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'Pearl of Africa' Delves Into The Life of a Transwoman Openly Transitioning in Uganda - WATCH

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Rough Studios, a Swedish production company, has released the first installment of Pearl of Africa, a docuseries following the life of Cleopatra Kambugu, the first transgender woman to openly transition while living in Uganda. Filmmaker Jonny von Wallström began working in Uganda shooting music videos for the country’s burgeoning hip-hop industry before turning his focus towards the its persecuted queer population.

“Growing up in Sweden where being gay is very common and accepted in many places I always liked teasing them about this, being a bit too touchy and so on,” he wrote in the documentary’s production blog. “At that time I didn’t realise how bad the situation actually was in Uganda, but because I’ve been aware of the situation and knew of the Anti-Homosexuality bill when it was introduced in 2009, which planted a seed that I should do a film on the subject.”

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” has played a crucial role in creating the openly hostile cultural environment that drove Cleo, Pearl of Africa’s central character, into hiding.

Often referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill, the Ugandan law criminalizes consensual acts of homosexuality within the country and threatens extradition and jail time to Ugandans suspected of being gay while living abroad. The bill was invalidated on a parliamentary technicality in August allowing for a mild resurfacing of Uganda’s LGBT culture within its capital city Kampala. Museveni’s cabinet, though, has expressed its intentions of reintroducing a revised version of the bill that its governing body is likely to pass. Von Wallström says that Cleo’s story, though unique in its particular details, is reflective of many queer Ugandans.

“While I was researching doing a project focused on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Kampala, I was introduced to Cleo through my partners at Unwanted Witness. At first she was very suspicious why this western man was interested in making a film about her, what’s the agenda? This is something that I think western journalism and documentaries are too blame for, where they go and tell their story in “Africa”.

They put themselves in the movie simply because some producer thinks they need to have a white male or whatever to relate to, because these black people they are too strange, it’s such bullshit which I get offended by every time I see it. It stigmatizes our society in a very dangerous way, something that really affects how we see the world, with us western people seeing ourselves as something greater than for instance Africans.”

Continue reading "'Pearl of Africa' Delves Into The Life of a Transwoman Openly Transitioning in Uganda - WATCH" »


Gambian Activists Scold U.S. For Ignoring Atrocities Unrelated To LGBT Rights

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Representatives of the Civil Society Associations Gambia and other advocates for Gambian human rights gathered in Washington, D.C. last week to implore the U.S. government to redouble its supposed commitment to supporting the West African nation. In recent months there’s been a spike of Western attention that many of the activists attributed to the rise of visibly anti-LGBT sentiment within Gambia.

Officially the United States State Department has publicly condemned Gambian president Yahya Jammeh for passing a law that criminalizes “aggravated homosexuality.” The Gambian government, however, has expressed its intentions to continue its crusade against queer individuals regardless of aid cuts or retaliation from the West.

Banka Manneh of the Civil Society Associations Gambia spoke at a panel held at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights to voice his concerns about the U.S.’s inconsistent attention. While the media attention towards Jammeh’s discriminatory laws has been well intentioned, many feel that it belies the seeming blind eye that’s been turned to other Gambian atrocities committed against non-LGBT people.

“In all these years of efforts to go to the state department, going to all these different levels in the U.S. government lobbying and lobbying for them to do something about the Gambia, we haven’t been having any traction at all,” said Manneh. “All of sudden they arrest these 15 gays and lesbians, and we’re seeing really what seems to be a firestorm.”

Jammeh’s “aggravated homosexuality” law bears a number of parallels with Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, and has similarly captured the attention of the world press for its severity. As horrific as Jammeh’s avowal to hunt down Gambia’s LGBT population may sound, however, they are not uncharacteristic of the dictator’s generally oppressive politics.

“What we are hoping is that this could be a catalyst - maybe this could be a wake up call,” Manneh said. “Maybe [the U.S. has] been asleep all this time. If this serves that purpose, that would be awesome because then it benefits the LGBT community and the regular Gambians.”


Extreme Anti-Gay 'Christian' Scott Lively To Stand Trial For Crimes Against Humanity - VIDEO

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The First Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday denied an attempt by anti-gay bigot Scott Lively to have a crimes against humanity suit against him dismissed, reports Michael In Norfolk.

In 2012, an American group called the Center for Constitutional Rights, representing a Ugandan group called Sexual Minorities Uganda, sued Lively in federal court in Massachusetts for crimes against humanity.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d07d8f6b970c-800wiOf the many anti-gay activists in the U.S., Lively is arguably the nastiest.  Recently profiled in Human Rights Campaign’s Export of Hate report, Lively last week suggested that homosexuality is worse than murder.

In October, we reported that the nasty bigot - a driving force behind Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill - appeared in a Russian state-funded "documentary" called Sodom.

Lively, the head of virulently homophobic listed hate group Abiding Truth Ministries, has been accused of helping play a part in the persecution, arrest and murder of gay people in Uganda, a charge which he has denied.

The First Circuit ruling means that Lively will now have to stand trial.

Watch the apocalyptic hate-filled "documentary" Sodom - no subtitles, but the tone gives it away - in full, AFTER THE JUMP...

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European Union Rules Asylum Seeker Tests For Homosexuality Unlawful

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today ruled that gay asylum seekers do not need to undergo a test to prove they are homosexual, reports Big News Network.

The ECJ had ruled last year that persecuted gay people from Africa have grounds for asylum.

Due to severe anti-gay laws in a number of African countries there has been an increase in the number of asylum seekers in the European Union (EU).

The decision came after three men failed in their attempts to seek asylum in the Netherlands after the Dutch court ruled they had not proved their sexuality.

The ECJ said determination of a refugee's sexuality must be in accord with EU law and cannot infringe on rights to privacy and dignity. The court added authorities can discuss sexual matters with asylum seekers but cannot ask about personal sexual practices or demand "medical tests" or recordings of sexual acts.

However, the court also found that although “the starting point in the process of assessment,” a mere declaration of homosexuality, is insufficient grounds for asylum.

In September, Egypt’s Forensic Medicine Authority found that nine men are “not homosexuals” after they had appeared in a recording of a “gay marriage”.


Uganda Awarded 2017 World Cross Country Championships Despite Fears Of Harsh New Anti-Gay Law - VIDEO

MuseveniDespite its severe anti-gay laws, Uganda has become the latest country to be awarded a major sporting event, reports Pink News.

Uganda last year passed a draconian anti-gay law which was eventually deemed to be unconstitutional. However, the African nation is expected to introduce an even more severe version of the law as a “Christmas gift” to the nation.

Uganda beat Bahrain - another no-go zone for gay people - to host the 2017 IAFF World Cross Country Championships.

It is expected that 700 athletes and hundreds of journalists will attend the event on March 23, 2017.

Of the decision to award the event to Uganda, sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi said:

“[President Yoweri Museveni] is passionate about athletics. He does not only receive all athletes whenever they shine but has gone a step further to give them a monthly stipend to motivate them. Not even football players get that." IAFF

The sporting world is making a habit of awarding international events to anti-gay nations of late. The 2017 and 2022 soccer World Cup has been awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively, despite both countries having controversial anti-gay laws.

Watch a report on Uganda's bid for the 2017 event, AFTER THE JUMP...

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State Department Condemns Severe 'Aggravated Homosexuality' Law in Gambia: VIDEO

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The U.S. has condemned the decision of Gambia President Yahya Jammeh to approve a severe new law imposing life imprisonment for homosexual acts, reports ABC.

The law went into effect on October 9th. Homosexual acts had already been punishable with up to 14 years in prison.

The AP reported last week:

“It criminalizes ‘aggravated homosexuality’, which targets 'serial offenders' and people living with HIV or AIDS. Suspects can also be charged with aggravated homosexuality for engaging in homosexual acts with someone who is under 18, disabled or who has been drugged. The term also applies when the suspect is the parent or guardian of the other person or is 'in authority over' him or her."

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c70bfab2970b-300wiThe term “aggravated homosexuality” was borrowed from a Ugandan anti-gay law signed earlier this year that was eventually ruled unconstitutional.  More extreme anti-gay laws are expected to be enacted in Uganda shortly.

In a statement issued on Monday, State Department Director of Press Relations Jeff Rathke said:

"We are dismayed by President Jammeh's decision to sign into law legislation that further restricts the rights of L.G.B.T. individuals and are deeply concerned about the reported arrests and detention of suspected L.G.B.T. individuals in The Gambia.”

Rathke also voiced concerns about reports of recent arrests in Gambia of at least four men, a 17-year-old boy and nine women accused of committing homosexual acts.

Last week, Amnesty International accused Gambian security forces of resorting to beatings and the threat of rape and other abuses if the detainees did not confess.

Gambian officials have declined to comment on the new law or the arrests.

Watch a Young Turks report on Gambia's anti-gay law, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "State Department Condemns Severe 'Aggravated Homosexuality' Law in Gambia: VIDEO" »


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