Friday, 31 May 2013

Nigeria Outlaws Gay Rights


Some shocking news coming out of Nigeria:

Nigeria's House of Representatives voted Thursday to ban gay marriage and outlaw any groups actively supporting gay rights, endorsing a measure that also calls for 10-year prison sentences for any "public show" of affection by a same-sex couple...

Under the proposed law, Nigeria would ban any same-sex marriage from being conducted in either a church or a mosque. Gay or lesbian couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Anyone taking part in a group advocating for gay rights or anyone caught in a "public show" of affection also would face 10 years in prison if convicted by a criminal court...

Chidi Odinkalu, the chairman of Nigeria's National Human Rights Commission, said he only learned about the House's vote late Thursday night. He said the bill, if passed into law, likely would be challenged in court.

Nigeria is both Africa's most populous nation and holds one of the world's highest numbers of people infected with HIV/AIDS.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Simon Lokodo Case, Part IV

Justice Eldad Mwangushya


The news we've all been waiting for in the Simon Lokodo case.

Judge Mwangushya finally managed to get out of bed for the trial this time, and even went so far as to make a groundbreaking decision...

He's referring the case to another judge.

The judge who was in charge was moved to court of Appeal, so his cases will have to be assigned to different judges of the High Court... The case will only be heard once the transfer to the new judge has been made.

And the saga drags on.

UPDATE: Ah, no, we were wrong. He did stay in bed:

The 27th of May 2013 was the hearing for the case of Kasha Jacqueline and 3 others Vs. Attorney General & Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo before his Lordship Justice Eldad Mwangusya as earlier communicated and indicated in the High court cause list for this week.

The Presiding judge did not appear in the open court, he also declined to write the judgement in the case. He indicated that he has very little time left until he takes up his new position at the Court of Appeal.

The case file will now be allocated to another Judge. Justice Musota, who has been a resident judge in Mbale will replace the presiding judge and is likely to handle the case. Justice Musota is expected to report to the civil division on 15th July 2013.

Our hopes for hearing the case expeditiously are fading but we shall keep going.

Looks like the Court of Appeal has gained a valuable asset.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Friday, 24 May 2013

Ugandan Activists Arrested

 Photo Journalist Tim McCarthy and
SMUG Executive Director Frank Mugisha

Yesterday, dramatic footage was released of a peaceful protest in favour of a free media, which ended tragically as police brutally attacked protesters. After running for cover, the last words on the footage are those of a protester begging police to relax: "okay, okay, okay - please, please, please."

Several of the protesters were also from the LGBT community:

We attended the demonstration to support a free press. As LGBTI people we know that we are the ones often denied media access, so we went in support of the media. Hopefully, the larger straight society will see that LGBTI Ugandans support all forms of rights and that LGBTI people should be equally supported by them.

Another article, by Ugandan LGBT Activists Arrested While Protesting Media Censorship explains:

...several LGBT Ugandans and an American photojournalist joined other demonstrators in a peaceful rally demanding freedom of the press. The activists held a mock funeral procession for the independent radio outlets and newspapers that were recently shuttered by Ugandan officials, but police attacked the protesters, injuring photojournalist Tim McCarthy, and arrested Ugandan LGBT activists Richard Lusimbo and Komugisha Shawn.

The latest report provided to The Advocate notes that Lusimbo and Shawn are both still in jail, along with three other human rights activists who were arrested. LGBT advocacy group Sexual Minorities Uganda is at the jail, working to get the activists released. SMUG indicated that Lusimbo's hand was injured by police and reported that Shawn was in need of emergency medical attention.  

Komugisha managed to Facebook:

being charged with unlawful assembly.... our lawyers are here now going to make statements

We will continue to report on this.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Gay Love In Pre-Colonial Africa

A documentary on homosexuality in African history, with a focus on Uganda. We'd also like to share this piece of contemporary poetry, In My Own, by Qat.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Uganda's HIV Crisis

Uganda, a country once hailed as winning the war on HIV/AIDS, is slipping further and further behind.

In 2007, a group of LGBT Ugandans staged a protest outside an international conference on HIV/AIDS in Kampala. According to one source:

They were demonstrating over the exclusion of gay people as a high-priority group in the fight against AIDS. Although gay men in Uganda have a high HIV prevalence of 26%, they are not given the same level of support or inclusion as other groups such as soldiers, prostitutes and transient workers.

They were arrested. 

In response, Ugandan clergy threatened to take UNAIDS, the United Nations’ program on HIV/AIDS prevention, to court for its support of gay rights campaigners. Paul Kamya of Namirembe Christian Fellowship asserted:

"…we need a formal apology from Dr. Sibide [Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS] and his group for their continued support towards immoral activities. Uganda is a holy nation and it must be preserved…” – reported by Johnson M. Kyeswa,, 06/14/2008.

What can you do to help a country that threatens to sue people for trying to reduce the HIV/AIDS infection rate?

Spectrum Uganda calls for greater HIV testing for LGBTI community amid hostility

Saturday, 18 May 2013


IDAHO, as well as being a state in North America, also stands for International Day Against Homophobia, sometimes elongated to International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). 

That was yesterday, 17th May, and the Ugandan LGBT Community took the opportunity to call on Uganda's media to stop the homophobic outing of gay people:

Despite the High Court judgement against the Rolling Stone newspaper in January 2011, tabloids like Red Pepper routinely flout the fundamental right to privacy of the LGBTI community in Uganda. On February 24 2013, the Red Pepper published an article entitled “Top Uganda Gay Recruiters Busted”, in which it printed names and photographs of people it claimed were gay...

On this 2013 International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, the LGBTI community Calls on Journalists, Editors and Owners of Media Organizations in Uganda to:

1. 1. Respect the spirit and express terms of the judgement against Rolling Stone newspaper, and refrain from publishing articles, which serve only to undermine the deeply held values of tolerance and respect for diversity upon which Ugandan society is founded.

2. 2. Exercise respect for the fundamental right to privacy, as enshrined in the Constitution of Uganda, of the LGBTI community in Uganda.

Calls on the Government of Uganda to:

Reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is still pending in Parliament, that incites unnecessary prejudice, hatred and violence in the communities where we live and makes us daily targets for hate crimes, making it impossible for us to live freely.

Punish any violence targeted towards LGBTI Ugandans for their sexual orientation and identities, as human rights are inherent regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The reason IDAHO is held on 17th May is because:

On this day 23 years ago, the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders. This action served to end more than a century of medical homophobia.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said ending homophobia is ‘critical’ to the UN’s work and called for an end to anti-gay laws and better education.

His comments were delivered today (17 May) at an event in The Hague, The Netherlands, to mark International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO)...

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises a world that is free and equal, and we will only honor that promise if everyone – without exception – enjoys the protection they deserve."
This ties in nicely with their recent video against homophobia.

Freedom & Roam Uganda have also issued their own statement and write-up marking the occasion.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Mental Issue in Uganda

Members of America's largest lunatic asylum
Westboro Baptist Church
A few days ago we had an interesting comment on our post about Canada declaring homophobic hate speeches to be hate crimes (see the link between the two?), which read:

Religious fundamentalism of any sort should be re-classified a mental illness and treated accordingly. You have to have some serious personal issues to wish to maim, kill and destroy the lives of others to make your own life meaningful.

Seems our readers aren't the only ones thinking along these lines:

“Christianity is a mental issue in Uganda”
The average Ugandan Christian is a cesspit writhing with jealousy, pettiness, sexual immorality, thievery, dogmatic heresies, selfishness and extraordinary ignorance. This piece of creation thinks that by attending religious services once a week and engaging in all manner of social filth during the other 6 days, it will earn eternal life.

Strong views indeed. It's long been motioned by liberal thinking Ugandans that you can't call homosexually 'un-African' and 'a western import' whilst simultaneously fighting it beneath the banner of Christ. Immediately makes you look like a prat.

Alongside the shocking revelation what Christianity might not be entirely altruistic, Uganda is also waking up to another uncomfortable fact that most of the Western world cottoned onto a few decades back: the Catholic church has a history of harbouring kiddie fiddlers.

Fr. Anthony Musaala “ostracized”for publicizing priest sexual abuse in Uganda
He is a celebrity across eastern and central Africa, a gospel music star known to many as the “Dancing Priest.” But for years he also was a keeper of painful secrets — his own and many others’.

In going public, Anthony Musaala has forced the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda to confront a problem it had insisted didn’t exist. And he may stir a debate far beyond Africa’s most Catholic of countries.

The Ugandan priest has been suspended indefinitely by the archbishop of Kampala for exposing what he calls an open secret: Sex abuse in the Catholic Church is a problem in Africa as well as in Western Europe and North America.

Sadly, Father Musaala, welcome to the club of disillusionment when faced with this level of sex abuse 'endemic' in Catholic institutions.

Christian fundamentalists have long enjoyed linking homosexuality to child abuse and paedophilia, largely to detract from the fact that it is not the gay community, but the Church, who are committing these crimes on a global scale.

Freedom & Roam: New Board

Freedom and Roam Uganda, one of the key coalition organisations of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) have just elected their new board of trustees:

Kampala: Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), a 10year old, women’s rights organization dedicated to the strive of rights of Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LBTI) persons in Uganda, elected the second, five member board of directors to a three year tenure, by 29 members of the organization in an Extra Ordinary General Meeting.

Meanwhile, one of their leading members, and internationally recognised human rights defender, Kasha Jacqueline, makes the front cover of Ireland's GCN magazine this month. You can stay up to date with FARUG on Facebook and Twitter: @Far_Uganda

Proud of South Korea

Hot on the heels of the UNHRC Video, and South Korea opening its doors to a Ugandan lesbian refugee, we bring you news that: Over hundred LGBT South Koreans and allies record video against gay hate

The song is called You Make Me Proud

Go South Korea!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

UNHRC Video + World Wide Wave

World Wide Wave in Australia has also released a podcast focusing on Uganda:

Uganda: Constant fear of being killed
(click play button at the bottom of the post)

It includes interviews with Katherine Fairfax-Wright, director of Call me Kuchu, and trans activist Cleo Kambugu.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Italian Ambassador Pays Visit

Mr Shire, H.E. Dejak and Mr Sewanyana briefing the press 

The Ambassador expressed his appreciation for the work of EHAHRDP in promoting and protecting the rights of human rights defenders throughout the East and Horn of Africa sub-region. “Human rights defenders are essential partners in promoting democracy and good governance,” said H.E. Mr Dejak. “We see individuals and organisations giving their all to build fairer societies and at times facing threats as a result of their courageous work. EHAHRDP gives them the support they need to carry on.”

Based in Kampala since 2005, EHAHRDP is the secretariat of a network of human rights defenders from Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia (and Somaliland), South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Through its three main programmes of Protection and Security, Capacity-Building, and Advocacy and Research, EHAHRDP seeks to strengthen the work of human rights defenders by reducing their vulnerability to the risk of persecution and by enhancing their capacity to effectively defend human rights.

No specific mention of the situation for LGBT campaigners appears to have been made.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Anti-Gay Speeches 'Hate Crime'


In an incredibly brave move, Canada, who has already cut funding to Evangelical groups, has now gone one step further:

It pointed back to the lower court ruling, which asserted, “While the courts cannot be drawn into the business of attempting to authoritatively interpret sacred texts such as the Bible, those texts will typically have characteristics which cannot be ignored if they are to be properly assessed in relation to … the [Hate Crimes] Code.”

The judges did note, however, that “it would only be unusual circumstances and context that could transform a simple reading or publication of a religion’s holy text into what could objectively be viewed as hate speech.”

Commentator Andrew Coyne noted that the wording of Canada’s hate crimes law is problematic because it leaves much discretion in the hands of law enforcement.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Ethiopia Seeks Death Penalty

Stop Promoting Homophobia in Ethiopia  

News from the Facebook group Stop the Gay Genocide in Africa is that Ethiopia is now seeking its own version of the Bahati Bill:

ADDIS ABABA: With an anti-gay organization announcing it is looking to follow Uganda and implement a “death to gays” legislation that would see the death penalty enacted against lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the country, activists in the country are hoping they can bring about acceptance before such measures are taken.

“We understand that the idea of being gay scares people in this country and the majority believe gay people are not deserving of equality,” activist and gay Ethiopian David Emete told

This follows on from Nigeria and Ghana's deteriorating stance on LGBT freedom. 

However, it's not all doom and gloom. Miss Botswana learned a valuable lesson on bigotry recently:

She was asked by one of the judges to state 2 challenges that face Botswana youth. To the dismay of the audience Mathers listed homosexuality as the first challenge. Apparently the audience booed loudly before she could even complete her answer.

You can sign the petition: Stop Promoting Homophobia in Ethiopia.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

"We Will Arrest Women"


Stephen Fry once said: "The only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbidly obese, and that in erotic terms is the Catholic Church."

Uganda's new anti-pornography bill is a fantastic example of this principle extended to a Christian government warped by an obsession with sex over basic common sense.

Uganda's Anti-Pornography Bill does put forward a definition of pornography... this definition does not seem to iron out ambiguities but rather embraces vagueness. Furthermore, the Bill's understanding of pornography is so broad as to extend it from something seen on our screens to something seen on our streets...

Uganda's Ethics and Integrity Minister and the main figure behind the Bill, has clarified: "Any attire which exposes intimate parts of the human body, especially areas that are of erotic function, are outlawed. Anything above the knee is outlawed. If a woman wears a miniskirt, we will arrest her."

As we know,  Simon Lokodo is about as ethical as slave labour.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Transwoman Brutally Beaten

A few weeks back, we reported on the NGO Transgender Equality Uganda being evicted from their offices. In that, we pointed to a post in their blog about a transgender woman who was hospitalised for looking 'abnormal'.

This article first appeared on my blog during a reporting trip to Kampala, Uganda in September 2012. I was there to investigate the impact of federally funded U.S. “faith based” organizations on anti-gay sentiment, stigma and resultant public policy in Uganda. 
During my stay, I was alerted to the brutal beating of a transwoman and invited to speak with her. Subsequently, she invited me to accompany her and a group of her friends and LGBT activists as they sought medical care, police help and eyewitnesses to the beating...

Beyonce was beaten into a coma at a club for not 'dressing like a man,' dragged from the toilet and thrown into the street. A friend of hers said a bouncer yelled at her, telling her, "Go home and put on men’s shoes."

A damning report on the state of Ugandan medical care and policing with regard to LGBT equality. Uganda is gaining a reputation around the world for its culture of hate and intolerance, which is a shame from a country that has so many more appealing cultural attributes to export.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Film News

Nice to hear that Call Me Kuchu, the documentary following the lives of LGBT people in Uganda as they face persecution, has picked up the Teddy Award for Best Documentary and the Cinema Fairbindet Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. It's due for release in America in June, but you can buy it or rent it from iTunes in the UK at the moment.

You can visit the Call Me Kuchu website, hold a screening, and follow @dogwoof and @CallMeKuchu on Twitter.

Another interesting film at the moment is God Loves Uganda, which documents the extent to which Christian evangelicals are funding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, as highlighted in this article: Christian right is losing on marriage but taking the gay hate battle to Africa

Friday, 3 May 2013


uganda gay petition
Image from this article.

We have recently seen the following information from Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights & Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL):

Parliament update

Early last week, the Coalition for Advancement of Moral Values (CAMOVA) compiled and distributed to MPs' pigeon holes a brief urging them to debate and pass the Anti Homosexuality Bill.

This is in no doubt a response to the failure to receive their Christmas gift as the speaker had promised last year.

NB: The attached brief contains very graphic and disturbing details/images of what this coalition, coordinated by Former Ethics minister Nsaba Buturo and Pastor Solomon Male et al consider to be the 'Horrors of homosexuality'.

In the brief, they state mythological and improbable 'evidence' to support their arguments as to why the bill should be passed.

Please read through and advise us on how to strategise and hopefully put a stop to this new campaign.

Thanks for your continued solidarity.

Due to the size of the PDFs, we've had to do them by page. You can download here:

Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

You can contact Clare Byarugaba at CSCHRCL to offer your input:
+ 256 (0) 414 343 556

Thursday, 2 May 2013

South African Teen Beaten and Starved to Death

Raymond Buys, seen laying on his death bed in April 2011, was allegedly starved, tortured and killed at a camp to turn him into a 'man'.
Raymond Buys, 15, shortly before he died.

Horrific images have surfaced of one of three young men signed up to Echo Wild Game Rangers training course in South Africa. They were signed up by their own parents, who felt that their children were either gay, or too effeminate. The courses sounded like a dream come true to them, offering to turn their kids into 'better men' for R22,000 ($2,400/€1,900/£1,600)

Just 10 weeks before, the teen’s parents signed him up to the Echo Wild Game Rangers training course in South Africa in perfect health.

In hospital, Buys was severely malnourished, dehydrated, his arm was broken in two places and there were burns and wounds all over his body. He lay in intensive care for four weeks until he died...

Gerhard Oostuizen, 19, claims Buys was chained to his bed every night, was refused permission to visit the toilet and on one occasion was forced to eat his own faeces.

He also said he would be beaten with planks, hosepipes and sticks when he failed to carry out manual labor tasks.

Oostuizen alleged further he saw De Koker tied Buys to a chair naked with his head covered in a pillowcase, and would electrocute him with a stun gun.

You can read more on this story here: Man up or die | murders of effeminate teens at South African Ranger Training Camp

There is also a Facebook group: Stop the Gay Genocide in Africa

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

South Korea Grants Asylum

Absolutely fantastic news for human rights from South Korea: Court grants Ugandan lesbian refugee status after family killed due to her sexuality

A 27-year-old Ugandan woman has become the first person to be granted refugee status in South Korea due to their sexuality.

The woman, who can not be named for legal reasons told a court that she feared for her life after her family members were killed by neighbours because she is a lesbian.

We're sorry, what was that President Museveni? No discrimination against, killing of, or marginalisation of gay people in Uganda? Wake up.