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LGBT Advocate Won’t Be Deported To Uganda

Jim Burroway

February 20th, 2014

Dr. Paul Semogoma being greeted by well-wishers following his release by South African immigration authorities. (Via Coalition of African Lesbians)

The South Africa-based Coalition of African Lesbians has posted on its Facebook page that South African immigration authorities have released LGBT/AIDS activist Dr. Paul Semugoma from custody and will not deport him back to Uganda. What’s more, CAR says that he now has a work permit which will allow him to remain in South Africa indefinitely.

Longtime BTB readers may remember him as the formerly-anonymous blogger GayUganda. He formally revealed his identity at the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., 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.

By then, he had already moved to South Africa where he had applied for residency. Yesterday, we learned that Semugoma had been detained by South African immigration authorities and was being held at OR Tambo Airport and pressured to board a flight to Uganda. He was detained as he was returning from a meeting in Zimbabwe.

If he had been forcibly returned to Uganda, he would have become dangerously subject to that nation’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The bill will not only further criminalize homosexuality with life imprisonment, but will also criminalize providing services to LGBT people or engaging in any advocacy on their behalf. 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.

Comments

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Bose in St. Peter MN
February 20th, 2014 | LINK

Wow. Hopefully this news steady, given the volatility of everything he’s been through so far.

Leonardo Ricardo
February 20th, 2014 | LINK

BRAVO! A very big deal (I still have Gay Uganda on my blog roll even though the last posting was way over a year ago it’s my own small way of wishing him the best, siempre). Leonardo Ricardo/Guatemala

Victor
February 21st, 2014 | LINK

Thank God. Now we need every forward thinking leader of the free world to stop paying lip service to their LGBT constituents and tell Ugandan President Museveni that if he signs this bill all diplomatic relations and economic support for his country will be severed. I’m convinced that such unilateral action is the only thing that will stop the impending genocide of every LGBT person in Uganda. AND WHERE THE FUCK IS POPE FRANCIS? The Great Healer’s progressive and inclusive rhetoric is strangely silent. Once the killing starts it will be too late. Anybody who remembers the machete wielding days of Rwanda knows where this is headed.

FYonug
February 21st, 2014 | LINK

Victor,

I agree that the pope has been inexcusably silent, and has inexcusably failed to silence his bishops who are still fanning anti-gay hate and violence all over the world. Is he the pope or just a figurehead?

I think the genocide danger is actually higher in Central African Republic, Cameroon and Nigeria (CAF and Nigeria seem headed toward religious warfare and genocide).

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