Latest from Uganda, Plus More Strong Words from Hillary Clinton

Here are a bunch of updates on the situation in Uganda.

 road First of all, the other day I posted about Hillary Clinton's speech to Georgetown University in which she spoke out against the proposed "kill the gays" bill in Uganda. What I hadn't read until recently was a question that followed Clinton's speech specifically about LGBT rights abroad and Uganda.

Via LGBT POV:Clintongeorgetown

QUESTION: Hello, Secretary Clinton. Thank you so much for speaking to
us today. You spoke about the situation in Uganda. Could you please
talk to us a little bit more about how the United States can protect
the rights of LGBT people in areas where those rights are not respected?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. And first let me say that over this past
year, we have elevated into our human rights dialogues and our public
statements a very clear message about protecting the rights of the LGBT
community worldwide. And we are particularly concerned about some of
the specific cases that have come to our attention around the world.
There have been organized efforts to kill and maim gays and lesbians in
some countries that we have spoken out about, and also conveyed our
very strong concerns about to their governments – not that they were
governmentally implemented or even that the government was aware of
them, but that the governments need to pay much greater attention to
the kinds of abuses that we’ve seen in Iraq, for example.

We are deeply concerned about some of the stories coming out of
Iran. In large measure, in reaction, we think, to the response to the
elections back in June, there have been abuses committed within the
detention facilities and elsewhere that we are deeply concerned about.
And then the example that I used of a piece of legislation in Uganda
which would not only criminalize homosexuality but attach the death
penalty to it. We have expressed our concerns directly, indirectly, and
we will continue to do so. The bill has not gone through the Ugandan
legislature, but it has a lot of public support by various groups,
including religious leaders in Uganda. And we view it as a very serious
potential violation of human rights.

So it is clear that across the world this is a new frontier in the
minds of many people about how we protect the LGBT community, but it is
at the top of our list because we see many instances where there is a
very serious assault on the physical safety and an increasing effort to
marginalize people. And we think it’s important for the United States
to stand against that and to enlist others to join us in doing so.

More on how she held the U.S. accountable, from Karen Ocamb.

Ugnda  roadGay City News has two interesting pieces on folks behind Uganda's anti-gay campaign. The first is on Ugandan pastor Gary Skinner, who oversees a multi-million dollar operation at Watoto Church there:

"While not alone, Watoto is at the forefront of the anti-gay movement in Uganda. Stephen
Langa, an elder at Watoto and the head of the Family Life Network,
produced a March conference on homosexuality in Uganda and at least two
of the sessions were held at the church. He then pressed the government 'to enact stringent laws against the practice,' an article in New
Vision, a Ugandan newspaper, paraphrased him saying."

 roadThe second, related article, looks at right-wing charities who have been silent on Uganda, and their potential involvement.

 roadNPR's Morning Edition produced a big piece on activities in Uganda.

Thefamily  roadAnd Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin reports on a talk NPR's Fresh Air had with Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family. Sharlet says that "The Family opposes the bill and key members are working behind the scenes to stop it from becoming law."

Says Sharlet: "I’d add that through the Fellowship, a number of anti-gay American
politicians have involved themselves with Ugandan affairs, most notably
Senator James Inhofe, who has spoken of having “adopted” Uganda and who
has been a guest at multiple Ugandan National Prayer Breakfasts. I
don’t believe James Inhofe told David Bahati to push this legislation.
I believe Inhofe when he says – under pressure – that he’s opposed to
it. But the fact is, these powerful politicians, representatives of the
most powerful nation on the world and its foreign aid generosity, are
clear and candid in their opposition to homosexuality. That’s their
right. But I believe they should therefore be even more clear and
candid in their opposition to its criminalization. Theirs is a
personal, religious position.  They should extra precautions to make
clear that these positions are in absolutely no way linked to the
relationships between the United States and foreign aid recipients. Not
only have they not done that, they resisted even condemning the bill."

And are Ugandan officials maybe looking for a way out?


  1. says

    I think that Mr. Sharlet is being naive when he believes that Family members don’t want homosexuality criminalized and punishable by death. Their Bible endorses execution for gays, and there’s no reason to believe they want anything other than that.

  2. says

    The situation for LGBT people in Uganda, Iran, Iraq, and so many other places is very hard to read. Sometimes there’s little to do other than feel helpless.

  3. Jason Moreland says

    The questions were released with the speech on the State Dept’s website the day before yesterday, a real reporter would have checked there first.

  4. Tralfaz says

    I’d say something nice about Hillary but that might get the mob going about me being bitter over the primaries.

  5. I'm Layla Miller, I Know Stuff says

    Hysteria, Obsession, and Narcissism in the Homophobic Right
    Thursday November 16, 2006

    Isn’t interesting how often religious conservatives treat homosexuality and gay marriage like they are the most pressing and dangerous issues facing Western culture? Even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that there are legitimate reasons to oppose them and be concerned about them, how can anyone justify acting like they threaten the very foundations of civilization?
    William Eskridge, a Yale law professor, has written that anti-gay prejudice has been marked historically by three characteristics. These are: (1) “hysterical demonization of gay people as dirty sexualized subhumans”; (2) “obsessional fears of gay people as conspiratorial and sexually predatory”; and (3) “narcissistic desires to reinforce stable heterosexual identity . . . by bashing gay people.” The primary historical traits of homophobia are thus hysteria, obsession, and narcissism.

    Source: IndeGayForum
    It’s worth stopping for a moment to consider how these same characteristics are also true when it comes to other demonized minorities. The exact same things could have been said about the hysterical anti-Semitic beliefs in Germany in the first half of the 20th century. Dale Carpenter describes how these three characteristics have been popping up in the context of the Foley scandal…

    Hysterical Demonization:

    We can see the first of these characteristics, hysteria, in some of the reactions to the Foley scandal. “While pro-homosexual activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two,” declared Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
    What Tony Perkins says isn’t true, but it’s also not the worst of the accusations which Christain extremists have been hurling at gays. It’s frankly no different from when vicious anti-Semites were accusing Jews of killing Christian children in religious rituals, a myth that goes back to the middle ages but which was also used by the Nazis to pave the way for their own anti-Semitic policies.

    Conspiracy of Gays:

    The second characteristic of anti-gay prejudice, obsession, has been on full display. Some Republicans in Congress and religious conservatives told reporters that they suspect a “gay subculture” has infiltrated the party. This “Velvet Mafia”—as some have called it—allegedly consists of a number of gay Republican congressional staffers and other personnel. A conservative website asserted that the gay conspiracy includes nine chiefs of staff, two press secretaries, and two directors of communications for prominent congressional Republicans.
    Once again, there is no evidence for the truth these accusations — but it’s easier to accuse gays of these sorts of misdeeds when they have already been the targets of so much demonization over the years than to admit to mistakes on one’s own part. Jews, too, were accused of all sorts of anti-German conspiracies; indeed, the idea that Jews threatened to undermine German culture was a primary motivating factor behind a significant amount of the hatred of Jews.

    Sexual Purification:

    Finally, the Foley mess has demonstrated the third characteristic of anti-gay prejudice, narcissism. If the GOP loses one or both houses of Congress in November, one supposed lesson will be that the party was too lenient on homosexuals—turning off the party’s base of religious conservatives. Some thus see the scandal as a chance to cleanse the GOP of the impurity of homosexuality, to reassert the party’s stable, pro-family heterosexual identity.
    The obsession with purity is a common characteristic with fundamentalist and extremist movements. Usually the purity involved is sexual in nature, though some other types appear from time to time. Many are surprised to learn just how much of a role ideas about sexual purity played with the earliest Nazi storm troopers. Their writings contain many images of fear of being overcome with sexual desire, female sexuality, the presence of women, and so forth.

    Extreme homophobia and extreme anti-Semitism have a lot in common because they stem from similar, deep-seated drives in a person’s personality. They both involve a need to exclude some minority as violently and absolutely as possible in order to solidify one’s own sense of self. A person’s identity becomes so bound up with what they are not that everything they do becomes part of denying that Other, even to the point of extermination.

  6. Daniel says

    Maybe some legal eagles on this site can respond to this: If criminalization laws go thru in Uganda & Rwanda (refering to yesterday’s posting on this site about Rwanda), couldn’t gays in these countries go to a US or European embassy and apply for asylum based on threats to their safety in their homeland?

  7. John says


    They can apply.

    But asylum is rarely granted unless there’s an actual and immediate threat of death. If you’re not literally dying right in front of them, the embassy officials will throw your file in the queue. Typically, it will take years for you to get a hearing. Even then, adjudicators and immigration judges are notorious for using mitigating factors as a basis for exclusion.

    Theoretically, the same standards are applied to everyone. Involvement in suspect social or political groups tends to lower one’s chances. Any history of mental illness can result in the application being rejected. And any criminal history, minor or otherwise, will most likely result in denial as well.

    In reality, however, these disqualifiers are often used as an excuse for sending back people the government in question just doesn’t like. Whether it is for being the “wrong” class, religion, race, or sexual orientation.

    It is a very arbitrary and unreliable system.

  8. joe32 says

    I hear you Tralfaz, ive learned to ignore the comments by now..

    WE love you Hills!!!!!!!!

    Give em Hill!!!!!


  9. Martin Scherer says

    Born in Uganda, I recently chose to sponsor a teacher through Watoto.

    Referring to your comments here, I asked Watoto to advise me if Watoto is in any way involved in
    • Campaigning for laws in Uganda that will restrict the human right of freedom of sexual expression.
    • Circumcision as an aids prevention procedure or for any other reason.

    Watoto Church replied that it is currently working on a response the information contained in the article you referenced.

    If your article is in accurate then I would have thought it a simple procedure for Watoto to issue a denial. The fact that Watoto need to work on a response suggests there may be truth to your statement.

    I have therefore suspended my sponsorship. That is very sad. Maybe you can suggest what organisations people like me can sponsor in Uganda