Trangender Activist and Pentecostal Pastor Spar On Ugandan TV

Jim Burroway

December 20th, 2012

Pepe Julian Onziema, a transgender advocate with Sexual Minorities Uganda, appeared on a talk show on Uganda’s NBS television with anti-gay pentecostal pastor Martin Ssempa, who has been one of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill’s most outspoken supporters. I thought it was encouraging to see the host, reacting to Ssempa’s referring to Pepe using a female pronoun, interject strongly, “Mister Onziema!” But as you can see, that hardly deterred Ssempa from producing a banana to “explain” homosexuality.

The language is mostly in English, although they switch to Luganda from time to time. But you can certainly get more than the drift. At one point, Ssempa has gotten himself so riled up that it looks like he was about to leap out of his chair. The host was able to impose a momentary semblance of order so that this exchange could take place.

Host: Pepe, how do you want society to perceive you?

Pepe: “As a human being. As a person who is part of society…

Host: But society has rejected you.

Pepe: It has not rejected me. It is the propaganda of the likes of Ssempa. My family loves me as I am.

Ssempa quickly resumed interrupting and shouting over Onziema every time he tried to speak. But Onziema got a very good dig in at the host: “I cannot believe you put me on the show with a hooligan.”

As you can see, Ssempa remains bizarrely obsessed with gay sex. In January, 2010, he displayed gay S&M porn at a press conference while calling for the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. He did the same thing again the following month at a news conference in his church. His antics when viral later that summer with re-mixes of Ssempa’s “Eat Da Poo-Poo” talks.

Ssempa is believed to be linked to the now-defunct Rolling Stone tabloid (no relation to the U.S. publication by the same name), which launched an infamous 2010 “Hang Them!” vigilante campaign featuring LGBT advocate David Kato on the front cover. Kato, Onziema, and Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera sued Rolling Stone, and in a landmark ruling won an injunction barring the tabloid from any further outing campaigns. But Kato was brutally murdered just a few weeks later. Last month, was convicted by a Kampala court as part of the conspiracy to accuse a rival pastor of homosexuality.

Priya Lynn

December 20th, 2012

I’m really surprised to see how incredibly consumed with anger Seempa is. While he refrained from physical violence, verbally he did everything possible to prevent any disagreement with the hate he was spewing. Its easy to see it would take very little for Seempa to cross the line into murdering every LGBT he could get his hands on.

Regan DuCasse

December 21st, 2012

I just men the most striking and amazing trans man from Nigeria recently. He’s a pastor, and is working with the Nigerian gov’t and other advocates in both countries.
I can’t imagine what a task that has to be, and the courage it takes.
But courage he has.
I think that as long as the media can expose how absurd, or at least perhaps truly hostile if not crazy the opposition to equality is, the better.
At least the public can see for themselves.
And our dissenters can’t unring their own bells.

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