LGBT Advocate Faces Deportation To Uganda

Jim Burroway

February 19th, 2014

Longtime BTB readers may remember the formerly-anonymous blogger who went by the moniker GayUganda, Dr. Paul Semugoma. He formally revealed his identity in 2012 while in Washington D.C. for that year’s International AIDS Conference, where he spoke passionately about the  challenges of confronting HIV/AIDS in a country where rampant homophobia makes it dangerous for LGBT people to disclose themselves to their doctors. He had, by then, moved to South Africa where he had applied for residency.

Today, there are reports that he is currently in detention in South Africa and facing deportation back to Uganda. One source says that “despite a High Court order to stay the deportation, he was taken to airport, where he refused to leave voluntarily.”  Here is a full release from earlier in the day from South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign:

(19 FEBRUARY) Dr Paul Nsubuga Semugoma a Ugandan medical doctor and human rights activist has been under arrest for the past 48 hours and is facing the threat of deportation to his country of birth.

A group of South African human rights organisations are urgently attempting to halt his deportation as Paul is “wanted” in Uganda for his activism around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in his country.

Paul has been in the forefront with the Ugandan Parliament in fighting the Anti-homosexuality Bill, were he presented how the bill not only is a human rights infringement but also a health access dilemma to the Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) community. The human rights situation in Uganda has deteriorated, and the LGBT community is particularly vulnerable at this time.

Paul is at risk should he be deported to Uganda. One of his close friends David Kato was murdered in 2011 and he felt he was not so safe anymore and decided to move to South Africa with his partner where he has been a volunteer doctor at Anova Health Institute for the past three years, working specifically with MSM.

Paul’s special skills application has been pending since March 2012. His application was lost twice by the Department of Home Affairs, a case was lodged and he was requested to re-apply in which he did in April 2013 and again in August 2013. Paul was allowed to travel using his official passport and a receipt from the department. After several trips in and out of South Africa, Paul returned from a meeting in Zimbabwe earlier this week and was arrested.

Lawyers yesterday managed to get a court order to halt the threatened deportation and to order his release. However last night  immigration officials unlawfully refused to release him. As a result his lawyers are returning to the South Gauteng High Courttoday to secure another order for his release.

Activists will gather at the court today in support of Paul’s release.


More from AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention:

Thank you for the rapid outpouring of support! A couple of actions you can take:

  • Social media campaigns are being organized using the social media hashtags #JusticeforPaulSemugoma and #freepaul. We encourage you to help raise the profile of the situation on Facebook, Twitter, and with any relevant media contacts.
  •  The Coalition of African Lesbians is encouraging partners to contact some of the officials with jurisdiction over the situation. Visit: for more information.
  • For those based in Johannesburg, 2014 AVAC Fellow Yvette Raphael wrote in about a protest that is being organized at OR Tambo International Airport. Contact Yvette at for more information.

The Ugandan Parliament has passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would not only further criminalize homosexuality with life imprisonment, but would also criminalize providing services to LGBT people or engaging in any advocacy on their behalf. President Yoweri Museveni has announced that he will sign that bill into law. This will make Dr. Semugoma a three-times criminal: he’s gay, he’s a doctor providing health care to LGBT people, and he’s an advocate.


February 19th, 2014

Frustrating that there’s nothing about *why* he was arrested, or why they refused to obey the court order. Not your fault, of course.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

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.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

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.

Paul Cameron’s World

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.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

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"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

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.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

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.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

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.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

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.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe 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.