Uganda’s Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign Is Now In Full Swing
April 19th, 2009
This is what Exodus International helped spark. It is today’s issue of the Ugandan tabloid, The Red Pepper, which featured this “killer dossier.” Yes, those are the Red Pepper’s own words:
This is a killer dossier, a heat-pounding and sensational masterpiece that largely exposes Uganda’s shameless men and unabashed women that have deliberately exported the western evils to our dear and sacred society. …
This is what we have long feared: names, identifying features, places of employment, residences, boyfriends and girlfriends, and other unfounded charges and illicit gossip intended to destroy their reputations and worse. It is a repeat of the 2007 vigilante campaign which was also trumpeted by — you guessed it — the Red Pepper.
In fact, this latest article is a retread of the Red Pepper’s infamous 2007 “Homo Terror” article, which was a centerpiece of that year’s campaign. And like before, the Red Pepper doesn’t intend to stop with just this article. Today’s Red Pepper promises to publish “more shocking things you don’t know about Homos” in next Sunday’s edition. Interestingly, this “killer dossier” does not appear in the Red Pepper’s website.
For the latest round, LGBT Ugandans are bracing for the worst while drawing strength from one another:
It is Saturday evening. I debated whether or not to show my face in public. My lover convinced me it was no big deal. Just go, and show my mug. And anyone have a problem, well, to hell with them.
So, I went to my favourite pub. And, found that most other kuchus [gays] had also gravitated there. Showing there [sic] faces.
…But nothing could hide the anger, and the sense of community. We were together to take strength from one another. We have been exposed to the merciless gaze of hate of a homophobic society. We were, and are, hurting. There is little that we can do, but we can brave it out, and give strength to one another. We don’t know what the actual fall out will be, individually, on a person to person basis. Or, to the community. There were some photos, this time, too. As if the need was that it was necessary to sheer up the believability of the red rug. Just a few photos. But enough.
This is the fruit of Exodus International board member Don Schmierer’s participation alongside Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively in an anti-gay conference in Kampala, Uganda during the first weekend of March. The conference, in which Schmierer was intended to serve as the “ex-gay expert,” announced a policy proposal to change Uganda’s draconian laws against homosexuality to force those convicted into unproven and unregulated “therapies.”
Because Schmierer and Exodus have decided to remain silent about their roles in this fiasco, Ugandan anti-gay organizer Stephen Langa has used Schmierer’s and Lively’s talks to lend legitimacy to a series of meetings which followed the original conference. Those meetings then culminated in a press conference carried live on national television featuring George Oundo, who claimed to be “ex-gay.” Oundo has since been fueling a public outing campaign on radio and in the newspapers, culminating in this long-feared feature in the Red Pepper.
This latest development is very worrisome because the Red Pepper was the major cheerleader in past public anti-gay vigilante campaigns. Those campaigns resulted in innocent people being arrested, tortured, fired, and driven into hiding and exile.
Exodus President Alan Chambers’ only response to Schmierer’s associations is to “applaud” Schmierer’s role. Neither he nor Schmierer have spoken out in any meaningful way, either to forcefully condemn the aftermath of that conference, or to own up in Exodus’ role in facilitating the actions stemming from it. For some inexplicable reason, Exodus remains silent as their handiwork in Uganda continues to exact harsh consequences to innocent people.
For the love of all that is decent and holy, when will Chambers do the right thing? What is he waiting for? What will it take for him to finally man-up and do the right thing? Is he really waiting for bloodshed, as it seems right now? Is that what it will take?