November 28th, 2011
Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest independent newspaper, has a must-read story today asking, “Is Uganda as homophobic as they say?” They begin by setting up the question this way:
It can be traced to a whirlwind of events. One year after (M.P. David) Bahati’s (Anti-Homosexuality Bill), a fledgling tabloid ran a headline that called for homosexuals to be killed. Three months after that, in January this year, one of the men pictured under the Hang them headline, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death in his home. Amin himself couldn’t have written a better script.
The reference to the Idi Amin, the bloodthirsty dictator who ruled Uganda from 1971 to 1979, is a recurring one. Playwright Judith Adong invokes Amin’s name to show how the world’s views on Uganda’s human rights problems have shifted from a historical problem to a current one:
Before, when people heard that I’m from Uganda it used to be, ‘Oh, so you’re from Idi Amin’s country.’ Now it’s ‘You’re the people who want to kill homosexuals,'” she says.
Longtime LGBT advocate Val Kalende (she bravely appeared in a 2009 Daily Monitor profile at the height of the outcry surrounding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill) pulls on that thread further. Referencing Lonely Planet’s recommendation of Uganda as the world’s #1 best tourist destination, Val refocuses on the broader problems with human rights in Uganda:
Kalende believes the commenters on Lonely Planet are blowing things out of proportion. “What such people want to do is to place gay rights ahead of other human rights and they are the reason African countries are still overly homophobic. If people want Uganda to be boycotted because of homophobia then they should make the same noise when opposition leaders and journalists have their rights abused by the State.”
In this respect, Uganda is little different from the rest of the world: the gay community functions as the canary in the coalmine. How a society treats its gay community is a good predictor for how a society is capable of dealing with other groups who are either out of favor or out of power. President Yoweri Museveni’s regime has spent much of this year violently suppressing his political opponents. Against that backdrop, the world’s focused attention on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill while ignoring the broader problems with human rights strike ordinary Ugandans as elevating the gay community’s concern above everyone else’s. And naturally, if the world condemns official homophobia while ignoring the rest, it feeds the suspicion that LGBT Ugandans are seeking “special” rights and protections which ordinary Ugandans do not yet enjoy themselves.
Ugandan LGBT advocates say that this issue is just one of the barriers they face in trying to turn public opinion around on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. When ordinary Ugandans see official harassment, arbitrary police actions, rampant corruption, and widespread abuses of power as endemic features of daily life, worldwide concerns over the country’s treatment of its LGBT citizens looks wildly myopic. Worse, LGBT advcocates say that single-minded focus confirms in the minds of ordinary Ugandans that the outside world is out of touch with what’s really going on there. And when Britain threatens developmental aid cuts based on treatment of sexual minorities, but not on violent governmental crackdowns on opposition groups, it only reinforces the widespread erroneous belief that homosexuality is a foreign import. On those points, it becomes hard to argue with them.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.