The "kill the gays" bill in Uganda isn't law (yet), but violence and a Salem-like atmosphere have been enough to drive gay people out. One of them is Daniel Dyson, a gospel singer who fled to the United States and settled in the Castro with the help of a Jewish organization.
"I am living really freely as a gay man. I'm what I am," he said. "I have freedom. I'm not afraid for my life anymore. I can sleep peacefully."
Dyson realized after arriving that "even in the U.S., gay people are fighting for their rights, their marriage rights," but after attending a celebratory LGBT advocacy function, he also knew that his challenges here would be a world away from the problems in Uganda.
"I said, 'Oh my God, these people are getting awards.' Back home, we were running for our life," he said.
It's pretty stunning to hear him talk about his new life in the heart of American gay culture when just a few years ago, in Uganda, he was effectively fighting in a civil war between straights and gays.
Terrified by a growing movement tinged with violent rhetoric, many in the Ugandan gay community went further underground. Dyson did the opposite, defending his community on radio talk shows and trying to fight common misconceptions.
"They were saying that we were destroying African culture, so I went to the media houses, trying to educate people that gay people, we are African people, we are here," he said.
He had been involved in low-profile lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activism for more than five years, but the barrage of venom grew in 2009. On his way back from a radio station that spring, armed men kidnapped and brutally assaulted Dyson, he said, leaving injuries from which he is still recovering. He fled across the Kenyan border several days later.
Dyson is part of a global dispora of gay people, many of them from Iran. As the article notes, homosexuality is illegal in 76 countries – punishable by death in seven. That's almost half of the world's nations. It's as if the Dark Ages are still casting an enormous shadow.