Proposed genocidal law targeting GLB persons in Uganda
Responses to the proposed legislation:
2010-MAY to 2011-APR
"GLB" is an acronym referring to gays, lesbians,
and bisexuals. More commonly, the letter "T" is added to
refer to transgender persons and transsexuals. Sometimes "I" is added to refer
to intersexual persons.
2010-OCT-28: Uganda magazine outs allegedly gay persons:
A new Ugandan newspaper "Rolling Stone" ran a cover story titled "100 pictures of Uganda's top homos leak. Hang them." This paper has no connection to the U.S. Rolling Stone entertainment magazine that stated:
"Not only are we not affiliated in any way with the Ugandan paper, we have demanded they cease using our name as a title. But there is a larger issue at stake: Homosexuality is still a crime in much of Africa, often punishable by life in prison. 'Half the world’s countries that criminalize homosexual conduct do so because they cling to Victorian morality and colonial laws,' says Scott Long of Human Rights Watch. 'Getting rid of these unjust remnants of the British empire is long overdue'." 1
The Ugandan "Rolling Stone" magazine claims to have the names, addresses, and photographs of 100 lesbians and gays in the country. They published photos of 11 in their first issue and promised to show 10 to 15 Ugandan gays and lesbians in each future issue until it has outed all 100. Four of the 11 were physically attacked within days.
Reuters' article states that newspaper publisher Giles Muhame denied:
"... claims the newspaper is funded by American fundamentalist Christian groups, often accused of stoking homophobia in Africa."
" 'We called the paper Rolling Stone because it is a stone that is rolling and bringing out the evil in society. If people are promoting homosexuality then the stone is going to knock on their door and smoke them out,' Muhame says, laughing."
"He says it was not his intention that members of the public would attack the people featured in the newspaper, despite publishing their addresses."
" 'We published the areas where they live so that counselors could find them and help them,' he says. '"We want a death penalty introduced for homosexuals who are trying to brainwash children but we don't want the public to attack them'."
Frank Mugisha, director the LGBT-positive group Sexual Minorities Uganda, was one of the 11 persons mentioned in the newspaper. He is skeptical of Muhame's motivation. He said:
"If he wanted to make a point with the government, he would have gone to the government. By publishing in the media, he has gone to the Ugandan community and put sexual minorities at risk of attack. "If he continues to publish these articles, we will report him to the law because he is inciting violence against a minority and that is criminal. Almost everyone who was in the article has been attacked or harassed." 2
2010-OCT: Status of the "kill the gays" bill:
The bill has been shelved for now. However, human rights groups believe it may be reintroduced after the 2011-FEB elections.
Ethics Minister Nsaba Buturo said that the bill:
"... has to be debated under our law. I am confident it will be passed but with amendments, for example on the issue of death penalty. I don't believe that is the way to go." 2
He said that jail sentences may be included in the revised bill, but that counseling would also be available should gay people want to repent. It appears that the government has accepted the belief -- promoted by fundamentalist Christians who toured Uganda last year -- that homosexuality is easily "cured" through therapy. The bill's original sponsor, David Bahati, is confident that the death penalty will be retained in the final law. 2
2010-NOV-01: Court orders newspaper to cease publishing lists of lesbians and gays:
Acting on a petition from the LGBT-positive group Sexual Minorities Uganda, high court judge Vincent Musoke-Kibuuka said that the Rolling Stone's anti-gay campaign was an "invasion of the right to privacy." [This paper has no connection to the U.S. Rolling Stone entertainment magazine or the British rock group with the same name.] He issued a temporary injunction instructing the newspaper to stop future outings. Sexual Minorities Uganda plans to sue the paper for damages if the judge rules against the paper at a NOV-23 hearing.
The managing editor of Rolling Stone, Giles Muhame, said that they might challenge the injunction. He said: "We have already achieved our objective: to show the world that homosexuality is spreading like wildfire in Uganda." 3
2011-JAN-26: David Kato of Sexual Minorities Uganda murdered:
Kato and other gay civil rights leaders received many death threats following the newspaper article described above. One may have come true, because he was attacked and hit multiple times on his head with a hammer. He died on the way to hospital.
Frank Mugisha, the chairman ofKato's group, Sexual Minorities Uganda, asked religious leaders, political leaders, and media outlets to cease demonizing sexual minorities in Uganda. He said: "Across the entire country, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Ugandans mourn the loss of David, a dear friend, colleague, teacher, family member and human rights defender."
Val Kalende, a local gay civil rights activist said: "David's death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S evangelicals in 2009. The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S evangelicals must take responsibility for David's blood."
Local police claim that the murder was motivated by robbery and unrelated to Kato's sexual orientation. 4
2011-FEB-04: President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton criticizes proposed anti-gay bill:
At the annual National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama and Secretary Clinton both denounced the proposed anti-gay law in Uganda. This is in spite of the fact that the organizers of the Breakfast have been closely associated with the Ugandan leaders who are promoting the bill.
According to the Associated Baptist Press:
"In a speech largely about maintaining civility among political and religious diversity, Obama said, 'We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are -- whether it's here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda'."
"Obama referred to Clinton’s remarks earlier at the event, when she said the United States was 'standing up for gays and lesbians who deserve to be treated as full human beings' around the world. She added that she had called the president of Uganda to express 'our strongest concerns about a law being considered in the Parliament of Uganda'." 5
Following the Breakfast, Cliff Kincaid, editor of the fundamentalist group Accuracy in Media issued a press release, saying:
"Uganda's people and government deserve support, not criticism, from the United States. They are up against the international homosexual lobby. ... They are trying to create a Christian culture that is protective of families and children." 5
2011-MAR-25: Ugandan government reverses course on anti-gay genocide bill:
The Rainbow Collective, a gay-positive U.S. group stated on their blog:
"[Ugandan] Information minister Kabakumba Masiko told a news conference here in Kampala that the Cabinet sub committee that has been discussing the bill had decided to put it on hold as most of the provisions in the bill are already catered for in the penal code."
"However, David Bahati, Ndorwa West MP, is still concerned about the lack of provisions that are in place for homosexuality and seems to set on finding a way for his efforts to move forward. With the death of David Kato, only time will tell if this new effort is truly a step forward." 6
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "African 'Rolling Stone' Impostor Spreads Hate Agenda. Paper calling itself 'Rolling Stone' publishes vile and hateful anti-gay screed," Rolling Stone (US), 2010-OCT-21, at: http://www.rollingstone.com/
- Barry Malone, "Hang 'homos' editor vows to keep outing Ugandans," Reuters, 2010-OCT-29, at: http://www.reuters.com/
- Xan Rice, "Ugandan paper ordered to stop printing list of gay people," Guardian (UK), 2010-NOV-01, at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/
- "David Kato, Uganda Gay Activist, Brutally Slain ," Huffington Post, 2011-JAN-28, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- Robert Marus, "Obama, Clinton at prayer breakfast denounce Ugandan anti-gay proposal," Associated Baptist Press, 2011-FEB-04, at: http://www.abpnews.com/
- "Uganda backtracks on gay bill: Discussion ends," The rainbow collective, 2011-MAR-25, at: http://www.therainbowcollective.com
Copyright © 2010 & 2011 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-OCT
Latest update and review: 2011-MAY-13
Compiler: B.A. Robinson