The News Room

Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Killed, African Lesbian Must "Repent or Reform"
Posted 1/27/2011 at 11:33 AM by Betsy L in Community Blog
Ugandan gay rights activist, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death in his home in Mukano, Uganda.

Last year, Kato's named appeared with his photograph in the Ugandan newspaper, Rolling Stone, as part of a list of "top 100 homosexuals" under a headline reading, "Hang Them".

CNN writes:
Activists decried the attack, and urged authorities in the east African nation to investigate the killing. They called on the government to protect them from violence, and act on threats and hostility toward them.

"David Kato's death is a tragic loss to the human rights community. David had faced the increased threats to Ugandan LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people bravely and will be sorely missed," said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.


The BBC writes:
Rolling Stone editor Giles Muhame told Reuters news agency he condemned the murder and that the paper had not wanted gays to be attacked.

"There has been a lot of crime, it may not be because he is gay," he said.

"We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them."


Read the CNN article and the BBC article.

The Guardian reports on an African lesbian who is being deported from Britain to Uganda. She has been told that she must "repent or reform" when she returns to Uganda.

The Guardian writes:
A lesbian woman due to be deported from Britain to Uganda has been told by a Ugandan MP that she must "repent or reform" when she returns home.

The politician, David Bahati, intervened in the case of Brenda Namigadde, due to be deported on Friday, saying he would drop a clause making homosexuality punishable by death in a bill he introduced to the Ugandan parliament.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender campaigners were sceptical of his pledge to drop the death penalty, and said that Bahatia's intervention meant Namigadde was in "desperate trouble" if deported.

Gay sex is a criminal offence in Uganda punishable by a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Bahati told the Guardian: "Brenda is welcome in Uganda if she will abandon or repent her behaviour. Here in Uganda, homosexuality is not a human right. It is behaviour that is learned and it can be unlearned. We wouldn't want Brenda to be painting a wrong picture of Uganda, that we are harassing homosexuals."

Asked what would happen if she did not "repent" he said: "If she is caught in illegal practices she will be punished. If she comes to promote homosexuality, if she is caught in the act, if she is caught in illegal acts, she will be punished. I would be surprised, if she was promoting homosexuality, if she were not arrested."


Read the entire article HERE.
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Kate P wrote:
The comment from the editor of the Ugandan Rolling Stone newspaper is infuriating.

"We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them."


Does Muhame feel this absolves him of any sort of blame??? He published a newspaper which TARGETED gay rights activists to be recipients of violent acts.

It is disgusting.
posted 1/27/2011 at 12:10 PM
Bryan B wrote:
Betsy thank you for posting this!

I worked with a group of college level students from Western Africa this summer and talked with them about GLBT Issues in African Culture. It varies depending on the tribe individuals are apart of but for the most part Homosexuality is not looked at positively across the continent.

I believe that this is not unique to the continent of Africa. GLBT Rights is a social issue that has gotten a lot of push back across the world. Violence against the GLBT community has appeared everywhere and this community needs to be included in the fight for human rights.
posted 1/27/2011 at 2:09 PM
Dawn E wrote:
This is just absolutely horrific -- so disgusting. This kind of hate and prejudice and violence HAS to be brought to an end!
posted 1/28/2011 at 9:23 AM
Jen C wrote:
Giles Muhame wrote:
"We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them."


This is crazy. What is the freaking difference!? Rather you are calling for the government to hang people for being gay versus citizens to bludgeon people because they are gay. Either way, you are calling for the death of someone just cause they are gay.

This is so sad and so hateful.
posted 1/28/2011 at 9:55 AM
Crystal G wrote:
violence should never be acted out by anyone, it is not up to anyone to cast judgement in the name ignorance, or in the name of self righteousness.
posted 1/31/2011 at 10:29 AM
Jes W wrote:
Cryastal T. wrote:
violence should never be acted out by anyone, it is not up to anyone to cast judgement in the name ignorance, or in the name of self righteousness.


I completely agree. I don't understand how the thought of government hanging and public attacks are seen as so different--that one is ok and the other is not. It's crazy to me the ways we allow and condone violence.
posted 2/7/2011 at 12:26 PM