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Posts for July, 2009

New Anglican Bishop in Zimbabwe

Timothy Kincaid

July 27th, 2009

The Anglican Church Province of Central Africa is, perhaps, less homophobic than many on the African Continent. Which has caused an internal fight with one Bishop who pulled his diocese from the fellowship, citing their inadequate anti-gay positions.

And because in Africa the church is often strongly involved in the politics of a nation, the previous bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, with his connection to strongman Robert Mugabe, had delayed the return of property and title by means of court decisions and police action.

It now appears that the installation of his replacement has occured. (New Zimbabwe)

THE Anglican Church in Zimbabwe sought to open a new chapter in its troubled recent history with the consecration of Chad Gandiya as Bishop of Harare.

The consecration, watched by thirteen bishops, was followed by an enthronement in the Cathedral Church of St Mary & All Saints. Such defiance of Kunonga would hardly have been possible as recently as some months ago without violence by his state-backed shock troops.

Gandiya is known as a liberal in the Anglican Church which has been battling sharp divisions, particularly with the church in Africa, over the ordination of gay bishops.

It is always hard to tell to what extent this will impact the lives of gay Zimbaweans, but it certainly a movement in the right direction.

Uganda Anti-Gay Activists March, “Storm Parliament”

Jim Burroway

April 24th, 2009

The Daily Monitor of Uganda has this report on a march by local anti-gay activists held on Tuesday:

Anti-gay mobs demonstrating in Kampala, Uganda (Joseph Kiggundu/Daily Monitor)

Anti-gay mobs demonstrating in Kampala, Uganda (Joseph Kiggundu/Daily Monitor)

Activists against homosexuality in Uganda stormed parliament on Tuesday protesting against the practice and demanded a probe into the practice in the country.

The activists who were holding banners denouncing the activity were led by the Family Life Network in conjunction with religious leaders.

The groups led by the Executive Director of Family Life Network, Mr Stephen Langa while handing over their petition to the Deputy Speaker, Ms Rebecca Kadaga said the Parliamentary select committee should also assess the extent of the damage homosexuality has caused to children and Ugandans.

…Mr Langa said the homosexuals under the group Sexual Minorities Uganda spend huge sums of money to recruit University students and those in secondary schools into homosexuality. They did not give details.

Another Uganda news outlet, UGPulse, reported that Deputy Speaker Kadaga “promised to push for the amendment of Article 31 of the Constitution which prohibits homosexual marriages. Langa had earlier noted that the article prohibits gay marriages but not the actions.”The Daily Monitor’s article indicates that the group explained that they wanted the proposed amendment to be broadened to “openly prohibit homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality and other related practices.” According to some reports, there are moves afoot to make merely being gay a crime.

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda’s Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda’s Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

The anonymous blogger GayUganda reports that the demonstration began at Makerere University, the principle university in Kampala. Makerere University serves as host to pastor Martin Ssempa’s weekly anti-gay talks known as “Prime Time.” From Makerere University, the march worked its way through Kampala to the Parliament building. Portions of the march were carried on local Ugandan television.

This march follows Sunday’s full-page article in the gossip tabloid The Red Pepper, which provided first names and other identifying features of more than fifty gays and lesbians in Uganda. Identifying features included places of residences, employers, partners’ names, and types of cars driven. The article does not appear on The Red Pepper’s web site. The Red Pepper promises another round of public outings next Sunday.

The same tabloid gained notoriety for conducting a similar public outing campaign in 2007. That campaign led to mob assaults, arrests, extra-judicial punishment, and drove some LGBT Ugandans into hiding or exile.

This year’s anti-gay campaign traces its origins to a March 3-5 conference held in Kampala featuring three American anti-gay activists. Conference speakers included Exodus board president Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and purported raiser-of-the-dead and Richard Cohen protegé Caleb Lee Brundidge.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Alan Chambers Addresses Developments In Uganda

Jim Burroway

April 20th, 2009
April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda's Red Pepper (Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda

Late yesterday, I posted about the latest disturbing developments in Uganda as the tabloid Red Pepper published a full-page article publicly outing forty LGBT Ugandans. I also wondered aloud what it would take for Exodus President Alan Chambers to finally address the events in Uganda.

Today, Exodus International President Alan Chambers addressed the situation in Uganda with this statement on his personal blog:

A recent hullabaloo over a conference in Uganda has had me thinking and praying about some things. The conference centered on a conservative, presumably Christian, response to gay issues in that country. In Uganda, homosexual behavior is punishable by imprisonment and there is talk of stiffening the penalties. Several American gay activists and even some conservative Christians have raised a ruckus about the event and rightfully so. Uganda’s policies seem reprehensible. Publicly exposing or arresting gay-identified men and women for homosexual behavior or forcing them to undergo therapy is a true violation of free will and a compassionless transgression.

Chambers’ statement departs from Uganda to provide a broader context of past Christian failures toward the LGBT community. He lauded the gay community for having stepped up to the plate to do the hard work that should have been the work of the church, particularly contrasting the LGBT community’s response to the AIDS crisis with the reaction of Christian leaders. He also wonders aloud “what things in California might be like if the Church had spent the $39 million dollars they raised for Proposition 8 to show the love of Christ to the gay community.”

In the final paragraph, Chambers returns to Uganda:

Confession is good for the soul, they say. There’s a reason for that. So, to my fellow Christians in Uganda, California and elsewhere around the world, my suggestion as you engage in social dialogue over this issue is this: pray, confess your own sins and remember where you were before God found you. And to the gay community: it is my great hope that we as a Christian church will give you no more reasons to justifiably doubt God’s love for you. I am sorry for the times when I have contributed to that.

Chambers covers a lot of ground in this confession. It can mark a great first step, but the statement alone remains insufficient. It was action that sparked the latest events in Uganda, and it will take action on Exodus’ part to address what Exodus board member Don Schmierer helped wrought.

This statement and others like it need to get into the hands of Uganda’s media, much like Warren Throckmorton’s statement a month ago. The typical Ugandan, after all, isn’t likely to be a regular reader of Chambers’ blog. In fact, they are less likely to have reliable Internet access at all, hence the importance of following Throckmorton’s example and going to Uganda’s media directly.

It’s too early to know whether Chambers’ statement will remain an exercise in absolving his conscience or if it signals a resolve to try to set right what has been broken. My cynical side says it’s the former, but my inner cynic is wrong at least as often as he’s right. I am hopeful for the latter, but that hope is tempered with the experience of seeing similarly noble sentiments followed by inaction. In either case we will remain watchful.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Uganda’s Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign Is Now In Full Swing

Jim Burroway

April 19th, 2009

This is what Exodus International helped spark. It is today’s issue of the Ugandan tabloid, The Red Pepper, which featured this “killer dossier.” Yes, those are the Red Pepper’s own words:

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda's Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda's Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

This is a killer dossier, a heat-pounding and sensational masterpiece that largely exposes Uganda’s shameless men and unabashed women that have deliberately exported the western evils to our dear and sacred society. …

This is what we have long feared: names, identifying features, places of employment, residences, boyfriends and girlfriends, and other unfounded charges and illicit gossip intended to destroy their reputations and worse. It is a repeat of the 2007 vigilante campaign which was also trumpeted by — you guessed it — the Red Pepper.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge

The Red Pepper in 2007. (Click to enlarge.)

In fact, this latest article is a retread of the Red Pepper’s infamous 2007 “Homo Terror” article, which was a centerpiece of that year’s campaign. And like before, the Red Pepper doesn’t intend to stop with just this article. Today’s Red Pepper promises to publish “more shocking things you don’t know about Homos” in next Sunday’s edition. Interestingly, this “killer dossier” does not appear in the Red Pepper’s website.

For the latest round, LGBT Ugandans are bracing for the worst while drawing strength from one another:

It is Saturday evening. I debated whether or not to show my face in public. My lover convinced me it was no big deal. Just go, and show my mug. And anyone have a problem, well, to hell with them.

So, I went to my favourite pub. And, found that most other kuchus [gays] had also gravitated there. Showing there [sic] faces.

…But nothing could hide the anger, and the sense of community. We were together to take strength from one another. We have been exposed to the merciless gaze of hate of a homophobic society. We were, and are, hurting. There is little that we can do, but we can brave it out, and give strength to one another. We don’t know what the actual fall out will be, individually, on a person to person basis. Or, to the community. There were some photos, this time, too. As if the need was that it was necessary to sheer up the believability of the red rug. Just a few photos. But enough.

This is the fruit of Exodus International board member Don Schmierer’s participation alongside Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively in an anti-gay conference in Kampala, Uganda during the first weekend of March. The conference, in which Schmierer was intended to serve as the “ex-gay expert,” announced a policy proposal to change Uganda’s draconian laws against homosexuality to force those convicted into unproven and unregulated “therapies.”

Exodus board member Don Schmierer (left) and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively (right)

Exodus board member Don Schmierer (left) and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively (right)

Because Schmierer and Exodus have decided to remain silent about their roles in this fiasco, Ugandan anti-gay organizer Stephen Langa has used Schmierer’s and Lively’s talks to lend legitimacy to a series of meetings which followed the original conference. Those meetings then culminated in a press conference carried live on national television featuring George Oundo, who claimed to be “ex-gay.” Oundo has since been fueling a public outing campaign on radio and in the newspapers, culminating in this long-feared feature in the Red Pepper.

This latest development is very worrisome because the Red Pepper was the major cheerleader in past public anti-gay vigilante campaigns. Those campaigns resulted in innocent people being arrested, tortured, fired, and driven into hiding and exile.

Exodus President Alan Chambers’ only response to Schmierer’s associations is to “applaud” Schmierer’s role. Neither he nor Schmierer have spoken out in any meaningful way, either to forcefully condemn the aftermath of that conference, or to own up in Exodus’ role in facilitating the actions stemming from it. For some inexplicable reason, Exodus remains silent as their handiwork in Uganda continues to exact harsh consequences to innocent people.

For the love of all that is decent and holy, when will Chambers do the right thing? What is he waiting for? What will it take for him to finally man-up and do the right thing? Is he really waiting for bloodshed, as it seems right now? Is that what it will take?

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Uganda Columnist: “Happy Easter …Irrespective of Sexual Orientation”

Jim Burroway

April 10th, 2009

Columnist Bernard Tabaire, writing for Uganda’s Daily Monitor, offers a very refreshing and sane take on the latest round of anti-gay agitation taking place in Ugandan media. His column is so wonderful and refreshing, it’s hard to know where to start. He starts this way:

It is Holy Saturday, today, the final day of Holy Week and of Lent – “a period of spiritual preparation for Easter which typically involves fasting, penance and prayer”. Besides fasting, penance and prayer, the Lent period in Uganda this year has been characterised by something else: virulent gay-bashing.

Tabaire calls out Stephen Langa, director of Kampala-based Family Life Network, on this latest round of public gay-bashing with remarkable clarity and logic. He notes the obvious rivalries between Langa and other “Christian” leaders — petty rivalries which appear to behind charges that one prominent Catholic priest was gay. Those charges were made by some so-called “ex-gays” that were trotted out by Langa at a press conference. But of the more concerning accusations — that gay Ugandans are “recruiting” schoolchildren, Tabaire asks the questions that ought to be obvious:

But enticing minors into sexual activity, any sexual activity, is illegal as well. So why are the Georginas [referring to George Oundo and Emma Matovu] not reporting this matter to the police? Why do they report to Mr Langa’s little outfit? If they do not know about the rights of children, surely, Mr Langa knows. Why does he then not encourage them to report these things to the police?

In fact, the police should swing into action and arrest anyone, straight or gay, who has lured children to sexual activity. Otherwise they will stand accused of going along with Mr Langa’s posturing as the guarantor of morality in Uganda.

Indeed, the main point that has come out of Mr Langa’s shrill anti-gay crusade is that adults are messing with our children. This, though, begs the question: what has recruitment of children into homosexuality got to do with two consenting adults having a sexual relationship? In his zeal, Mr Langa appears over his head here. He needs to straighten his priorities not gays and lesbians.

Tabaire also points out the obvious dangers which stem from this latest upsurge of anti-gay rhetoric and accusations:

There is something potentially dangerous in what Mr Langa is doing in inveighing against fellow Ugandans just because they are not heterosexual. It will come as no surprise if individuals falsely name others as gay or lesbian to settle personal scores.

Tabaire’s column is a very welcome island of sanity in the sea of madness we’ve seen lately. I hope this will encourage others to raise their voice as well.

And maybe — just maybe — Exodus President Alan Chambers will be moved by the celebration of the Easter season to muster the courage that Bernard Tabaire has demonstrated. Maybe.

Chambers rushed to Peter LaBarbera’s defense, and LaBarbera’s life and liberty isn’t close to being threatened. Meanwhile, we hear that Ugandan television followed police as they arrested two gay men in their own homes. Those men will reportedly spend their Easter weekend in jail.

I hope that in this season, Alan Chambers may find the courage to contact Ugandan media — as Warren Throckmorton did, so we know it’s not that difficult to do — and call for a halt to the vigilantism that his fellow Exodus board member facilitated. A member of his organization helped to create this mess; he can make a big difference in trying to correct the situation.

Alan, the ball is in your court. You can choose to do the right thing, or you can continue to remain silent. The choice is yours. Happy Easter, irrespective.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Uganda Press Crank Up “Predator” Rhetoric

Jim Burroway

April 6th, 2009

The recent flare-up of anti-gay activity in Uganda has taken on a very dangerous turn lately, with two tabloids providing “tips” on how to spot gays and lesbians. These “tips” are based on common misinformed stereotypes, some of which were promulgated from the recent series of anti-gay gatherings taking place in the aftermath of a conference earlier this month featuring three American anti-gay activists.

Uganda’s Weekly Observer’s “tips” is in the form of person-on-the-street interviews, in which random Ugandans offer their suggestions on how to spot gays and lesbians, like this one:

Sarah Nakiwolo, 22, Student
What I know is that men who are gay tend to like all the fancy things that are normally appreciated by women. For example they will want to always treat their hair, apply make-up and act like women by pulling at their blouses (shirts) and jeans, which are normally tight. They also tend to gesture around like women by folding their hands, you know. Then for women, they will behave like men. They wear men’s clothes a lot and would rather cut their hair to appear like men and do not fuss about make up. God made sex for man and woman, period. It will be hard to stop gay acts unless government comes out with a strict law.

Of the nine interviews, only one cautioned that “it would not be wise to stereotype.” There were no counterbalancing interviews of gay people or experts, legitimate or otherwise.

The second, more disturbing element is that the Red Pepper is beginning to get involved. The latest issue featured this story:

Researchers told us last night that over three million Ugandans have engaged in homosexual activities knowingly or unknowingly…. Last week Sunday Pepper talked in confidence to some people who had ever been cornered into homosexual acts and below we give you their chilling confessions.

Those researchers are unnamed. What follows is two “confessions.” One was subtitled, “I survived being bum-drilled by a senior journalist,” and the other, “I became a lesbo unknowingly.”

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

The Red Pepper’s entry into the latest round of anti-gay grandstanding was expected, but it’s disturbing nonetheless. In previous anti-gay campaigns, the Red Pepper became notorious for printing first names and identifying details of those it alleged were gay.

The Red Pepper’s “confessions” article isn’t the only recent story the tabloid has run recently. The Red Pepper also ran this story, which carried lurid allegations against named individuals who are members of an opposition political party. Stories like these are common means of discrediting legitimate opposition in Uganda, and the Red Pepper’s accounts are typically the most intentionally outrageous:

Monster whopper wielding homosexual activists last year reportedly grabbed and attempted to drill the tiny bums of Uganda Young Democrats (UYD) members, Red Pepper exclusively reveals.  UYD is a vibrant youth wing of the opposition Democratic Party.

The chilling story is that late last year, UYD boss, Fred Mukasa Mbidde ferried 40 UYD members by bus to attend a conference on African Democracy at Victoria Hotel, Nakuru in Kenya. Sources that attended the workshop say it was organized and financed by AUF, a Norwegian based political party well known for bankrolling bum shafting and gay activities worldwide.

The organization which was represented by a bummy lady identified as Anja Riiser, has been secretly securing visas for bum-bonking experts and gay stars to countries like Spain, Norway, Italy and Canada.

The article goes on to names of several “UYD boys whose bums survived being cracked by bazungu’s [sic] monster whoppers.”

Exodus board member Don Schmierer (left) and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively (right)

Exodus board member Don Schmierer (left) and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively (right)

The recent anti-gay conferences led by Stephen Langa featuring Exodus board member Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and Richard Cohen Protegé Caleb Lee Brundidge gave a legitimizing gloss on the image of “predatory homosexuals,” an image which has been the main component of past anti-gay vigilante and extrajudicial campaigns. Both Schmierer and Lively, cited as American “experts” on homosexuality, pointed to child sexual abuse as a means for “recruiting” youth into homosexuality.

Schmierer, in particular, used his credentials as an ex-gay “expert” to push the “molestation” theme as a pathway to homosexuality.  In his book, An Ounce of Prevention: Preventing the Homosexual Condition in Today’s Youth, Schmierer writes, “Sexual abuse, including molestation and/or rape is a key factor in homosexuality. We will return to this repeatedly because it is so significant.” And indeed he does, repeatedly. As do the extremists who are whipping up dangerous levels of vitriol in Ugandan newspapers, radio and television — backed by the “expertise” of Exodus and Lively.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Forced Outings Continue As Uganda LGBT Advocates Allege Oundo Is In It For The Money

Jim Burroway

March 31st, 2009

The campaign of forced public “outings” of alleged LGBT individuals have continued in Uganda, including allegations against a popular Catholic priest and gospel singer, among others:

In his remarks, [Paul] Kagaba also named an employee of a Kampala city hospital and a European residing on Entebbe road among the prominent gay promoters in the country.

Meanwhile, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) held a sparsely attended news conference to call for the protection of equal rights for that nation’s LGBT citizens:

Victor Mukasa, the coordinator of the Uganda Minority Sexual Rights group says the campaign against homosexuals in the country is based on wrong information that homosexuality is an acquired behavior which can be taught to people.

Mukasa says homosexuals are naturally born attracted to people of the same sex and do not “change like weather”. Mukasa says it is wrong for Langa and his group to accuse homosexuals of being in a campaign to recruit and change school children into homosexuality. He says these allegations are aimed at making Ugandans to hate homosexuals and force the government to become punish homosexuals.

One interesting detail from this Uganda Pulse article is this very obliquely stated allegation:

But the Family Life Network recently presented a group of former homosexuals who claimed they used to recruit students through offering them money and friendship. Mukasa says the people claiming to have been working to promote homosexuality in schools have been paid to talk bad about homosexuals in order to make Ugandans hate homosexuals, instead of appreciating their differences. [Emphases mine.]

George Oundo at yesterday's press conference

George Oundo

This brings to light earlier allegations about George Oundo that I have heard privately from anonymous sources. Those private sources have told me that the widespread belief in Uganda’s LGBT community is that Oundo “switched sides” for financial gain.

As we’ve noted, the charge that gays are “recruiting” Ugandan children has been a recurrent them in this and past anti-gay campaigns. Oundo threw more fuel on that fire when he became a centerpiece for an anti-gay press conference carried live by three Ugandan television stations. At that press conference, Oundo claimed that after having been a gay activist, he is now — only five months later — heterosexual. He also claimed that during his time as an activist, he was paid by wealthy foreign activists to recruit children into homosexuality. If this were true, that would mean that Oundo admitted to having committed the crime of child sexual abuse. But that technical detail is being overlooked as Oundo threatens to publicly name private individuals from among Uganda’s beleaguered gay community.

We published some background information on Oundo’s transformation from gay activists to gay denouncer, which included several arrests and detentions by police and a surprise appearance in the hated Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper last October. That paper had led previous anti-gay vigilante campaigns by outing private gay citizens to employers, neighbors and police. The Red Pepperarticle included Oundo’s complaints that the gay community was refusing to provide financial assistance.

The private reports that I had received alleged that Oundo had come to believe that LGBT activism was a lucrative trade and he began demanding his cut, and they cite his appearance in the hated Red Pepper as a public gambit for payment. That allegation is certainly consistent with the main theme behind the Red Pepper article.

Red Pepper article featuring George (“Georgina”) Oundo (Click to enlarge).

Red Pepper article featuring George (“Georgina”) Oundo (Click to enlarge).

Now SMUG’s chairperson has gone on record with similar allegations, saying that Oundo’s turning away from the LGBT community has less to do with suddenly finding Jesus, and more to do with finding the highest bidder:

A confession by George Oundo and his claim that he has abandoned homosexuality seems to be nothing more than him trying to get back at the LGBTI movement in Uganda since he accuses the leaders of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) of neglecting him and his friend when they were in need.

…Oundo also said that the other eight men who confessed are people who also have grievances with the LGBTI movement in Uganda.

…Frank Mugisha, Chairperson of SMUG said that George Oundo expected too much from the LGBTI movement.

“It is bad that he is using his sexual orientation for selfish gains. When his demands were not met by the LGBTI community, he sought a new tactic. We believe he has not changed he is still gay and will always be, it is a matter of time before we will all find out that he is lying”, Mugisha concluded.

Update: Minutes after posting this, an email newsletter from SMUG landed in my inbox. It contained this update:

The situation is still hostile, minutes after holding our press conference, the anti gay religious groups with  ex-gay Ouudo George also held a press conference. In the press conference they ‘outed’ more LGBTI people, our partners and uttered continuous false accusations, insults and threats.

The outings and threats continue…

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Uganda Activist Cites Disbarred “Therapist” As Authority on Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

March 31st, 2009

David Roberts at Ex-Gay Watch has posted another exclusive video of Ugandan pastor Stephen Langa, as he cites Richard Cohen’s 2000 book, Coming Out Straight, as an authority on the homosexual agenda. The video was taken during a March 15th follow-up meeting to the three-day conference conducted by American anti-gay activists, which included Richard Cohen protegé Lee Caleb Brundidge.

YouTube Preview Image

What are some of their strategies? One: redefine homosexuality as an inborn condition based on genetics and biology, so that it will be regarded as irreversible. There is no proof, there is no study that has found that homosexuality is genetic. None, none. In fact, this man has a whole chapter on it. Now this man is a former homosexual, he has a whole chapter on all the science, on all the studies that homosexuals claim […] the genetics of homosexuality, and all of them don’t qualify. They are unrepeatable. You cannot politicize… […] an experiment cannot be done, it cannot happen. It doesn’t work. It’s not there. But we see they portray it as such. They portray it as such.

Second, focus on who they are and not what they do. It’s a very critical tactic. A very critical tactic. What does that mean? This shifts the debate from the arena of morality, ethics and psychology to politics, human rights and social injustice. Here’s how clever they are. This is a matter of morality. This is a matter ethics. This is a matter of psychology. But now they shift it to politics, human rights and social injustice. They play on your sense of justice. “Oh, but look at the injustice. See?” They’re like the Blacks, and that is wrong. You see, and here it is. “In this way they emulate the pattern of the Civil Rights movement.” In America, what was the civil rights movement? People are being discriminated against because they are Black.

Now the difference between that and a legitimate civil rights issue and an issue which is not a civil rights issue is this: If that thing is something you have no choice about and something inborn, then it is a civil rights issue. For example, your tribe, if somebody discriminates against your tribe, your color, you know? Those kinds of things. Those are things which are legitimate civil rights and human rights items. But issues of choice, if I choose to be a thief, if I choose to be a murderer, I cannot stand up and say, “Oh, you see, I was born this way.” No.

But you see, these guys are clever. They want to equate legitimate issues that demand or that deserve human rights protection with things that don’t. And that is how they were able to win in South Africa, because they say, “Well oh, Blacks were discriminated against, the Blacks in South Africa. So we are also like that.” And so the South African government, as the other people passed, they also passed. And in America, this came up at the time when they see Black civil rights had just gained prominence and had just got their rights, and so they also smuggled themselves into the middle of it. And they came together with the Blacks. But that’s the tactic. It’s the tactic. It’s the tactic.

There is so much in this short clip that is wrong that it’s hard to know where to begin. But there is one thing that bears mentioning. Anti-gay activists who assert that there is no biological basis for homosexuality for anyone pretend that there were only three studies worth mentioning. Those studies include Simon LeVay’s 1994 brain study, Bailey and Pillard’s 1991 twins study, and Dean Hamer’s 1993 X-chromosome study. As far as activists are concerned, these are the only studies that have ever been published, and none of them “proved” that homosexuality is biological or genetic.

The truth is however that there have literally been hundreds of studies published in peer-reviewed journals in the past twenty years or more, the preponderance of which suggest a biological basis for homosexuality in many people. Anti-gay activists refuse to acknowledge those studies. Instead, they only pick on the three weakest and easiest to disprove studies.

Page 207 of Richard Cohen’s book, emComing Out Straight/em

Page 207 of Richard Cohen’s book, Coming Out Straight.

This is the sort of “science” one would expect from Richard Cohen. He has been banned for life from the American Counseling Association, and his controversial “holding” or “touch” therapy techniques — which are also clearly demonstrated in that same book Langa is so fond of — has made him the laughingstock of the ex-gay movement. Seeing it being used as fodder for Uganda’s latest anti-gay campaign, while Exodus — America’s largest and best known umbrella organization of ex-gay “experts” — remains silent is no laughing matter.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Uganda Situation Continues To Deteriorate; Exodus Washes Their Hands

Jim Burroway

March 30th, 2009

The anonymous blogger GayUganda is reporting that Stephen Langa, the director of Family Life Network who has been leading the latest anti-gay vigilante campaign, is now speaking on Ugandan FM radio stations advocating the arrests of Ugandan LGBT leaders. GayUganda also reports that Langa is calling some of those very leaders requesting meetings. No word on what he intends to say or do at the proposed meeting. LGBT Ugandans, naturally, are very cautious.

Meanwhile, GayUganda has a very prescient suspicion about Exodus:

Did his American friends know that they were stirring up this kind of hatred and hate mongering? They will throw up their hands in helplessness. They never planned this, they will say, with wide eyed innocence.

GayUganda nails it, as this describes Exodus’ behavior perfectly. Publicly, we’ve only seen the lame three sentence statement that was issued on March 13. But privately, we do know that they are playing the innocence card exactly as GayUganda predicts.

Exodus has the capacity to contact Ugandan media to publicly condemn the latest anti-gay campaign. After all, if a professor from a small northeastern Christian college can do it, so can Alan Chambers. And that professor didn’t have the benefit of direct contacts that Don Schmierer has. Yet Exodus continues to wash their hands of any responsibility for their own board member who has provided “expert” cover for Langa’s latest campaign.

GayUganda writes that plans for April including gathering signatures for a petition and, more worrisome, a mass rally in one of the stadiums with a march on Parliament.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Videos Surface of Ugandan Activists Stirring Anti-Gay Fervor; Fears of Violence Grow

Jim Burroway

March 28th, 2009

We’ve gotten word from three separate Ugandan sources that local gays and lesbians in Uganda are worried about imminent violence, with many making plans to go into hiding or leave the country. The word on the street is that police detentions are pending (which one government minister has already promised) and that Stephen Langa’s Family Life Network is preparing another round of public vigilantism. LGBT citizens believe that Wednesday’s press conference, carried live by three television channels, was just the opening salvo. This press conference follows well-recognized patterns from previous anti-gay campaigns, which were cheered on by the media. Gay sources in Uganda report being terrified, with few daring to venture out of their homes.

David Roberts at Ex-Gay Watch has obtained exclusive video of the March 15th meeting conducted by Stephen Langa. That meeting was a follow-up to a March 5-8 conference at Uganda’s posh Triangle Hotel featuring three American anti-gay activists: Exodus Board member Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and Richard Cohen protegé Caleb Lee Brundidge. That conference applauded Uganda’s draconian law which calls for life imprisonment for those convicted of homosexual acts, and called further for those convicted be subject to forced ex-gay therapy. Schmierer’s continuing silence on those proposals have been taken by Ugandan activists as an endorsement of those policies by American ex-gay experts.

In the first of the two videos posted at Ex-Gay Watch, we see Stephen Langa quoting material from Scott Lively’s The Pink Swastika in this perverse version of the history of the gay movement:

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Alright. The history of the modern gay movement. This is from Mr. Lively, he was here last week, and he was one of the people who was having a lot of research on homosexuals. He wrote this book you can see, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality and the Nazi Party. He has a lot of data, lot of data, lot of data on homosexuality and on the homosexual movement.

“Now, in America this gentleman, Henry Garber [sic], was a German-American soldier who served in Germany after the First World War. He was among the occupational forces that was in Germany during and after the First World War. And then he went back to America and began activism, but in a very small way, a very small way. And Henry Garber [sic] molested a boy by the name Champ Simmons. When Champ Simmons grew up, he also molested a boy known as Harry Hay. This Harry Hay is the grandfather of the modern gay movement.

“This man here in the ’40s, they guy who really began what is now today the gay movement that has taken over the whole world. He taught communism for eighteen years, and during that time he learned how society can be taken over. Because communists taught how society can be taken over using economic means. But he understood those tactics and taught the gay activists on how to overthrow the moral fiber of the Western World, which was based on marriage and the family. So he took these guys’ tactics and strategies on how to overthrow a society. And so they began to do their work, they began to do their work. And the gay movement you see today and all these things you see around the world are as a result of what this guy taught these people, and his disciples are now busy and enforces what he has said, including those who are in this country. They all came out of this guy’s movement.”

As we’ve reported throughout this series, these activists have exhibited a particular obsession with the idea that homosexuality can be transmitted like a virus through child molestation. Notice Langa’s macabre assertion that homosexuality passed via molestation from Garber to Simmons to Hays, as though it were a simple yet genealogical line. This idea that was reinforced by Exodus board member Don Schmierer, who provided the germ of that scientifically untenable theory in his talk at the March 5-8 conference in Kampala.

(This “genealogy” is a very good example of the many distortions which thoroughly permeate The Pink Swastika. Jonathan Katz, whose 1976 book Gay American History is purportedly the “source” of Lively’s genealogy, reports Hays’ “recruitment” very differently. Quoting Hays: “I enticed an ‘older’ gentleman (he must have been at least 33) to ‘bring me out’ by finagling his picking me up in Los Angeles’s notorious Pershing Square. Poor guy — he was appalled to discover, subsequently, that I was both a virgin and jailbait!” Hays was seventeen at the time. So much for his innocent “molestation.”)

In the second video, Langa remains focused on the gays-as-predators theme, citing Michael Swift’s satire, “A Gay Revolutionary,” as though it were a factual manifesto. As he dramatically reads aloud portions of that now-famous satire, notice the camera panning across the room to the shocked audience which is taking it all in:

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“…as we see here. This is not a joke, what we’re dealing with here is not a joke. And of course, their cause — they don’t care about you. They want your children! Look at what this homosexual activist said:

“We shall sodomize your sons, emblems of your feeble masculinity, of your shallow dreams and vulgar lies. We shall seduce them in your schools, in your dormitories, in your gymnasiums in your seminaries, in your church groups, in your movie theater bathrooms, in your houses of Congress, wherever men meet with men. Your sons shall become our minions and do our bidding. They shall be recast in our image.”

“Criminals! That’s what the gays want to do, that’s what the gays want to do. They are after your children.”

“It’s not a joke”?

As a matter of fact, this passage is a joke. It’s an intentional, outrageous joke on the part of the writer, and that fact is part of the public record. While anti-gay extremists love reading this aloud to incite hatred towards gays and lesbians — and Langa’s dramatic recitation is par for the course — they invariably omit the preface, which sets the context for the entire piece:

This essay is an outré, madness, a tragic, cruel fantasy, an eruption of inner rage, on how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor.

That’s right. It’s a work of fiction, a satire — and the author said so when it originally appeared in the Gay Community News way back in 1987. In fact, the anonymous writer used the pseudonym “Michael Swift,” which is an obvious homage to the English language’s most famous satirist, Jonathan Swift.

It’s hard to improve on David Robert’s observation:

Depicting this work of satire written in the heat of the AIDS crisis as having serious intent is nothing less than an incitement to violence. Combined with the prestige provided by supposed American “authorities” on homosexuality in the meetings of March 5-8, Langa here brings to the surface the greatest fear, and one that has been used by so many campaigns against marginalized groups throughout history — they are a danger to your children. A lie served up by a “man of God,” backed by “experts” from the West and representatives of their own government. This is all a dangerous recipe for violence against anyone who is, or is perceived to be, gay in Uganda.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Call for Reporting Gays in Zambia

Timothy Kincaid

March 27th, 2009

According to Behind the Mask, the Vice-President of Zambia has called for Zambians to report suspected homosexuals so that they can be prosecuted.

“Zambia is a Christian nation and it shall continue to be so because it is part of our constitution. And acts such as homosexuality are not part of the Christian norm. In 2005, this house passed stiff laws against homosexuality. For people having carnal knowledge of each other against the order of nature the punishment is a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. If you have carnal knowledge of an animal you serve a minimum of 25 years”.

Vice president Kunda said, as a good number of parliamentarians said “yes, yes” “ I know there are some prominent people in our society who are practicing homosexuality, some of them are engineers, some are lawyers and some are journalists.”

At this point there were shouts of “shame” and more laughter among many parliamentarians, including the vice president himself.

“If you have information about such people, report them to the law enforcement agencies. There are also some people who are bisexual and they marry to cover up their activities, but at the end of the day we know them,” said vice president Kunda as the laughter increased in the house.

Ugandan Gov’t Poised to Take “Stern Action” Against Gays

Jim Burroway

March 26th, 2009

This morning’s Uganda Pulse reports this worrying development:

The government has threatened to take stern “action” against promoters of homosexuality and lesbianism in Uganda.

The State Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo said today that the government is working on stern modalities to fight homosexuality especially in schools.

This follows a petition by parents under the Family Life Network NGO claiming that homosexual promoters are very active in Uganda and are luring students into the practice with cash gifts and promises to needy students from unstable or poor families.

The Executive Director of Family Life Network, Stephen Langa told journalists in Kampala that many children had been psychologically tortured and traumatized by experiences of homosexuality which the group described as unnatural and anti Christian.

Dr. Buturo says the government is going to act swiftly to stop what he calls “moral corruption” of vulnerable Ugandans, especially children into homosexuality.

He says the practice of same sex relationships is illegal in Uganda and unacceptable to the people of Uganda. The minister did not however specify which stern action was to be taken, given that the High Court ruled last year that all Ugandans, including homosexuals and lesbians are accorded the same rights and freedoms by Uganda’s constitution.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

More on Uganda Anti-Gay Vigilante Incitement

Timothy Kincaid

March 25th, 2009

This news report came out two days ago – prior to the one we reported today. In it, newly ex-gay George Oundo presented some rather strong claims in Uganda:

A man shocked parents on Sunday when he confessed to recruiting school children into homosexuality as part of a programme to promote the practice in Ugandan schools.

George Oundo said funders gave them “much money” and training abroad and that he would target mostly the needy children who had problems of tuition and pocket money and “others who like outings.”

Oundo describes a rather structured effort

Oundo said he got seriously involved in promoting homosexuality in 2003. “I was taken to Nairobi for training,” he said. “I used to supply pornographic materials in form of books and compact discs showing homosexuality to young boys in many schools,” he explained.

And Oundo identifies the culprits

The training, he said, was facilitated by Gay and Lesbian Coalition. “I also got the pupils’ telephone contacts. We used to meet with both girls and boys in schools during ceremonial parties,” he asserted.

Oundo said homosexuality was spread by international human rights organisations.

In the West most readers would recognize this as rather outlandish and not be quick to believe Oundo’s statements. Uganda, however, is fertile ground for these statements and it is almost certain that this seed will grow vines.

It is difficult to know the motivation for Oundo’s actions and statements. But perhaps it helps to know that Oundo was a gay activist who in September was arrested for “recruiting homosexuals”, beaten, denied food and medication, and held for several days until international pressure from human rights organization led to their release. I think that it is likely not coincidental that Oundo’s statements now vindicate the police claim and vilify the human rights groups.

The Christian community in Uganda has now declared war on the lives of gay men and women in that county. And they have been abetted by American leaders in the anti-gay and ex-gay ministries.

Sadly, these Americans wish to pretend that their actions have no consequences, that they were just presenting “a compassionate, biblical view of homosexuality” to the world and that they bear no responsibility for any blood shed as a direct result of their anti-gay missionary efforts.

And make no mistake, there will be blood shed.

Other pastors yesterday told journalists in Kampala the war against sodomy would be long and challenging but must be fought.

In Uganda, “war” is not engaged by polite discourse and ballot box propositions.

It is not often in life that we experience real evil. But I do not hesitate to state that the participation of Exodus International in this conference and the justification of this anti-gay incitement by its president, Alan Chambers, is truly evil.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Another Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign May Have Begun In Uganda

Three television stations, two newspapers reporting senstional allegations.

Jim Burroway

March 25th, 2009

Two newspaper (so far) and three television stations in Uganda have reported on a sensationalistic press conference organized by Stephen Langa, director of Kampala-based Family Life Networks, which appears to be the start of a fresh public anti-gay vigilante campaign.

The Ugandan media is continuing to take notice of the recent anti-gay conferences and meetings which have been taking place in Kampala the past few weeks. The most recent meeting was held on March 22. These series of meetings were instigated by a three-day conference organized by Langa and featured talks by three American anti-gay activists, including Exodus board member Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and Richard Cohen protegé Caleb Lee Brundidge.

Ugandan news media have been issuing regular reports of that conference and two follow-up meetings which have been held on successive Sundays since then. The latest one from Uganda Pulse reported on a press conference held today:

Parents in Uganda have expressed concern over the increasing levels of homosexuality, defilement and sexual harassments of children. The parents under the Family Life Network (FLN) says that information revealed from several reliable sources indicates that many children in schools are facing horror, frustration, mental and psychological torture for being cajoled into homosexuality.

FLN’s Executive Director, Langa Steven say [sic] that there are agents involved in recruiting children into homosexuality and lesbianism. Langa says that these suspected groups take advantages children by using deception, manipulation and coercion.

Pastor Joseph Male who addressed a press conference in Kampala with Langa also says that findings show that immorality groups are recruiting children into homosexuality. He says these homosexual promoters hide behind human rights organization and claim to be protecting sex minorities Uganda.

Pastor Male claims that these groups spend about 2,000,000 per week to recruit university students into homosexuality and lesbianism.

Another news outlet, New Vision, reported:

EIGHT more men yesterday confessed involvement in homosexuality and gay activities, which they said they had abandoned. Speaking to journalists at the Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, the youthful men described homosexuality as abnormal and anti-Christian, and declared war against it.

The tough-talking men were accompanied by George Oundo, who earlier in the week denounced homosexuality and confessed recruiting school children into the practice.

“We have been involved in recruiting homosexuals, spreading the gospel of homosexuality, and we know the operations of homosexuals,” said 27-year-old Emma Matovu, who took to homosexuality 13 years ago. “We shall do all it takes to eliminate the practice in Uganda.”

Matovu, who said he abandoned the practice two weeks ago, asserted: “Homosexuality is dangerous and dehumanising but is growing fast in Uganda.”

According to the New Vision article, the press conference was organized by — you guessed it — Stephen Langa, the same pastor who hosted the three American anti-gay activists during the first week of March.

Past campaigns of anti-gay vigilantism have called out gays by name and description in the public media. This looks disturbingly like the start of a new campaign:

Oundo said the eight men would fight the vice because they were victims with a tormenting experience. “We shall expose those who refuse to abandon the practice and we shall not be intimidated because we are protected by Jesus,” he asserted. “We know their operations, including a restaurant in the city centre where homosexuals wait for clients from nearby hotels.”

He urged his former partners to abandon the practice, saying Uganda should become a role model in fighting the “barbarism”.

He called on Juliet Mukasa, the head of the Sexual Minorities in Uganda (SMUG), Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo, a gay rights activist and headmaster Kisule (other name withheld) to abandon the practice.

…Addressing the press conference, Family Life Network chief Stephen Langa read a statement from parents and concerned citizens, urging the Government to establish a probe to assess the prevalence of homosexuality in Uganda.

The anonymous blogger GayUganda has posted a series of panicked short posts about the news conference which was shown on three national television stations. These latest developments have him understandably nervous:

Our nice, confortable closet is well and truly blown apart. In a homophobic country, our anonymity is torn up, and we are being accused of the most heinous of crimes. We are recruiting, and teaching children homosexuality.

Damage control now is a necessity. What will follow?

Is funny that the lies and sensationalism has so caught up everyone that it is impossible for us to insist that these are lies. The lesson of history. Tell a lie about a small unpopular group, and you are able to sustain the conversation with bigger and bigger lies. Think the Hutus in Rwanda. Jews in Germany…! Stretching the point? Am I?

A witch hunt. Very possible.

Some interesting outings? Possible.

How long will I be able to continue blogging? How safe is my blogging?

But we have survived adversity before now. We will survive even this. Will kind of mean that some of us will have to stand up and take the heat. Problem may be jobs and other things. Can we beat the taint of evil? Homosexuals recruiting! Oh well.

Tough days ahead.

The papers tomorrow will be interesting. Watch this space.

(Remember some prayers for those who are outed, whether or not they are gay!)

Indeed. Remember some prayers.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

US Tax Dollars Funding African Anti-Gay Extremists

Jim Burroway

March 24th, 2009

Last January, BTB’s Timothy Kincaid highlighted the fact that some of Africa’s most ardent anti-gay extremists have received funding from the U.S. government to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Among those receiving funds from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is Uganda’s Martin Ssempa, who lead a public anti-gay vigilante campaign through the streets of Kampala demanding that the government “arrest all homos.”

Last week, Richard J. Rosendall, writing for the Bay Windows observed where some of the PEPFAR funding goes:

Charles Francis, a disillusioned former Bush appointee to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, seeks a course correction from the new president and Congress. He wrote to me last week about the need to reverse the Bush legacy that includes alliances with violent homophobes like Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa and born-again Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. The latter’s ruling party organized a March 6 demonstration in Bujumbura in which thousands of people demanded the criminalization of homosexuality.

“Today,” Francis writes, “we see this wave growing dangerously across the continent, from Senegal, where AIDS activists are now imprisoned, to Nigeria, where lawmakers want to jail gay people merely for living together, to Uganda, where three Americans recently held a public seminar on the ’Homosexual Agenda.’ It is time to put a ’hold’ on PEPFAR until Congress can demand the transparency and the necessary reform for this program.”

Our tax dollars are lining the pockets of those who don’t just promote prejudice and hatred, but who even would have us dead, exiled, or imprisoned for life. PEPFAR needs to be scrapped or exhaustively overhauled to include accountability and transparency, and which demands accountability and transparency on the part of its recipients. Ssempa must not receive one more cent of my tax money. Or yours.

[Hat tip: Michael Airhart]

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