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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in UGANDA...
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Amos (user currently living in UGANDA) posted for gay lesbian bisexual readers on 01/01/2013 tagged with hate crime and violence prevention, sexual orientation
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Kaweesi Joseph was arrested by Kawempe police officers for mere posting on face book and now he's being charged for homosexuality
Gaysandlesbiansrightsuganda
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http://klug.cfsites.org/custom.php?pageid=38064

Speaker Kadaga promises to revive shelved gay Bill

The Speaker’s promise follows her experience in Canada, where foreign officials asked her to block the bill.


Entebbe

Days after her defence against a Canadian minister’s attacks on Uganda over homosexuality, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has promised to expedite the debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Ms Kadaga made the assurance while addressing religious leaders and journalists at Entebbe International Airport on Monday. “They said I should stop the debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but I assured them there is no way I can block a private members Bill,” she said.

At the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Quebec, Canada, Ms Kadaga was involved in an altercation with that country’s Foreign Affairs minister, Mr John Baird, after the latter accused Uganda of trampling on human rights.

The accusation saw Ms Kadaga tell the minister to stick to the day’s theme and respect Uganda’s sovereignty. “I will not accept to be intimidated or directed by any government in the world on matters of homosexuality,” she said, adding that she was not aware she was speaking for many people in the world, some of whom were in the conference.

“I was surprised when colleagues came and thanked me saying that’s what they have always wanted to say but they had never gotten the courage to. That when it came to me that I had spoken for the whole of Africa, for the Arab world and Asians,” she said.

The welcome ceremony and press briefing was organised by religious leaders, former Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo and the mover of the Bill, Mr David Bahati, all of whom are pushing for the enactment of the anti-homosexuality Bill.

A large procession comprising members of different Pentecostal churches, Makerere University students and boda boda cyclists camped at the airport from 10am to after midnight when Ms Kadaga emerged to greet them as they ululated and waved placards appreciating her boldness in Canada.

“You are our saviour, we want the bill now,” one of the placards read.
Pastor Michael Were, who spoke on behalf of the religious leaders, called on other national leaders to follow Ms Kadaga’s footsteps for the sake of the country’s culture and traditions.

Asked whether she was not mindful of Uganda being denied aid and her being denied entry visas to pro-gay countries, Ms Kadaga said such countries were welcome to keep their aid and visas.
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Cleo Xulaye (user currently living in UGANDA) posted for transgender intersex readers on 29/07/2012 tagged with health, gender identity, sexual orientation
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This Sunday, a burning concern from urs trully: It’s so depressing having to live behind the smoke screen of another person, seein’ him take over your physical features bit by bit till you are completely lost and cannot see yourself any more. Growing up, I had many a suicidal thoughts, as every moment that passed I came to see, more and more these hard masculine features of this pubescent boy…while the tender supple skin, curvaceous body and beautiful face of the gurl in me, receded behind the curtains only to arise and shine over tones of make-up..I curse the day I told ma mom about ma boobs, stupidly thinking it was cancer, and I was gonna die..i wish I knew then, like I know now that the hormones they were giving me were actually testosterone and they would destroy Cleo….the gurl in me…Am sorry Cleo..sorry for the ignorance in me, sorry that I did not know a better way, sorry that I did not try had enough to save you…It’s a miracle that you have survived this all, scars and wounds notwithstanding, it’s a miracle that you still smile and giggle when you come…But even then, I cannot say that for all my trans brothers and sisters still locked up in bodies of other people….they walk around taunted by the thought of what could have been if only they could let that gurl or boy out…Working with the Trans Supporrt Initiative Uganda I’ve seen many trans people, lost, depressed, praying that, that beard won’t come, that those boobs would just disappear…..it’s a painful reality. That some of us will actually make it, we are surely uncertain of….But having lived through this nightmare and survived it with the few feminine features lurking, am worried, that even those will disappear. Ma heart goes out to all ma trans bro’s and sisters who
are struggling to unmask that gurl or boy in them, ma heart bleeds even more for ma teenage trans brother and sisters who right now are probably having suicidal thoughts, and hating themselves, and ignorant of the other way...a better way…a solution that even if they knew of they may be wouldn’t afford. Heed the words of my cry if you may…Our brother and sisters in Uganda need hormonal replacement therapy, so that they can live better lives... lives with confidence, self esteem, and vitality to face the ever growing transphobia around them…Heed this cry if you may….understand us…save us..we need you..for now we are here, we do not know for how long? But as long if you hear my cry from this deep abyss...answer this our prayer...
follow me on ma facebook cleo xulaye if you are interested in helping out
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Roy (user currently living in SOUTH AFRICA) posted for transgender readers on 30/05/2012 tagged with at the work place, sexual orientation +10
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By David von Burgsdorff | February 23, 2012
I didn’t know I was gay when I was younger; I just knew that I wasn’t attracted to girls. In Kampala, nobody mentioned homosexuality; growing up, I never met anyone who was openly gay. You only heard about it on the radio, distantly, in passing.

“Why can’t they leave this country?” callers asked when the topic was raised. “Find an island for them!”

At 19, I went to university and met a man — the first person I wanted to be with. He told me that we could be partners, but only in secret because homosexuality is illegal in Uganda.

After I finished my advanced degree in accounting, I moved to the city with gay friends I’d met at school. We all loved fashion and talked about cute guys. But we were only fully honest with each other. Of course, we couldn’t completely hide who we were; people suspected us of being gay. The way they looked at us – we knew they’d beat us if they found us in a dark corner. In some areas, strangers threw stones or boiling water. They shouted, “We hate you, and next time we’ll hurt you!” Certain shopkeepers wouldn’t serve us.

Still, we were young and starting out our lives. Our community was small and secret, but close-knit. I got a good job as a waiter at a Muslim luxury hotel. Everyone knew I was an excellent server, but eventually, rumors about my sexuality began to circulate.

“Are you a gay?” a co-worker asked.

“Anyone could be gay for all we know,” I said. “Even you.”

Soon enough, they fired me. It hurt me terribly to be dismissed from work I’d done so well, but I didn’t know that worse days were ahead.

I got a new job at another restaurant. With my pay, I went shopping and met a sweet, handsome salesman. He told me that we could start dating – but first, he began to ask me for money. I always gave him something, and he always disappeared. We never slept together.

One Monday, my day off, he called me.

“Are you at home?” he asked. “Can I come by?”

I had a weird feeling on that call. My heart weakened. I didn’t want to see him. But I ignored it and told him to stop in.

He arrived and before I could offer him a drink, he stripped off his pants and shirt. My shirt was already off because it had been scorching hot. I heard banging at the door. I thought it was the houseboy who did some errands for me, so I opened it. And my breath left me.

Six men stood there: one with a gun, one with a video camera, and one with a machete. I turned to the guy I’d been seeing. He had set me up.

Before I knew what was happening, I began to fight them, but it was seven against one. They pushed in, and the man with the machete slashed me, cutting me from shoulder to armpit on each arm. I began to bleed, so much blood.


Roy shows one of his scars

“I’ll cut off your arms,” he said.

I knew of this gang: They had killed one gay man before and brutally beaten another. They had robbed them and blackmailed one with a video.

“I’ll give you all my money,” I said. “Let me live.”

They wrapped my wounds in rags, and took me to the ATM. I drained my account for them. They left me bleeding on the street in the sun.

My friends found me and took me to a hospital. My kind boss gave me a month off, since I couldn’t lift my arms to carry a tray.

The physical pain was terrible, but the fear was worse. I believed the men would come back, push into my house, and kill me. I began working the dinner shift again. Scared of the night, I hired a special taxi to take me home. I could not sleep. I was isolated. Uganda was no place for me.

I found a tourism conference in Port Elizabeth online. I registered and paid the conference fee with money I made from selling all my belongings. With the conference invitation, I applied for a tourist visa. I never planned to attend the conference; I just needed to get to South Africa.

With my visa in hand, I bought a one-way bus ticket and left Uganda. I knew it would be forever. We passed overland for a week. I was tired, lonely. I watched Zimbabwe and Zambia go by, my mind on the past.

I entered South Africa on New Year’s Eve 2009. On January 1, 2010, I traveled from Johannesburg to Cape Town. I saw this beautiful city from the distance and I thought, “This is where I’m supposed to be.”

I’ve been here for over two years now, living with gay refugee friends. It hasn’t been easy. I work three days a week at a small shop but I’ve had trouble getting a job because I only have temporary asylum, which I renew every six months. I need to get permanent papers to get proper work so I’ve come to PASSOP for help.

I dream of my perfect life here in South Africa. I want to get a job in accounting or marketing because I’m a trained professional and I have degrees. I feel so useless now; I want to have a purpose and contribute to something. I’d like to be a citizen. I’d like to have a partner one day. And if I could get enough money, I would buy a lovely house on the beach.

But even now, with all the struggles, this is the only place for me. When I got those injuries, I thought my life might be over. But I have a new life here now, and some rights, and I am fear-free. That’s why I must stay in South Africa; I simply have no other option.

If you want to help Roy, please contact us at office@passop.co.za or (0027) 021 762 0322 .

(R
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The rest of the world should help look into the situation in Uganda and the current bill against gays that is being tabled in parliament.Problem also is that many of the gay people are just talkers.They talk the talk but cannot walk the walk.People are so scared about losing their lives and being discriminated that they are forced to live double lives.So many are depressed and have nowhere to turn to and with time,i will not be surprised if there is a high rate of suicides occuring in my country Uganda.Anyway,i hope the situation gets better soon which i really do not think will happen but hey,what can one do other than stay positive even in a negative situation?
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Concerned friend (user currently living in UGANDA) posted for gay readers in response to this story on 08/02/2012 tagged with hate crime and violence prevention, gender identity, human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation, religion
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Mr. Ssemakula please contact: sogiah.uganda@gmail.com.
There are however, certain issues you may know about being "gay" in Uganda. Many have thought it is a ticket to getting hand outs and this assumption has led to much disappointments. Please get your act together: engage in genuine work to earn money, engage in genuine obedience to your leaders/benefactors/parents. Live your life as a responsible person. No one out here has a pot of money to help you as long as you see yourself as a destitute. You are a dignified person. Make friends by showing the positive side of you.Do not beg using the internet!!!
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VULNERABILITY SPECTRUM

BACKGROUND: A systematic review of responses from 30,000 spaces was carried out in 10 regions of Uganda.
OBJECTIVE: A systematic review of responses from 30,000 spaces where inquiry into who MARPs are, what MARPs need, who provides services, what is demanded, what are the behavioural characteristics unique to MARPs and other contexts influencing issues of MARPs that was conducted between July 2010-August 2011.
DESIGN: Conduct Review of literature, Interviews, structured conversation and focus group discussions. Respondents were drawn from; 150 farmer groups, 220 hair salons, 27 landing sites, 27 police posts, 110 cattle/village markets/social spaces, 225 major RH/FP/MH/CS/Health Services organisations, with leaders and members of 100 FBOs/2200 CBOs/CSOs/Community Groups, 2,550 lower level governments and communities, with members of 3,000 men/Women groups/settings, in 19,174 trading and urban spaces (Artisanry marts, car dealerships, repair garages, washing bays, food vending kiosks, video kiosks, shopping malls, recreational spaces) along 6 major trunk roads and 25 other roads leading to rural districts, 250 educational institutes (higher institutions of learning, colleges, senior/primary schools), 100 minorities’ spaces, 72 fresh foods markets, 200 hotels/lodges, 25 housing estate areas ( e.g. Jinja industrial area, Kampala, Gulu, Mbarara, Kasese, Tororo, Mbale), 170 ludo/snooker points, 1,700 storage and parking bays/car-park/boda/lorry/bus-parks in urban settings.
SETTING: Uganda was divided into operational regions: Central, Northern, Eastern, North Eastern, Mid-Western and south-Western where 30,000 were identified and these included: Lower level governments, urban centers, municipalities, towns, market areas, boarder points, social-meeting places, recreational spaces, food vending areas, film kiosks, shopping malls, parks, washing bays, road stop spots, educational institutions and CSOs. 5 lakes were visited to generate understanding of fisher folk communities.
RESPONDENTS: We used groups and individual key informants that way 30,000 Key informants were mobilised to include; leaders, community members, PLHIV, MSM, Substance users, sex-workers, fisher folk, key persons at road stop spot, bar-owners, informal sector, car-parks, bus-parks, work-place-exit points, school leaders, out-door games’ organizers, and uniformed services.
INTERVENTIONS: The police and criminal justice system are points for violence redress. Other forms of Violence/stigma counselling centers exist in major towns/municipals; public and private health facilities provide treatment and management of HIV/STIs; CSOs and government social services’ departments have planned programmes targeting MARPs.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENT: MARPs character and vulnerability spectrum in Uganda.
RESULTS: At community of residence level right through the Criminal justice system, substance users, MSM, Sex-workers and PLHIV still face stigma and violence. Sex-work (female, male and child sex-work) is rampant along all major road trunks and in major destination towns towards Uganda’s boarders. Education and housing areas have high prevalence of male/female sex-work, same sex practices and substance use. Violence/stigma counselling centers exist in major towns/municipals; public and private health facilities provide treatment and management of HIV/STIs; CSOs and government social services’ departments have planned programmes targeting MARPs. Key affected populations such as MSM and substance users being criminalized still lack focused programmes targeting them. Communities still do discriminate and stigmatize Key affected populations such as PLHIV, MSM and substance users. There is a tendency to box MARPs issues into HIV Programmes and this has influenced the approach to most programming. Messaging to eradicate risks to HIV should factor in fact that substance use, unprotected anal sex, female sex-work, male sex-work, child sex-work are interconnections in sexual networks
VULNERABILITY:
CENTRAL REGION: These included; Buganda, Busoga sub-region, Bugwere and Bugisu. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, fisher folk, MSM, LGBTIQQ, male/female sex-work, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active, long distance drivers, and uniformed services. Vulnerability was around; quick mobility, fear of consequences of visibility, stigma, sexual practices, gendered sexual beliefs and the gap between haves and have nots.
NORTH-EASTERN REGION: These included; Karamoja sub-region. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active. Vulnerability was around; quick mobility, displacements arising from searching for pasture and child neglect
MID-WESTERN REGION: These included; Kasese, Hoima, Buliisa and Fort Portal. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, fisher folk, MSM, Indigenous Tribes, male/female sex-work around mining and cement industry, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active, long distance drivers, and uniformed services. Vulnerability was around; perceptions of men about mid-Western Uganda females, quick mobility, fear of consequences of visibility, stigma, gap between haves and have nots.
SOUTH-WESTERN REGION: These included; Kabale and Ankole Sub-region. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, fisher folk, MSM, LGBTIQQ, male/female sex-work, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active, long distance drivers, and uniformed services. Vulnerability was around; quick mobility, fear of consequences of visibility, stigma, cultural perceptions around sexuality and sexual intercourse acts.
WEST-NILE REGION: These included; Arua and Madi Sub-region. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, fisher folk, male/female sex-work, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active, long distance drivers, and uniformed services. Vulnerability was around; quick mobility, fear of consequences of visibility, stigma, cultural perceptions around sexuality and sexual intercourse acts, and inter-cultural social experiences.
NORTHERN SUB REGION: These included; Acholi and Lango Sub-region. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, fisher folk, MSM, male/female sex-work, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active, long distance drivers, and uniformed services. Vulnerability was around; quick mobility, fear of consequences of visibility, stigma, cultural perceptions around sexuality and sexual intercourse acts.
IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS:
“As a town dweller, I do know of substance use, anal sex, female sex-work, male sex-work and child sex-work in this town and many others. The clients include professional persons, odd-jobs workers, artisans, students and non-school young people”. Ashraf (Wandegeya), Florence (Nansana), Grace (Kawempe), Jerome (Migyeera), Cosma (Nimule) and Rashid (Mbale).
“Am a male sex-worker since 2007, my kind of clients have my phone contacts and book in different hotels in different towns of Uganda. They send me a text message and we meet for sex. Most times they also ask me to bring other friends when they are many. Some of our clients do use substances, especially they smoke marijuana”. Crystal (Kampala).
“We want to be trained in skills to start up alternative businesses besides depending on Fishing”. Bukenya (Kyamuswa, Mazinga, Kalangala Islands of Lake Victoria), Arthur (Lake Albert), Ogwer (Lake Kioga).
“Yes, there are programmes on HIV and Human Rights as part of the prison services, hopefully this will be a big step in improving prevention practices”. (Key informant).
“Am interested in two things now that we have met. How your organisation can help us “handle” MARPs since we are increasingly working in that area” . (Key informant from a leading health organisation).
“ What is that nonsense? Every one is a MARP!” ( Key informant and district official).
“ The issues such as stigma, dialogue around discrimination and their relation to HIV are points to start with in starting and driving conversation around MARPs issues”. (Key informant and Community Development Officer).
“Am a trans-woman and I feel so insecure. I have to keep in-doors and only get out at night or make sure I put on long coats and a cap if am to conduct outreach services for other trans-women in Uganda”. (Leader of Trans-Women Bureau Uganda).
“ I am a transgendered male to female person and my parents are aware of my sexuality and gender identity. I wonder why we do not have seminars targeting parents and families. Our families are the first points of insecurity for many of the gay people.” (Leader of Young MSM Club in Uganda).
“ We are ready to conduct community campaigns against “mob-justice” as this is one very unjust way communities deal with what they disagree with. Communities should learn to use the justice system and believe in it. Other reported complaints are evictions, black-mail, extortion and deliberate hostility actions”. (Key informant from law and order section).
LIMITATION: This exercise was conducted to generate vulnerability before testing and it explored issues around visibility of various MARPs.
CONCLUSION: Contexts ranging from Policy, programmes, public and private settings form and influence actions targeting MARPs issues. HIV risk is one major issue most organisations target. However, before testing or accessing an HCT service MARPs need to be looked at as vulnerable and that vulnerability is disproportionate. Criminalization, Stigma and violence form a barrier that silences MSM, Sex-workers and substance users and it may cause them to go underground. This may not be the case for fisher folk, Long distance truckers or uniformed services. MARPs issues include demand for skills training to access anti-poverty programmes such as social grants. Public and private settings have all the basics in place to provide redress to all issues of MARPs. However, they are also points of violence to some MARPs.
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T M (user currently living in UGANDA) posted for straight readers on 26/09/2011 tagged with at the work place, hate crime and violence prevention, health, hiv/aids , gender identity, human rights, sexual orientation, armed forces
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When we invite communities to access and attend our outreach health fares we do not exclude other categories of people. We also use peer mobilisers to reach out to LGBTIQQ people. We follow up LGBTIQQ people by e-mail, phone or coupons. It is possible to meet all categories of minorities in Uganda. The trick is to understand the difference between a Public-Health-Human Rights activist/advocate and a reactionary advocate/activist. One has to create networks in the homes, villages, be ready to be seen with leaders, avoid being a show-off, come down to grass-roots and have skills in negotiating diplomatically. The other,tends to use emotions/sympathy.
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steven kasiko (user currently living in NEW ZEALAND) posted for gay lesbian bisexual readers on 24/06/2011 tagged with hate crime and violence prevention, human rights, sexual orientation
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Gays and lesbians are suffering hate crimes on a daily basis some families have thrown people out, we have lesbians and gay men sleeping on the streets of Kampala because they have nowhere to stay. some relatives have organised for lesbians to be raped. Iike Mukasa has gone through this its only those who are brave ,bold that come out to speak i think now gays and lesbians in Uganda have reached one million its high time we all come out and begin a rigorous campaign demanding for recognition and equal rights.Let us have our right to privacy, right to education life and health .Please just live us to live in peace we know that some people find homosexuality reprehensible but just live us in peace. Some lesbians have been stripped naked in church in the name of healing them from lesbianism being abused by people who claim they re men of God reported to the police but nothing is done Its high time we begin to decamp gain African governments that have failed to recognise the rights of homosexuals like president Museveni 'S government which has been responsible carrying out arbitrary arrest torture imprisonment of gays since September 1999 that has resulted into anumber of homosexuals losing their life's on the basis of orders from the above this has been done by the the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) and its military intelligence branch, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI),Internal Security Organization (ISO),cmi, ISO, and other security agencies,Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU), a special unit comprised of CMI, ISO, and other security agen­cies, replacing Operation Wembley, tasked with stopping crimethe police and its Criminal Investigation Department [CID] and RRU
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Enter your full name here (user currently living in NETHERLANDS) posted for gay readers on 13/06/2011 tagged with hate crime and violence prevention, human rights, sexual orientation, illegality of female to female relationships, illegality of male to male relationships
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We demand Equal rights for everyone, whomever they love!

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that " All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights�.

We, the undersigned, call on the UN to eliminate the threats, harassment and attacks on any individual due to their actual, or perceived, sexual orientation.

Gay rights are Human rights and we urge you to you reaffirm an individual's right to enjoy safety and security regardless of their sexual orientation.


http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-lgbt-oppression-in-africa.html

Regards
African Gay Youth Foundation
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Kato Killing Must Serve as Catalyst for Change
US president has mourned murder of Ugandan Gay activist – Ugandan leaders should do the same.
By Veronica Oakeshott - International Justice - ICC
ACR Issue 287,
2 Feb 11

Veronica Oakeshott

Veronica Oakeshott
IWPR Consultant

I met David Kato on his last trip to the United Kingdom, just a few months before his brutal murder last week. He was in London to attend an international conference on HIV and AIDS.

It is hard to imagine someone so physically small taking on the Ugandan establishment, but that is exactly what this softly spoken gay rights activist did, every day of his life.

While Ugandan politicians debated new anti-gay legislation, religious leaders preached the evils of homosexuality and newspapers printed vitriol and incited violence, Kato talked passionately about his right to live safely and openly as a gay man.

He did not dwell on the time he spent in hiding or in jail for his activism, but simply pointed to the impossibility of doing HIV prevention work amongst the gay community in such circumstances.

A few days ago, battered to death in his home, this tiny man paid the ultimate price for his huge courage.

His murder was the culmination of 16 months of terror for the Ugandan gay community.

In October 2009, David Bahati, a Ugandan member of parliament, introduced an anti-homosexuality bill into parliament. The bill proposed the death penalty for homosexuals who pass on the AIDS virus; life imprisonment for “intent to commit homosexuality”; and a public requirement to report gays to the authorities.

There was condemnation from around the world - but in Uganda the bill was widely welcomed. It is currently making its way through parliament.

Kato and his colleague Frank Mugisha, chair of the human rights organisation Sexual Minorities Uganda, were two men who dared speak out. Finding little sympathy at home, they travelled abroad to highlight their struggle and call for help.

In early 2010, as policy adviser to the UK’s all-party group on HIV and AIDS, I organised Mugisha’s visit to the Westminster parliament to meet the then foreign office minister and openly gay legislator, Chris Bryant. It was, for Mugisha, a vision of what politics could be like.

“At this moment [in Uganda] it would be political suicide for a [member of parliament] to come out and support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” he marvelled.

Six months later, back in Uganda, the national newspaper, Rolling Stone (unrelated to the US magazine of the same name), splashed a story across its front page, outing Uganda’s “top one hundred homos”. The piece gave names and addresses of gay men - amongst them Mugisha and Kato, whose faces were pictured in the paper. On the front page a banner read, “Hang them!”

The lives of both men were in danger but instead of hiding, they fought back. Kato successfully took the newspaper to court winning the paltry sum of 1.5 million Ugandan shillings (650 US dollars) for invasion of privacy and a permanent injunction preventing Rolling Stone from running a similar story again.

The court case was still running when I saw Kato last November at the London AIDS conference. Even then, after months of hell, he was in fighting form, reminding delegates that gay rights were not just about privacy but the right to be open about who you are, without fear.

He was politely heard out, even praised for his bravery by some delegates, but a few others - also supposedly AIDS experts - tried to cut discussion of gay rights short with remarks like, “It is nothing to do with us”, or “These are private matters”.

But Kato’s murder shows how wrong they were. Someone wielding a hammer killed Kato, but it was public opinion, stoked up by the press, and certain preachers and politicians, that turned him into a figure of hate.

In the end, it must be Ugandans themselves who decide they have gone too far. But despite the murder, there are no signs of a change of heart. Even the pastor at Kato’s funeral last Friday, according to Reuters, saw fit to denounce homosexuality, saying, “People are turning away from the scriptures. They should turn back; they should abandon what they are doing.”

Meanwhile, the managing editor of Rolling Stone said in a statement that he condemned the murder of Kato and felt sorry for his family, but told the London-based Guardian that he had “no regrets” about publishing Rolling Stone’s front page story.

The president of the United States has found time to make a statement mourning Kato’s death. It is time for Ugandan leaders to do the same.

If Kato’s death can be a catalyst for change, he will not have died in vain.

Veronica Oakeshott is an IWPR consultant, currently coordinating an election-reporting project in Nigeria.

The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of IWPR.
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http://www.change.org/petitions/to-the-ugandan-government---homophobia-anywhere-is-a-threat-to-freedom-everywhere

As the advocacy officer for a rights group called Sexual Minorities Uganda, David Kato was one of Uganda's most high profile gay rights activists. Just weeks after winning a court victory over a tabloid that called for homosexuals to be killed he has been bludgeoned to death in his home.

David was one of a team of activists who took action against Uganda's Rolling Stone tabloid newspaper which had been running a campaign both naming and showing people it claimed were homosexual. The pictures featured on the front page, with an accompanying headline - "hang them". David was one of those pictured.

In response to the murder of David Kato, the managing editor of the weekly Rolling Stone, said in a statement that he had "no regrets about the story. We were just exposing people who were doing wrong."

Homophobia has increased in Uganda recently because of church action but also because of political action. An anti-homosexual bill currently before parliament calls for gays and lesbians to be jailed for life. This bill was sponsored by Ndorwa West, MP David Bahati, a legislator from President Museveni's ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

It is time for the Ugandan government to act. It is time for the government to publicly condemn the murder of David Kato, condemn homophobic publications such as the Rolling Stone, and to publicly condemn homophobia in Uganda. It is time for the Ugandan government to start educating Ugandans to stop homophobia. Please sign this petition to the Ugandan Government and to President Yoweri Museveni to end homophobia in Uganda.

""Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood" - Coretta Scott King

Homophobia anywhere, is a threat to freedom everywhere.
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