Articles tagged with: Uganda
David Kato was the founder of Uganda’s LGBT civil rights movement. He was an outspoken advocate for equality in a country with some of the harshest anti-gay laws. His murder in January 2011 brought global attention to the plight of LGBT people in Uganda and Africa. Bent Alaska presents his story as part of our celebration of LGBT History Month 2011, with thanks to the Equality Forum.
David Kato (born February 13, 1964, died January 26, 2011) was the founder of Uganda’s LGBT civil rights movement. He was an outspoken advocate for equality in a country with some of the harshest anti-gay laws. His murder this past January brought global attention to the plight of LGBT people in Uganda and Africa.
Kato and his twin brother were raised in a conservative family in a small Ugandan village. He recalled being brainwashed to believe “it was wrong to be in love with a man.” He attended some of Uganda’s best schools before moving to South Africa in the mid-1990’s to pursue a teaching career. Inspired by South Africa’s LGBT civil rights movement, Kato became an activist.
In 1998, intent on dismantling the homophobia, Kato returned to Uganda, where homosexuality is a crime punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment. Uganda’s minister of ethics and integrity stated, “Homosexuals can forget about human rights.”
Despite the risks, Kato held a televised news conference pressing for LGBT civil rights. As a result, he suffered several arrests and beatings.
Undeterred but cautious, Kato continued to lead the movement while supporting himself as a teacher. In 2004, he cofounded Sexual Minorities Uganda Group (SMUG), Uganda’s first LGBT civil rights organization.
In 2009, the Ugandan legislature proposed a bill designating the death penalty for homosexuality. The following year, a Ugandan national newspaper published the names and photographs of gay rights activists, including Kato. It explicitly called for homosexuals to be executed by hanging.
Four months later, Kato was bludgeoned to death in his home. Local authorities claim his death had nothing to do with his sexual orientation. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both called for an in-depth and impartial investigation into his murder.
In response to Kato’s death, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us—and the sacrifices they make.” In commemoration of his life, an annual award, the David Kato Vision & Voice Award will be awarded annually on Human Rights Day, December 10, to
an individual who demonstrates courage and outstanding leadership in advocating for the sexual rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, particularly in environments where these individuals face continued rejection, marginalization, isolation and persecution.
In a February 2011 broadcast, Rachel Maddow linked Kato’s murder to the climate of hatred in Uganda promoted in part by American anti-LGBT religious right activists Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries (classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) and a staffer for “conversion therapy” advocate Richard Cohen, who went to Uganda as supposed “experts” to spread the message that homosexuals were out to recruit children and spread disease. Watch:
Photo credit: David Kato. Associated Press; used by license through the Equality Forum (LGBT History Month).
KTVA talks with ICOAA, Anchorage’s “rural” Pride events, a White House website on LGBT issues, a DADT discharge, antigay pastor Lou Engle visits Wasilla, and more in this edition of Bent News.
by Lauren in Juneau
Dear President Museveni,
As you know, the current proposed legislation titled “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009″ has caused outrage in countries outside of your own, especially among the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) community world-wide. As a proud supporter and member of said community, I believe that this legislation will be detrimental to the people of Uganda and inevitably do more harm than good when applied.
I admit to being a student from the United States of America, where we have a wide base of freedoms, and that our cultures, norms, and practices are, in some respects, vastly different, and that my input here may seem arrogant and presumptive, but I would like to voice my opinion on your country’s upcoming decision on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. I believe in basic human rights that include things like the rights to food, water, shelter–things that would ensure survival of a person and enable them to thrive. With these I also believe that the right to love is one of God’s greatest gifts to man, and that there should not be a regulation over what that relationship should look like between consenting adults. Whether you are homosexual or heterosexual should make no difference; it is as God designed you to be.
I believe in building community within our peoples, nations and world, and consider my true community to consist of all countries. I don’t limit myself to only the United States of America, because of the arrogance that implies. I tell you this because I feel deeply for my neighbors, and though your country is across an ocean and thousands of miles away, I would like to personally foster this feeling between your people and me. It is in the spirit of community that I write to you. I believe that this bill would destroy what you have striven so hard to build, a progressive country that happens to lie in the heart of Africa. I know that you believe in fighting against social injustice, and this bill would be just that: a grave injustice against the LGBT people. To me and my conscience, I could not allow this to go on without protest.
Mr. President, you have built up a very beautiful country, one I would love to visit and experience. Unfortunately, I would not be able to be as safe as possible if the bill passed because of my sexuality, and neither would the people who already live in Uganda. This bill would destroy the harmony you have fought to bring through your administration. I realize that this bill has its justifications, one of them being a call for HIV/AIDS control, but I do not believe that this legislation is the best way to bring it under control. Killing off the homosexual people would not solve the problem presented by the virus. Indeed, it may only stress the situation to a breaking point. As an AIDS-awareness activist, I fear that it would only negate all the progress you have made in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
I applaud you, Mr President, in the transformations you have enacted on your people and your country. I sincerely applaud the efforts you have taken, the great lengths you have gone to in order to better yourself and the people around you, but I believe that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 would only undermine all your great work and turn back the clock on your administration.
Very truly yours,
Juneau, Alaska, USA
American ex-gay leaders, mega-church pastors and conservative senators are behind the push for Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law that will impose life imprisonment for being gay, death by hanging for having gay sex if you’re HIV positive, and up to 3 years in prison for not reporting gay people to the government.
U.S. ex-gays organized a conference in Uganda earlier this year that provided the inspiration and supposed “evidence” to justify the Anti-Homosexuality Law, introduced right after the conference. If gays can be cured by prayer, goes the argument, then those who continue to be gay are just not praying hard enough. In Uganda, being gay is already a crime, and now anyone who isn’t cured will be sent to prison for life or killed.
Is the true intent of the ex-gay industry to eliminate homosexuals – by any means necessary? Do the sponsors of the ex-gay events in Alaska support this? Why haven’t the UAF Campus Bible Club, the Abbott Loop Community Church, and Jerry Prevo spoken out and condemned this death bill?
Rachel Maddow is reporting an on-going series called “Uganda Be Kidding Me” on the U.S. connection to the proposed law. A segment focusing on the ex-gays shows three American groups closely involved with Uganda’s effort to eliminate gays: congressmen connected to The Family, evangelical pastors, and the ex-gays.
Watch Uganda Be Kidding Me: the story behind ‘curing’ gays (Dec 8):
The ex-gay methods are dangerous and ineffective, and these groups are exporting a deadly homophobia to countries like Uganda. But the larger goal of The Family is Dominion, a world run by evangelical Christian rule. In other words, sharia, and a return to the Dark Ages.
Frank Schaeffer on the Brad Blog shows that killing gays for Jesus is just part of the larger plan. Bruce Wilson on Talk To Action connects Rick Warren’s purpose driven “reformation” to Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law, and explains the Dominion plan for setting up evangelical Christian governments. Uganda is just the tip of the iceberg.
Box Turtle Bulletin tracks the ex-gay industry and has been following the Uganda bill all year.
For an inside look on African gays, GayUganda is a blog written by a gay Uganda man who is still in the country, writing about the bill and the international response, and questioning whether he and his partner should leave or stay and be martyred. It’s heartbreaking.
So who is going to ask Campus Bible Club, Abbott Loop, and Prevo if they support the Kill the Gays bill?