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LGBT Ugandan Refugees Face Persecution, Unemployment Difficulties In Kenya

Ugandans fleeing from the country to avoid its brutal, discriminatory Anti-Homosexuality Act are finding the cultural climate no less hostile into neighboring Kenya, according to their accounts. Legalized in February before more recently being struck down on a technicality, Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act criminalized a variety of behaviors and threatened lifetime imprisonment for those found in violation. Hoping to avoid persecution, many LGBT identified Ugandans fled to Kenyan refugee camps hoping to find a more accepting, if temporary, home.

3489571906_f6bfb32682_z"The reaction shocked me. I went there. I thought it would be a celebration, but ... nothing," Brizan Ogollan explained to the Huffington Post."They knew at an international level and at the diplomatic level, the decision is going to have impact, but at the local level, it won't really. You can overrule the law, but you can't overrule the mind."

Ogollan runs an international aid organization that coordinates with the Kakuma refugee camp. Kakuma, whose name in Swahili means “nowhere” is known as a transitional camp through which many refugees pass on their way to their permanent resettlements. Kenyan society, Ogollan says, is no less homophobic than Uganda’s.

Like in Uganda, homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, and LGBT Ugandan refugees are faced with ostracization both for their sexual and gender presentations as well as their status as displaced people. Queer Ugandans report facing open aggression within the camps and persistent difficulty finding work within Kenyan cities.

The United Nations' refugee agency has taken note of the difficulties facing the refugees and has expressed its intention to expedite the relocations of the 35 Ugandan refugees officially registered as LGBT with the U.N.


Uganda President Claims To Be Interested In Less Harsh Anti-Homosexuality Laws

Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has urged the country’s Parliamentary Caucus, led by the National Resistance Movement, not to prioritize the resurrection of its anti-homosexuality law, despite his clear intention to bring it back, albeit with different terms. A revised version of the law, according to Museveni, would prioritize penalization for “recruitment of children and exploiting financially vulnerable youths.”

The Ugandan government nullified the original version of the law on a technicality after a review found that it was created without the necessary quorum--a third of the parliamentary body. The law, supported by both of Uganda’s dominant political party and its opposition, drew widespread criticism from the West, prompting the freezing and cancellation of governmental aid.

Despite the invalidation of the law, Museveni has implored members of the Ugandan parliament to debate the legislation at length when it is re-introduced for review. Describing the situation as a delicate problem that needed to be dealt with. Museveni has created a committee of 10, chaired by his Vice President Edward Kwanuka Sekandi, to develop a revised version of the law. In theory, the new law would not carry hard penalties for openly gay individuals.

“If two consenting adults go into their room and decide to be stupid, let them be," Parliament Member Medard Bitekyerezo said of the President’s supposed shift in opinion. "We agreed to come up with a new version that doesn't hurt our Western friends but also protects Ugandans."

Listen to Ugandan President Museveni's remarks after signing Uganda's original anti-homosexuality bill into law, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Uganda President Claims To Be Interested In Less Harsh Anti-Homosexuality Laws" »


LGBT Ugandans Hold Pride Parade In the Wake of Anti-gay Law's Invalidation

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 10.10.53 AMOn Saturday, Uganda's LGBT and ally community marched through the lakeside town of Entebbe - the third annual gay pride celebration and the first public event since a Ugandan court invalidated the country's Anti-Homosexuality Act last week. 

The AP reports:

About 200 people are expected to attend the event, said Ugandan gay activist Moses Kimbugwe. He said participants were waiting for police protection before they marched through sprawling botanical gardens in Entebbe, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital of Kampala.

Many marchers wore masks, signaling they did not want to be publicly identified in a country where homosexuals face discrimination. Others waved rainbow flags as they danced and frolicked on a sandy beach.

Pictured right is prominent gay-rights activist Frank Mugisha and other pride goers.

On Wednesday, more than 100 members of country's parliament pledged to bypass rules of procedure and swiftly reinstate the anti-gay law. 

[via Twitter]


Ugandan Lawyer Who Challenged Anti-gay Law Speaks Out About Whats Next for LGBT Progress

Nicholas Opiyo, the lawyer who led the court challenge of Uganda's anti-gay law, has spoken to TIME about LGBT rights in the wake of last week's decision overturning the country's anti-gay law. 

Nicholas OpiyoSaid Opiyo:

Nothing has changed much. The deep sense of homophobia in Uganda remains unchanged. In any case, it’s only been made worse by this ruling, because the debate has been reopened in a more bitter and fierce manner than we’ve seen before. To be positive, certain incidental things that are good will happen because of the ruling. First, individuals and organizations that have been facing arrest, intimidation or investigation will now have all those cases against them dropped, because the very foundation for these cases has now been declared unlawful.

Opiyo also spoke about the growing influence of American evangelical ideology on Ugandan politics and the "moralization of the legislation process"

When asked when LGBT Ugandans will be completely safe, Opiyo responded "It's a long, long way to go"

The full interview is well worth a read HERE


Scott Lively Says He's 'Not Unhappy' Uganda's Anti-gay Law Was Overturned

Lively

Scott Lively, the American evangelical hatemonger who helped Uganda pass its brutal anti-gay law, has written a column claiming he's "not unhappy" the law was struck down in its present form and says he's now waiting for calls of apology from media outlets who "for years have insinuated (or outright insisted) that the Ugandans were merely my puppets in a nefarious scheme to persecute homosexuals there"

Writes Lively:

The maliciously deceitful attempt by the global “gay” movement and its media allies to paint Uganda as a pariah state filled with hateful bigots (as in the propaganda film “God Loves Uganda”), is simply a disgusting modern example of the same “blood libel” used against the Jews by the Nazis.

I am not unhappy that the Ugandan law as written has been nullified. I have always said it was too harsh and did not emphasize prevention and therapy for homosexual disorder. The law’s enactment and quick repeal conclusively demonstrate that Ugandans can think for themselves, are capable of self-governance, and do not need “enlightened” Marxists and homosexual militants from the West to shape their public policy and uphold the rule of law.

Lively, who is set to stand trial for "crimes against humanity" for his role in helping pass Uganda's bill, has been steadfast in his denial of having any role in drumming up anti-gay hysteria in Uganda...despite video showing Lively 'educating' Ugandan lawmakers on how gays are "evil," "serial killers" and "Nazis" 


Members Of Ugandan Parliament Sign Petition To Swiftly Reinstate Anti-Homosexuality Act

Members of the Ugandan parliament held a press conference yesterday to announce their plan to bypass rules of procedure in order to vote on and reinstate the anti-homosexuality act (struck down by the Ugandan constitutional court last Friday). Led by Latif Sebagala, the group of MPs stated that they were collecting signatures (pictured below, in a tweet from Parliament Watch) in order to build support and petition for a reconsideration of the law.

Petition1Sebagala seems to believe that House speaker Rebecca Kadaga should be able to suspend the rules of procedure, which would otherwise necessitate starting the legislative process over from the beginning. The court's decision last week was predicated on parliament's breaking of Ugandan law, though, so it is unclear just how viable an option Sebagala's plan would be. Supporters of the bill are conflicted about his risky strategy but are still adamant about the anti-homosexuality stance.

Buzzfeed reports:

A group of MPs led by Latif Sebagala said the petition for a re-vote had already collected 100 signatures from MPs. He said that by Friday he believed he would have signatures from a majority of parliament...

In a phone interview, the bill’s original sponsor, MP David Bahati, would not directly answer several questions about how soon he wanted to see the bill brought to the floor and whether it should be passed under rules of procedure...

“Any bill will pass through the procedure, and by the rules of procedure we will follow them and we will pass it,” Bahati said, adding, “We can suspend any of the rules if we think it is important.”

“Whether it’s tomorrow or a week or a month, we will take whatever time is required to make sure that the future of our children is protected, the family is protected, and the sovereignty nation of the protected,” Bahati said. “The issues of technicalities is not a big deal to anybody. But the big deal … is that homosexuality is not a human right here in Uganda.”

Whether or not the bill can be passed quickly, Ugandan officials risk increased tensions and financial restrictions with the United States and other global organizations. Still, the vehemence of Sebagala and the other MP's is disturbing: not only did they share news of the petition at the press conference, they also reportedly broke into song:

Petition2


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