religion;because already some of them are living with in our community.
    On the other-hand as a society we have to expose what we believe according to our bible and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
    የፍናፍንት ሠራዊት ተለቀቀላችሁ።

    ጉጅሌዋ-ፍናፍንት ይሄው ስትመኚ፤
    ይመጣል ሠራዊት የፍናፍንት ጎብኚ።
    ዘርፈሻል ገንዘቡን አክሱምን አርክሰሽ፤
    ሁሉንም ወስደሻል ያኔ ሥልጣን ይዘሽ።
    ኢትዮጵያዊ ሥማ በፆማችን ከቤት ያኔ እየወጣን፤
    በመቋሚያ ዱላ ወገርን ያልነው ሠይጣን፤
    የደብረ-ሌጊዮን-ዘወድ እንዳሻው ሊቀጣን፤
    ዶላር ላይ ቂጥ ብሏል ሠላሙን ሊያሳጣን።
    ዐቢይ አህመድ ግና ትዕግሥቱ የሞላው፤
    ምድረ-ፖለቲከኛ ውስጥ ውስጡን የጠላው፤
    ሰበብ ይፈልጋል ምክንያት ግን አለው፤
    ምን ይጠብቃል ነው ሁልጊዜም የሚለው።
    ጉጅሌዎች ደግሞ ብዙ ይሞክራሉ፤
    የፍናፍንት ዓይነት እዩት እስኪ እያሉ።
    ያላወቁት ግና ጌሙ ያልገባቸው፤
    ትዕግስቱን ያጣሉ በኢትዮጵያዊነታቸው።
    ፋሺሽት-ወያኔም አውቆ በሕዝብ ይቀልዳል፤
    ያላወቀ እንጂ
    ሙስሊም ክርስቲያኑ
    መቅደሱን ያፀዳል።
    የዕምነት እኩልነት ማስመሰል አይደለም፤
    ለአገር ፍቅር ሲባል እምቢ የሚል የለም።
    ባንዳና ከሃዲ ጉጅሌዎች ሁሉ፤
    ይህን የሕዝብ ፍቅር አምርረው ይጠላሉ።
    ለዚህ ነው ለዓመታት የሕዝብ ሥልጣን ይዘው፤
    በክልል ሸንሽነው ያረዱን ገዝግዘው።
    አልሞትም ቢላቸው የኢትዮጵያዊ ወኔ፤
    ወደዋሻው ገቡቶ የፋሺሽት-ወያኔ።
    ለመስለብም ዘምቷል በግብረ-ሰዶም ሥም፤
    በፆታም አንድ ዓይነት ሊያዳራ ሊያሳስም።
    የሚገርመው ደግሞ በርኩሰነታቸው፤
    ላሊበላን ቀድመው አረጉት ምርጫቸው።
    አገሬን ዕምነቴን የሚል እንዋጋቸው።
    መቼም አህያ ናት ብር አስጭና ከፋች፤
    የማይከፈት ዋሻ አስከፍታ ፈትፋች።
    እናም ፋሺሽቶቹ ያሉበትን ዋሻ፤
    ዛሬማ አደረጉት የገዳይ መሸሻ።
    በዋሻው አስፈፃሚ ፋሺሽቱ ቢሆንም፤
    የእግዚአብሔር ያጋልጣቸው
    እኛ አቅም የለንም።
    ኢትዮጵያዊ አስተውል እንዳያታልላችሁ፤
    የፍናፍንት ሠራዊት ተለቀቀላችሁ።

  2. The Arab gays had been openly visiting Ethiopia each day sodomizing unsuspecting children while children and others bend over to wash their behinds to perform SALAT PRAYER and noone from the government opposed that.

    Where was the church ?
    Why did the church do nothing to save Muslim children or is it Muslim children are no concern of the church?

    Churches should realize what happens to muslims in Ethiopia is next happening to them.

    If the government bans these gay tourists from entering then it should also ban the Shisha khat addicted Gay Arab tourists who so far sodomized at least in hundreds of thousands openly picking their victim’s from mosques , from schools , from soccer fields and from the streets .

    • You forget one thing about people in general and Ethiopians in particular. They only fight the fights they think they can win.

  3. WhatI believe is,for the second times God wants to show us again something which
    was not happened before regarding Gay Ethiopians.The first-one was happened in Oromia region Gimbichu wereda Pilots of the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max were unable to prevent the plane repeatedly nosediving despite following procedures,an initial report has found.The plane is grounded as investigations continue into the Ethiopian Airlines crash last month which killed all 157 people on board.

    ኢትዮጵያዊ ሥማ በፆማችን ከቤት ያኔ እየወጣን፤
    በመቋሚያ ዱላ ወገርነው ያልነው ሠይጣን፤
    ደብረ-ሌጊዮን-ዘወዱ እንዳሻው ሊቀጣን፤
    ዶላር ላይ ቂ* ብሏል ሠላሙን ሊያሳጣን።

    ሁለት ጥቅሶችን ለእነዚህ ክስተቶች መርጬአለሁ፤
    መጽሐፈ ኢዮብ
    ፴፫፥፲፬ እግዚአብሔር በአንድ መንገድ በሌላም ይናገራል፤
    ሰው ግን አያስተውለውም።

    ወደ ኤፌሶን ሰዎች ም ፮ ቁ ፲፪
    መጋደላችን ከደምና ከሥጋ ጋር አይደለምና፥ከአለቆችና ከሥልጣናት ጋር ከዚህም ከጨለማ ዓለም ገዦች ጋር በሰማያዊም ስፍራ ካለ ከክፋት መንፈሳውያን ሠራዊት ጋር ነው እንጂ።

  4. Aside from zealous religious belief, Ethiopia is in trouble as a country. The fragmentation of the nation and society after the fall of the military junta was the prelude of its demise. Thanks to EPLF and TPLF the country is no more the same in many seen and unseen ways. The people that loved their country are marginalized and purged systematically by the the Mengistu and his officials, EPLF and TPLF. What is left is bloodsucking unsatisfying materialistic idiots who will do anything for money.
    In Addis Ababa and other major cities there are established nocturnal organizations who will pass their fellow brothers and sisters for the higher bidder willingly or by tricks and tactics. As bitter as a gall this may taste, the fact is on the ground to be verified. Young boys and girls are sold for the higher bidder in broad daylight. The Arabs, a few expatriates and others are the leading offenders of sex crime. Life is never a bed of roses for anyone at anywhere. Yet, the Ethiopians seem to suffer the most by the hands of brutal governments and foreigners.In this land, I have heard people singing and dancing at some places. I am not sure if they were singing for gladness or grief. As Orwell put it the “Thought Police” is at work. We can’t say and do what we think is right, we are told to follow the trend of the time. The Ethiopian Churches refusing the visit from gay and other related entities is within their belief and rights and I applaud them.

  5. Those disgraceful gay visitors should take care on landing historically orthodox country which prohibited by decent people. Your dead body will be back to ur country. Take care!!!!!!!!!!!

    ብትሰርዝ ይሻለሀል!!!! የማትወጣው ማቅ ውስጥ እንዳትገበ፡፡
    ከ evil sprit የተሰበሰበ ዶላር ከደፈነህ ጥንቃቄ፡፡

  6. Considering the non stop fighting that has been going on between the people and the government, and the people and some churches(although this isn’t really publicized) and the people vs the people, the fight between Ethiopians in general and the Gay movement will only be a very small dot at first. But if the gay movement persists (which i hope it does and believe it will) then this will give the public a “bigger evil” to face off against. How the people in power will use this incident i can’t say(although i have me suspicions). But whatever the case Ethiopians (more accurately citizens in addis abeba) better be ready to make some life changes. As for myself i can’t wait till the actual battle starts. That is when the true color of everyone(from both sides) will be seen. Let’s get ready to rumble!

  7. this is for the Ze-habesha News, trying to terrorize Ethiopians by saying that those people are very powerful and can damage the Ethiopian Truism!! shame on you! so what they are powerful, they are in their country not in Ethiopia. They can not damage Ethiopian’s Truism. Of course people like them may not want to come to visit but others (millions)will come to visit and enjoy. I am so proud of the churches, the people and some of the governing party showing their stand on this situation. So, if you do not have any thing good to say, might as well do not say. You should stand on the people’s side. We do not need this people in our country.

  8. In San Francisco , California USA The non-Tigrayan new comers refugees from Ethiopia suffer due to lack of a strong Ethiopian community center that help them navigate the system even in how to apply for residency permit green card and California ID cards..

    There is a Tigrean community center at 474 Valencia street suite #103 in San Francisco , California that helps Tigreans only.

    Please click below to read news about just a few months ago how two non-Tigrean Ethiopian siblings named Michael Shiferaw and Meron Shiferaw robbed a bank for a fear of being homeless in the ruthless gay capital streets of San Francisco , California USA with nowhere to turn to , currently their situation unknown since there is no community center that is concerned for people of their ethnicity in San Francisco , California USA.

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