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United Kingdom Deporting Lesbian Mom To Face Possible Beatings, Imprisonment, Death In Uganda

Asaba_AidahA young Ugandan woman who fled her home country after being persecuted, beaten and raped because she is a lesbian will be deported from the United Kingdom this Saturday, May 24, according to Gay Star News. Aidah Asaba, 27, came to the UK last October seeking asylum after life in Uganda became untenable. If deported, Aidah fears she will be killed. 

Aidah's hell first began at 22 when her mother caught her with her then girlfriend: 

‘That’s when the problems started. My family rejected me, calling me weak and evil. My father locked me in my room almost 10 hours and beat me with a stick and with his fists. Then he kicked me out of the house.

‘I went back to the university. After some time he called me to come back home and told me he had a man to marry me. He said I didn’t have a choice, if I refused he would disown me or take me to prison.’

Aidah did marry and her husband eventually found out about her sexual identity. He raped and beat her on a repeated basis. She eventually gave birth to a daughter, now four, whom she had to leave in Uganda when she fled for the UK. 

As a demonstration of the anti-gay blood-lust that awaits her should she be forced to return, Aidah recounted a time she received an ominous summons from members of her community:

Community leaders sent me a letter and demanded I come to a meeting to discuss my sexuality. They said I was recruiting young girls to be lesbians.

I have been to meetings like that before. I have attended some meetings where they just started beating people. There is no control.

Earlier this year, Uganda passed a bill that criminalized homosexuality, punishing victims with up to life in prison. A report has since shown that anti-gay violence has been on the rise since the law was passed. Local officials have also wasted no time enforcing the law with many individuals already face charges in court. Ugandan newspapers have even published the names of individuals suspected of being homosexuals, Aidah among them. 

UgandaGiven the state of affairs in Uganda, Aidah has very real concerns for her safety should she be forced to return. And though the UK has a policy of not deporting LGBT asylum seekers who would face certain persecution if sent home, Aidah’s deportation has for some reason been fast-tracked: 

It harmed her case with the UK Home Office that she didn’t go out to gay bars in Britain as they didn’t believe she was lesbian. But she told GSN she was traumatized from what had happened to her and from leaving behind her daughter so stayed in the house rather than partying.

In January she applied for asylum but just six days later she was arrested and put in to an asylum detention center near London's Heathrow Airport. 

You’ll recall we previously reported on accounts that surfaced of other LGBT asylum seekers in the UK facing ‘extraordinary obstacles’ in proving to the UK Home Office that they were in fact gay. Though Keith Vaz, Labour MP and chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, previously remarked that "It is absurd for a judge or a caseworker to have to ask an individual to prove that they are lesbian or gay, to ask them what kind of films they watch, what kind of material they read” and that "People should accept the statement of sexuality by those who seek asylum,” it seems that Aidah’s statement of her sexuality has not been accepted by officials handling her case.

You can sign a petition calling on the Home Office to cancel Aidah’s deportation HERE.

(Photo via Gay Star News)


Gambian President Threatens Gay Asylum Seekers: 'If I Catch Them I Will Kill Them'

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According to the APA, President of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh, who recently compared gays to ‘vermin’ and ‘malaria-infected mosquitos’ has accused Gambian citizens seeking asylum in the west of pretending to be gay so as to avoid having to return home:

“Some people go to the west and claim they are gays and that their lives are at risk in The Gambia, in order for them to be granted a stay in Europe. If I catch them I will kill them” the Gambian leader warned.

According to him, the British authorities have realized the untruthfulness of those claims which people used as a strategy to stay in Britain.

He said, the British have decided to conduct a test on travelers claiming to come from The Gambia and information to confirm their sexual orientation. 

The “tests” Jammeh mentions may refer to reports that surfaced late last year that found foreign nationals seeking asylum in Britain on the grounds that they were gay and would face persecution at home often had to provide “proof” they were gay, with extreme cases showing that individuals handed over “photographic and video evidence of 'highly personal sexual activity.’”

Jammeh has a history of making anti-gay threats, previously warning homosexuals in The Gambia, “If we catch you, you will regret why you were born.” Jammeh also labeled homosexuality as “one of the biggest threats to human existence” in an address before the United Nations last year.


Activists Protesting Anti-Gay Law Disrupt Speech by Ugandan President in London

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni spoke at a UK government forum last night at Lancaster House in London designed to promote UK investment in Uganda's economy, Ekklesia reports:

The opening of the forum saw President Museveni speak about trade and investment on the same day as the trial of two men charged with homosexuality starts in Uganda. The trial is the first since the new anti-gay law was passed earlier this year.

3_museveniMuseveni also spoke at the St. James Court Hotel where his speech was accompanied by "a constant background disruption" from a protest organized by the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, with the support of STOPAIDS, the RMT union and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

"Foreign Office collaboration with the Ugandan government and support for the UK-Uganda Business Forum calls into question David Cameron’s commitment to tackling rising homophobia in Uganda and across Africa," according to the activists.

The demonstrators discussed the protest in a press release:

"It is hypocritical for the UK government to claim to be promoting LGBTI rights internationally and at the same time rolling out the red carpet for regimes like Uganda that persecute gay people," said Edwin Sesange, the Ugandan Director of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group.

"The UK government should come clean on its progress with promoting gay rights in countries like Uganda that they host and collaborate with. At this early stage since the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) became law, it is questionable for Ugandan government ministers to claim that the campaign against the homophobic legislation has had no effect on the Ugandan economy and inward investment. President Museveni is more likely to attract foreign investors if he ensures good governance, financial probity and human rights. The AHA is a negative, which is turning off many would-be western investors,” said Mr Sesange.

Peter Tatchell (below, right), Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation, added:

“Gay people are not the cause of Uganda’s problems. The government of Uganda should fight poverty and HIV, not gay people. It is two-faced for the UK government to condemn homophobia while hosting President Museveni, whose government has legislated one of the world’s most draconian anti-gay laws. The Anti-Homosexuality Act punishes any form of same-sex contact - even mere kissing and caressing - with mandatory life imprisonment. Museveni is a tyrant who presides over a corrupt regime that is guilty of widespread human rights violations, including the arrest of opposition leaders, torture and the suppression of free speech. The UK government should not be drumming up business to sustain his autocratic rule."

(images via the peter tatchell foundation)

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Study Reveals 93 Percent Of Male College Athletes Have Cuddled Or Spooned With Other Men

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A study published last month in the journal Men and Masculinities revealed that 39 out of 40 white, male, British university undergraduate athletes have shared a bed with another guy; 37 out of 40 of them have also cuddled or spooned with other guys too.

Most participants cuddled with other guys for physical comfort and because they felt safe around their same-sex friends. Another student cited cuddling as a way to help one another recover from hangovers.

While such a small study's findings do not necessarily apply to the world at large, the researchers concluded, “the expansion of esteemed homosocial behaviors for heterosexual men is evidence of an expansion of changing conceptions of masculinity in contemporary culture.”

That is, young men might feel more comfortable touching one another because social attutudes towards masculinity are changing as well.

The New Republic also notes:

“Sociologist David Plummer also thought homophobia was responsible for the taboo on same-sex touching: ‘Homoeroticism is … excised from same-sex interactions through homophobic stigma, leaving little but physical violence and particular ritualized sporting activities as outlets for male same-sex touch.’”

(top screencap via)

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Royal Marines 'Go Commando' For Charity Calendar: PHOTOS

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In addition to naughty or nice Jewish boys and James Franco with cats, your calendar collection can now include the sexy shirtless (and occasionally pantsless) soldiers of the Royal Marines. The black-and-white photo shoot by prize-winning photographer Emily Nolan presents the uniformly ripped soldiers in various states of undress for a charity calendar celebrating 350 years of the Royal Marines. Funds raised by sales of the calendar will go towards goals such as childcare and sports facilities for the RM as well as educational grants, among other projects. The calendar costs just £5 and can be purchased through Go Commando's online store.

More shots, AFTER THE JUMP....

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Bans on Discussion of Homosexuality in UK Schools on the Rise

Delegates at the UK’s Union of Teachers annual conference this week reported a growing number of schools have begun introducing bans on the promotion or positive portrayal of homosexuality.

The wording of many of these bans apparently mirrors that of Section 28 - the controversial clause introduced under the Thatcher Government in the late 1980s.

The Independent reports:

Uk schoolDeborah Glynn, from St Helens, Lancashire, cited research by the British Humanist Association to the conference which, she said, showed that there are many schools bringing this wording back into their policies.

"A lot are fundamentalist groups - mainly Christian," she said.

She said she had worked in one academy which had done this, but which had subsequently withdrawn the words after negotiations.

A number of schools cited in the BHA research did withdraw the wording after it was pointed out to them. They said they had severely inherited the words of previous agreements, and not realised until it was pointed out to them what they had done.

"All schools can draw up their own sex education policy but they must ensure they do not discriminate unfairly on grounds of sexual orientation,” a Department of Education spokesman said. “Our sex and relationship education guidance makes it clear that schools should not promote any sexual orientation.”


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