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04/19/2007


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1070

TOM LEPPERT: Senate candidate's rivals attack former Dallas mayor for appearing in Gay Pride parade. Ugly stuff. Lots of background at the Dallas Voice.

KENYA: Mob storms safe-sex seminar for gay men.

THE SIMPSONS: The 500th episode's genius opening sequence gets put in slo-mo.

STOP TEASING THE FISH: A puffer fish goes after a laser.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


Kenyan Chief Justice Willy Mutunga: 'Gay Rights are Human Rights' - VIDEO

Mutunga

Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin comments on a surprising video that turned up on YouTube this week featuring Dr. Willy Mutunga, the Chief Justice of Kenya, declaring "gay rights are human rights". The speech was given at a groundbreaking ceremony for FIDA Uganda, a Ugandan organization of Women Lawyers.

Says Mutunga in the video:

The other frontier of marginalization is the gay rights movement. Gay rights are human rights. Here I’m simply confining my statement to the context of human rights and social justice paradigm, and avoiding the controversy that exists in our constitutions and various legislation. As far as I know, human rights principles that we work on, do not allow us to implement human rights selectively. We need clarity on this issue within the human rights movement in East Africa, if we are to face the challenges that are spearheaded by powerful political and religious forces in our midst. I find the arguments made by some of our human rights activists, the so-called “moral arguments” simply rationalizations for using human rights principles opportunistically and selectively.

Writes Burroway:

The Chief Justice’s speech in Uganda is interesting for three reasons.

First, his call for recognizing that “gay rights are human rights” actually pre-dates an identical declaration from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by two full months.

Secondly, the woman wearing lavender you see seating herself at the beginning of the video is Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, who played an important role in reviving the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in October.

And finally, Uganda and Kenya close neighbors, sharing a common history as part of Britian’s East African colonies, and they maintain extensive political and economic ties. Much of Uganda’s imports and exports flow through the Kenyan port of Mombasa, and the two countries are part of a larger emerging common market, the East African Community. The situation for LGBT people in Kenya is generally much better than in Uganda, although there have been instances of mob violence against suspected gay people in recent years.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Kenyan Magazine Exposes Sex Trafficking Trends

SextraffickingThere's some troubling news out of Kenya. The LGBT magazine Identity reports that unemployed men are being lured to Gulf states with the promise of jobs but are in actuality being recruited for a booming sex trafficking industry there.

Jordan-based website Al Bawaba offers the unsettling details:

The report alleges that gay and bisexual men are lured from university campuses – particularly from Kenyatta University – with promises of high-paying jobs and then transported to labor as sex workers for men in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.   

According to the magazine, due to Kenya’s soaring unemployment rate, the men are easily fooled into this trap.
...

Qatar specifically, has no laws against human trafficking, which has made cracking down on the practice nearly impossible.

One man, a Canadian named Mark who lives in the Emirates, said he's seen the impact of such trades, and points the finger squarely at the region's homophobic cultures.

"We have seen a lot of the elite and super wealthy want to be gay, but that would go against their traditions, so instead they often marry and then hire or do this kind of thing, to have their real desires met. It is a problem of society not opening up to the gay lifestyle and forcing it to the background," he said.


LGBT Refugees Of Sub-Saharan Africa

HomosexualIsEvilToday at Salon, journalist Naomi Abraham introduces us to "Fred," a 48-year-old gay man from Uganda. Fred lives in Kenya now. According to Abraham, Fred "became a refugee in December 2009 after he was brutally assaulted by a mob in Kampala for being gay."

On the night of his near fatal assault, [Fred] says, a large group of people from his neighborhood stood outside his bedroom quietly waiting to get the final proof they needed to confirm their suspicions [about his sexuality]. When they had heard enough, they broke his window and attacked him and his partner.

And so Fred fled to Nairobi. 

Naomi Abraham uses Fred's story to open up a brief but exquisitely written investigation of anti-LGBT sentiment in sub-Saharan Africa, explaining how bigotry has caused a vast, silent migration of women and men just like Fred. According to Abraham, they "move to urban centers in neighboring countries not necessarily because these places are any less hostile to homosexuals, but for the anonymity that comes with being a newcomer in a densely populated area."

These migrations, as well as the hateful political rhetoric that necessitates them, are "new for Africa," writes Abraham:

In the past, homosexuality was rarely brought up privately, let alone in the public sphere. The new acrimonious tone against homosexuality espoused by politicians and religious leaders has percolated across all strata of African society including the media. It has also given rise to increasing homophobic and transphobic violence, which for a growing number of gay Africans has meant that life in their own countries has become untenable ...

... Some pundits believe that the shift to a more sinister form of homophobia in many African countries over the last decade has its root in conservative religious indoctrination. Some reports suggest that U.S. evangelical groups have had a hand in creating the venomous anti-gay attitudes and violence that have swept over the continent and pushed gay Africans out of their countries.

"It wasn’t until the late 1990s that we saw Africans with the help of American conservative religious groups using this issue (homosexuality) as an organizing tool," said Rev. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia who has studied the U.S. evangelical influence on African societies.

Fred has sought asylum in the US. He is waiting to learn whether his application has been accepted.

On the night of his near fatal assault, he says, a large group of people from his neighborhood stood outside his bedroom quietly waiting to get the final proof they needed to confirm their suspicions. When they had heard enough, they broke his window and attacked him and his partner.

LGBT Fears Grow as Gay Activist Murdered in Kenya

Charles Omondi Racho, a gay activist in Kenya, was murdered in August according to fellow gay activist Adams Lenox, of Kisumu Initiative for Positive Empowerment (KIPE), a local NGO which is also involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS within the regions of Western Kenya, LGBT Asylum reports.

Kenya He said Racho was attacked and killed by a group of "rowdy youth" who earlier identified him at a local night club and "threatened to discipline him for being a gay".

“Imagine this guy was attacked in the presence of his cousin who was also threatened by the same gang and all his belongings taken and when we reported the matter to the police, no action was taken only for the police to laugh at us and accuse us of going against the local culture,” Lenox said.

The killing followed a series of threats and hostilities directed at members of the gay community in Kisumu, Lenox told the newspaper. In July an LGBT workshop in Kisumu was attacked and the meeting venue set on fire "by rowdy youths who accused them of going against the local culture". Behind The Mask reported in July on the growth of the organised LGBT community in the Kisumu area.

Racho's cousin, who was with him in the night club and also threatened and says he is now in hiding, said that Racho had been attacked twice before. In one attack at the Kisumu bus station his clothes were torn and other personal effects including documents lost as "angry youths descended on him with blows and kicks just because he was a known gay".

The Truth newspaper, which reported the story, details much more about the dangerous atmosphere for gays in Kenya. Racho's body was dumped by the side of the road.


Kenyan PM Raila Odinga Calls for Arrests of Homosexuals

Odinga

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for gay people to be arrested at a rally on Sunday, the Daily Nation reports:

Addressing a rally at Kamukunji grounds in his Langata Constituency, the PM said their behaviour was unnatural.

“If found the homosexuals should be arrested and taken to relevant authorities,” Mr Odinga said.

The PM thrilled the crowd when he asserted that the recent census showed there were more women than men and there was no need for same sex relationships.

He said it was madness for a man to fall in love with another man while there were plenty of women and added that there was no need for women to engage in lesbianism yet they can bear children.

Said Odinga: "We will not tolerate such behaviours in the country. The constitution is very clear on this issue and men or women found engaging in homosexuality will not be spared

David Kuria, a prominent gay activist in Kenya, told the BBC that Odinga's were surprising:

"It was believed to be the first time he has made such comments. Mr Kuria told the BBC's Network Africa programme that he did not know why Mr Odinga made the comments. He said most African leaders who condemned homosexuals were trying to gain political leverage but he said Mr Odinga was already popular so his statement was 'surprising'. An MP in neighbouring Uganda last year tried to introduce the death penalty for some homosexual acts, sparking international condemnation. The BBC's Caroline Karobia in Nairobi says gay people are largely left alone in Kenya as long as they do not draw attention to themselves. The city is home to some well-known gay pubs, she says."

Kuria warned that gay "people will succumb to extortion, blackmail and violence" because of the remarks.


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