Messages from and for Uganda.
I received email today from someone concerned about draconian antigay legislation under consideration in Uganda. This is the legislation that conservative megachurch pastor Rick Warren felt compelled to publicly oppose on December 10th
. I present below the text of that email, then my reply.
Here in Uganda, gays are at risk of being segregated from society and there is a bill they want to pass for any one to be sentenced to death if found guilty.
How can you assist us here? I want to start an under ground movement of gays but I need a house where we shall be meeting without being detected.
Waiting to he[ar] from you.
Below is the extract from the media
Kampala — A stringent Bill against homosexuality is in the offing, the state minister for ethics and integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo, has said.
Addressing a press conference at the Media Centre yesterday, Buturo said the country was besieged by homosexuality, pornography, prostitution, human sacrifice, drug abuse, embezzlement and witchcraft to the extent that it was "dangerously becoming a permissive society."
He noted that once the Bill is passed into law, it will be an offence to publish and distribute literature on homosexuality or advocate for it.
He also stated that it would become impossible for homosexuals to address press conferences and attract people to their cause, once the Bill becomes law.
He, however, declined to reveal the penalties for offenders.
Buturo said he was under pressure from some development partners "to go slow on homosexuals".
He disclosed that some donors were threatening to withdraw funding if Uganda becomes more hostile to homosexuals.
"I all the time tell them to leave us alone. I say (to them) that Uganda's integrity is more than the money they give us. We are not going to be taken advantage of on account of financial support," Buturo stated.
After all, he remarked, 70% of the aid that Uganda gets is repatriated.
The minister dismissed the notion that people are born homosexual.
"Ugandans who are choosing to promote illegality should not abuse the rights of the majority," he warned.
Buturo urged religious institutions to fight immorality, arguing that they are "supremely mandated to address matters of the soul."
He disclosed that he was looking after 60 former homosexuals, saying they are under threat from their former colleagues. He, however, did not name the place where they are being kept.
We have no contacts in Uganda who might be able to assist, I'm sorry to say. It is extremely bizarre that a continent that is being ravaged by poverty brought on by grotesque overpopulation, which is causing habitat destruction that threatens many species, sees homosexuality, a natural control on overpopulation, as an enemy to be suppressed. Yes, by all means let heterosexuals destroy Africa's wildlife, forests, and grasslands, and produce mass starvation, dehumanizing poverty, and desertification. We wouldn't want populations to be in balance with nature!
I think that while there is still time, before passage of any law that might forbid open statements to media in favor of homosexual rights, gay men in Uganda and who can reach Ugandans from outside the country need to make precisely this point: that in the work of creating a better future, homosexuality is a potentially huge HELP, not harm. I will put this email exchange into my Mr. Gay Pride blog, WITHOUT your name (unless you want it to appear, with or without your email address), which will provide a means for people with Internet access to consider this matter. Some of them may have ways to help, and if anyone contacts me to offer assistance, I will let you know. But that blog has a very small readership at present. Alas, there is no major way we can help change attitudes in a backward country. We are still trying to change attitudes in the United States. Good luck.