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Trade Boycotts Force Ugandan President to Reconsider Anti-Gay Laws

President Yoweri Museveni

There's a special place in hell for Anita Bryant for helping to popularize the myth that the gays are after the world's children to recruit them to the cause, like some fabulously well-dressed militant regime. This fueled one of the cries - and lies - spread 'round the world that people and governments are anti-gay because they just want to protect the children. We've seen it in Russia, the U.S., and of course Uganda.

The "protecting the children" rational is a lie through and through, of course, and Uganda at least is proving it to be as such. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni claimed that he signed on to his country's viciously anti-gay laws to ostensibly protect children and prevent them from being "recruited" into the deviant homosexual lifestyle, but either he never really believed that or the "recruitment of children" isn't that big of a deal as Museveni is now backtracking on those laws.

Though the author of the anti-gay laws said that any international backlash would be "worth it", President Museveni is singing a different tune, saying that his country could endure aid cuts, but that trade boycotts would be devastating:

It is about us deciding what is best for our country in the realm of foreign trade, which is such an important stimulus for growth and transformation that it has no equal.

He still takes a chance to make a nasty stab at homosexuals and still blame them for his country's troubles, however:

It is now an issue of a snake in a clay cooking pot. We want to kill the snake, but we do not want to break the pot. We want to protect our children from homosexuality, but we do not want to kill our trade opportunities. That now forces us to disassemble this whole issue.

How about just leaving the snake alone, knowing that it always was and always will be a snake, and letting everyone live in peace?


A Glimpse Inside a Gay Bar in Anti-Gay Uganda

UgandaThere is a bar in Uganda that opens its doors to the country’s oppressed LGBT community for a few scant hours late into the early hours of Sunday evening. Located in Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city, the bar usually caters to a heterosexual clientele in the city’s business district. A lengthy profile published in Business Insider reveals that Kampala’s underground queer population is willing to risk criminal charges if it means being able to have some semblance of a nightlife.

"Can you imagine, that in a very sociable country like Uganda, where bars are open Monday-to-Monday, we have only six hours in a week to be ourselves?" one of the patrons pondered to Agence France Presse. "The moment you walk out it's like you don't know each other, you've not been having fun."

Despite the bar being somewhat lowkey, it is understood that the Kampala police are at least somewhat aware of the queer gatherings. The bar was closed down entirely for two months following the passing of Uganda’s law criminalizing homosexuality and the promotion of gay lifestyles. Recently, the bill was nullified on by a Parliamentary technicality, but Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has expressed his openness and interest in considering a new version of the same legislation.


Chad Considers Criminalizing Gay Sex With 20 Years In Prison

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(Chad President Idriss Déby)

Chad is likely to become the 37th African country to outlaw homosexuality after politicians voted in favor of a proposed law that would make same-sex relations a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, reports The Guardian.

According to Amnesty International, same-sex relations are illegal - and in some punishable by death - in 36 of Africa’s 54 countries.

Chad’s penal code does not explicitly mention homosexuality but the proposed amendment states the punishment for anyone who has sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex is 15 to 20 years in jail and a fine of 50,000-500,000 Central African francs (around $100-$1,000). Chad map

Government officials have said that the measure, which has yet to be ratified by President Idriss Déby, is intended to “protect the family and to comply with Chadian society”.

The Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights called on Déby to strike down the proposed law:

“By criminalising homosexuality, Chad’s proposed penal code is an instrument of discrimination, not of justice. I urge president Déby and the Chadian parliament to reject any attempts to make prejudice the law of the land.”

Florent Geel, Africa director of the International Federation of Human Rights, said that although it is to be welcomed that the proposed bill would abolish the death penalty, this positive “is unfortunately marred by the criminalisation of homosexuality.”

According to Geel, while the reform of the penal code had been in preparation for 10 years, the question of homosexuality, while considered immoral, had never been an issue in Chad.

A number of countries in Africa have recently enacted severe anti-gay laws. Some observers believe this may be a response to the increased visibility and assertiveness of LGBT people in Africa. However, US evangelical Christians - chief among them Scott Lively - have been widely blamed for instigating draconian anti-gay legislation in Uganda and other countries.

Last month, The Gambia passed a bill imposing life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality.”

In January, the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed into law a bill criminalising same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights groups.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe regularly attacks LGBT people in speeches and recently said he resented - but continues to accept - western aid because it depends on conditions such as accepting homosexuality.

Although Uganda’s harsh anti-gay law was struck down by judges on a technicality, it is expected to be reintroduced by MPs.


Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Recommended For Asylum In The U.S. - VIDEO

John Abdallah Wambere

Immigration officials are recommending that the U.S. grant asylum to John Abdallah Wambere, a prominent gay rights activist in Uganda who lives in fear of death threats and repression at home, reports The Boston Globe.

Wambere arrived from Uganda on February 21 on a temporary visa, three days before Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed off on his country’s new law punishing gay sex and the “promotion of homosexuality” with life imprisonment.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a letter on September 11th recommending Wambere for asylum, although final approval is still pending a mandatory background check.

Wambere said he has been evicted, arrested three times, beaten unconscious and has received anonymous death threats, including in 2011, after gay rights leader David Kato was bludgeoned to death.

Although Uganda’s constitutional court in August overturned the country’s anti-gay laws on technical grounds, some lawmakers have vowed to refile the overturned bill.

According to Allison Wright, one of Wambere’s lawyers at GLAAD:

“The antigay sentiment has just been rising and rising over the years. Just because the act is gone doesn’t mean that hostility is not there. That hostility is very much still alive.”

In an interview earlier this week, Wambere hailed the decision and vowed to continue advocating for gay rights in Uganda from abroad.

“I’m so excited; I’m overwhelmed. I felt like standing on the streets and shouting out to the whole world.”

On adjusting to life in Massachusetts, he said he had been shocked at the sight of a gay couple openly holding hands on Boston Common:

“To me, it was amazing. Nobody cared about it. Even they themselves were not even freaking out.”

Watch an interview with Wambere and a report on the asylum case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Recommended For Asylum In The U.S. - VIDEO" »


Human Rights Campaign Exposes Extreme Anti-Gay American Activists

Export of hate

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released a new report that exposes some of the most vitriolic activists in the U.S. promoting anti-gay bigotry abroad.

These extremists claim that LGBT people are responsible for the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and the spread of HIV/AIDS; that LGBT people are luring away children; that acceptance of LGBT people will lead to the destruction of the family; and that the death penalty could be an appropriate punishment for simply being gay.

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73e170bc2970d-800wiHRC points out that these anti-gay activists often secure audiences with heads of government and their spouses, testify before politicians, build relationships with community leaders and other prominent citizens, lobby United Nations delegates, get involved in the drafting of national constitutions, and intervene in international court cases that affect the lives and rights of LGBT people.

The report titled The Export of Hate, which focuses on dangerous homophobe Scott Lively and others, details their connections and associations, nations in which they are active publicly, available information about their resources and examples of their public bigotry and hatred of gay people.

Lively has been accused of crimes against humanity for inciting anti-gay hatred in Uganda and aiding in the passing of their "Kill the Gays" bill.

The report also exposes the "work" of Benjamin Bull, Jordan Sekulow, Peter La Barbera, Paul Cameron, Sharon Slater, Robert Oscar Lopez, Brian Brown, Larry Jacobs, Brian Camenker, Mat Staver, Michael Brown, Janice Shaw Crouse and Scott Stirm.

Ty Cobb, HRC Foundation’s director of Global Engagement, said:

“Hate is not an American value, and we must expose and fight these individuals and their extremist allies. This is a destructive group of activists spreading anti-LGBT rhetoric, promoting laws that criminalize LGBT people, and seeking to restrict their speech and those who support them.  Although their views may find little traction in the United States, public opinion in many other nations makes their words and global advocacy fundamentally dangerous.”

Read the full report here.


Ugandan Parliament Poised To Reintroduce Anti-Homosexuality Act

Museveni_July_2012_Cropped (1)

Members of the Ugandan Parliament are reportedly working on a revised version of its law criminalizing homosexuality. An earlier version of the law was rendered null and void earlier this year after a Parliamentary review board concluded that the quorum necessary to pass the law had not, in fact, been present.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decried by a number of Western nations that provide aid funding to Uganda, would penalize gay individuals and those thought to be “promoting” homosexuality with lifetime jail sentences. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has insisted that the newest iteration of the law would be focused primarily on the protection of children from the threat of homosexuals. The law, however, draws no distinction between gays and pedophiles.

Should the bill be reintroduced to the floor, it will be referred to a committee for review and potential further alterations before it is released into the House for discussion and debate. Members of the parliamentary body advocating for the bill’s dismissal are vastly outnumbered. According to the Daily Monitor 254 out of 376 parliament members, more than the necessary ⅔ quorum, have expressed their support for reintroducing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill for consideration.

"As soon as the movers of this bill are ready, we will proceed,” Said Deputy Parliament Speaker Jacob Oulanyah. “When it is introduced, we will handle it appropriately."


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