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Ugandan LGBT Advocate Pens Op-Ed for New York Times

Jim Burroway

December 23rd, 2011

Way to go, Frank Mugisha:

Many Africans believe that homosexuality is an import from the West, and ironically they invoke religious beliefs and colonial-era laws that are foreign to our continent to persecute us.

The way I see it, homophobia — not homosexuality — is the toxic import. Thanks to the absurd ideas peddled by American fundamentalists, we are constantly forced to respond to the myth — debunked long ago by scientists — that homosexuality leads to pedophilia. For years, the Christian right in America has exported its doctrine to Africa, and, along with it, homophobia. In Uganda, American evangelical Christians even held workshops and met with key officials to preach their message of hate shortly before a bill to impose the death penalty for homosexual conduct was introduced in Uganda’s Parliament in 2009. Two years later, despite my denunciation of all forms of child exploitation, David Bahati, the legislator who introduced the bill, as well as Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem and other top government officials, still don’t seem to grasp that being gay doesn’t equate to being a pedophile.

You can see BTB’s coverage of those 2009 workshops and meetings with Parliament here. Frank Mugisha is Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, where he works at great personal risk and sacrifice:

I remember the moment when my friend David Kato, Uganda’s best-known gay activist, sat with me in the small unmarked office of our organization, Sexual Minorities Uganda. “One of us will probably die because of this work,” he said. We agreed that the other would then have to continue. In January, because of this work, David was bludgeoned to death at his home, with a hammer. Many people urged me to seek asylum, but I have chosen to remain and fulfill my promise to David — and to myself. My life is in danger, but the lives of those whose names are not known in international circles are even more vulnerable.

Go read his entire op-ed before you do anything else today.

Comments

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andrew
December 23rd, 2011 | LINK

I’d say “way to go Mugisha”, but I get the feeling this is SOP in terms of clear thinking and excellent writing from this guy (the U.S. would be lucky to have him – someone get this guy a green card). More like “way to be”.

I do give kudo’s to the NYT for running the article that clearly points fingers and pulls no punches. It makes me sick how the Christian right condemns on the one hand but then lies about it, and worse pretends that it’s doing what’s in its best interest for everyone out of love. There are very few animals in nature that kill with guile that effectively. At least a shark is a shark.

Christopher
December 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Hi, Andrew!

The thing to remember is that the Christian Right, though loud and vocal, is losing: name ONE group that they have oppressed over the centuries that continue to be.

Despite all their childhood indoctrinations, many people are throwing off these repressive notions in light of education and research.

Bill Talkington Jr.
December 23rd, 2011 | LINK

I don’t have much, but I’d like to be able to provide some kind of help to Mr. Mugisha and his organization, SMU. I was a 16 year old New Yorker during the Stonewall Riots and remember how dangerous it was back then for us. Feel free to contact me personally to give me some suggestions on how I can help.

thanks;

Bill Talkington Jr.

Fresno, CA

Victor
December 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Thanks for sharing this story and news about the Op-Ed. I don’t read the NYT regularly so I would have missed it. His story breaks my heart and reminds us all that no matter how infuriating Christofascism is, we must never never get to celebrate – and not take for granted – the freedoms we have thus far won, in spite of the desperate wishes of those in this country who still deem us abominations.

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