Ugandan “Ex-Gay” Recants — Again

Jim Burroway

April 14th, 2011

George Oundo

Last week, we reported that George Oundo, the off-again, on-again Ugandan “ex-gay” poster boy under Pentecostal Pastor Martin Ssempa’s wing, was on-again, supporting Ssempa’s drive to re-open debate in the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill which is languishing in Uganda’s Parliament. Oundo stood before reporters and claimed that he had been a founding member of a group whose aim was the “”recruitment of the next generation of homosexuals.” He also accused  human rights groups, including the London-based Amnesty International, of financing the recruitment of young Ugandans into homosexual lifestyles. 

The New York Times finally decided to catch up with this week-old news today, reporting on Ssempa’s demand that Parliament begin debating the bill. But their report adds an interesting addendum to the story: Oundo recanted his story an hour after his public statement

But an hour later, in a quiet hotel, Mr. Oundo recanted much of what had been said at the meeting. 

“David Kato was murdered; it was a plot,” Mr. Oundo said. “I don’t support the bill.” 

As for being a “former homosexual,” that, too, was not true. 

“I’ve always been gay,” Mr. Oundo said, in a timid but growing voice. “I didn’t choose it.” 

“David Kato was the first one who taught me to protect my human right,” Mr. Oundo added. 

Mr. Oundo said that his presence alongside Mr. Ssempa at Parliament had been to “protect” himself and that he had been contacted only that morning by Mr. Kagaba about the meeting and offered about $42 to attend. He said Mr. Ssempa had offered him about $2,000 in 2009 to repent and switch sides in the debate, but later reneged. Either way, Mr. Oundo became a poster-child for Mr. Ssempa’s anti-homosexuality movement. 

Mr. Ssempa declined to comment on the allegations. 

Mr. Oundo admitted that he had picked up boyfriends at high schools and universities, what the antigay movement calls recruiting. But he said Uganda’s gay population was full of “natural-borns,” like himself. 

“If I live or die, I am gay, and if I am buried, bury me gay,” he said. 

It’s hard to know what to believe when it comes to Oundo. He was a key player in a series of vigilante campaigns in 2009, particularly in the campaigns which immediately followed the infamous March 2009 anti-gay conference put on by American activists Scott Lively, Don Schmierer and Caleb Lee Brundidge. Oundo himself appears to have a great deal of difficulty deciding which side he should be on. This story, which appears to show Oundo playing both sides of the fence on the very same afternoon, only adds to the confusion.

David Roberts

April 14th, 2011

It seems the only one’s paying for any change over there are anti-gays.

Jim

April 14th, 2011

My take is that George Oundo is a victim of people in power.

If I were in Uganda, I’d be afraid too. Afraid to be white and gay. Afraid to be black and gay. Afraid to have any opinion that does match Martin Ssempa’s. Afraid of Martin Ssempa. Just afraid.

I will never go to Uganda while the seeds of Edi Amin are still growing.

anteros

April 14th, 2011

in uganda, being openly ex-gay doesn’t seem any easier than being openly gay. oundo’s probably just trying to survive… sadly, at the expense of others… and himself.

how many ex gay people go ex ex gay and then ex ex ex gay and then… it looks like keeping it together as an openly ex gay dude in uganda requires lotsa mental, emotional and spiritual acrobatics… and a heavy reliance on immediate social support, from whichever camp is offering it at the time… which probably changes with the wind direction in environments like oudo’s.

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