Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gay Witch Hunts – Uganda Hates Us!

Who would have thought that in this day and age real life witch hunts could still occur? Living in a country where homosexuality is legal and gay marriage has been made possible, I sometimes forget how fortunate I am, and sometimes I can be oblivious to the suffering of others. But every now-and-again I am reminded of how much hate still exists and that discrimination is still rampant. This led me to ask, do we as a world society really care enough about what happens outside the boarders of our own comfort zone to get off our lazy behinds to do something about it?
Sitting at home last night minding my own business desperately trying to clear my overflowing e-mail inbox I came across an e-mail from one of my Ugandan readers. In this e-mail I was told about a new Anti-Homosexuality bill that the Ugandan government proposes to pass in their parliament. My first reaction was to press delete, as I was just too tired to be bothered with the problems of this small African country. I tried to rationalize my initial disinterest by thinking “How is this my problem? I am only one person and even though I have empathy for my reader’s plight, what could I do about it?
Against my selfish first instinct I decided not to delete the e-mail and proceeded to read it. I was horrified to discover that this Anti-Homosexuality bill would not only criminalize homosexuality but also the promotion thereof and whether any Ugandan who’s gay or supports or promotes homosexuality or gay rights, no matter where they are in the world, could be prosecuted. Furthermore, any person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to a significant fine and up to 3 years in prison - even when this means turning in their colleagues, family, or friends! This sickened me! This seemed quite similar to the witch hunts that occurred in the period of 1480 to 1700!
Being the little menacing faggot I am I decided not to let this go - something needed to be done about this pending injustice! Being all worked up and ready to put on my pink boxing cloves the little activist in me was sorely disappointed when I realized this was 9pm on a Friday night and no gay rights groups would pick up their office phones if I called. Even though we queers are well organized we do not have a 24 hour emergency call centre and I was not about to burden my already high phone bill by making international calls. Now being “all dressed up” but nowhere to go, so to speak, I had to think of a Plan B.

Like a lightning bolt it struck me, why not use the power of the internet. Surely I could get the message out by utilizing the numerous social networking pages I labor over and have been nurturing for so many years. Surely some of my friends and contacts will be as enraged by the Ugandan governments’ asinine new proposed bill. So I leaped into cyber action sending out messages to as many people as I could, spreading to word into cyberspace hoping it would fall on interested and willing ears.

Having put the message out there and trusting that the gay community will react in force I waited and waited for any inkling of queer life in the form of a response. Hours passed and nothing, not even a “Please stop harassing me with stupid action alerts while I am trying to have cyber sex on Facebook!” My plan B seemed to have failed and I was frustrated. As I shutdown my computer shortly after 11pm, I could not help but wonder if my Ugandan friend and reader would now unsubscribe from my blog and I felt like I let him down.
Waking up this morning, feeling like I failed I decided to peruse some of my social networking pages. To my delight I had several messages from concerned and angered friends wanting to know how they could help. There was queer life out there in cyberspace and they cared! A few didn’t even know that Uganda existed, some even thinking it was a state in the United States they haven’t heard off, but never the less they cared enough to do something! So we started an e-mail campaign writing to the Ugandan government and our own governments demanding action and having this perilous Anti-Homosexuality bill stopped.

Having had a good response my faith in us as a world society has been restored. We are not all selfish and self-centered creatures who only cares about how gorgeous our boyfriends and girlfriends are, whether our local gay club will up their entrance fees and if we will need to up our Botox treatments from every 6 months to 3. When the rights of our gay brothers and sisters are threatened some of us are willing to get off our lazy behinds and enthusiastically put in an effort to protect them. My only wish is that more people will do the same.

Till next time.


Homophobia

14 comments:

Pierre said...

If you would like to help please visit http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=6433252801&topic=11366 for more details.

Lauren said...

Couple of suggestions. Send a note to the folks or post at http://firedoglake.com/ It is a huge progressive activist site, as is dailykos.com.
Lauren

Pierre said...

Thanks Lauren will do.

Lauren said...

Forgot one: John Aravosis at http://www.americablog.com/ He's got another progressive political site and also blogs about gay issues.

CatLadyLarew said...

Hey, Pierre... You say LeRoux, I say Larew, but we're all related somehow! I missed the news about whole Uganda bill... I'm sorry to say I can picture them hunting down and prosecuting gays and their supporters. ACK! Will visit the facebook site and try to spread the word.

Also loved the video... guess I must be gay because I hang out with gay people.

Can you believe my word verification is "dewar"... gotta go to war on this one.
(Memo to self: cancel trip to Uganda.)

Pierre said...

CatLadyLarew, interesting that we kinda share the same last name.

Picturing the hunting down of gay people and their supporters in Uganda frightens me. I hope it will never happen. I also did not know about this bill until last night as it also failed to make the news in South Africa. I guess the issue of gays being persecuted in Uganda is not worthy of any headlines.

If the rest of the world fails to care about what happens there it would be a shame. So I hope more people are informed of this and that the passing of that bill can be prevented.

Sheria said...

Thanks for the enlightenment about the proposed legislation in Uganda and for the FB link on how to do something. The most frustrating thing is feeling powerless to do anything other than be outraged by injustice.

Cobus Fourie said...

Kudos Pierre! We sent out messages to a great number of people. A press release is to be sent out very soon and the legal fraternity has joined in as well.

Pierre said...

@ Sheria it's a pleasure. None of us are powerless if we have the courage to stand up for our rights and for those who needs our help.

@ Cobus, thanks for the support. I didn't know the South African wing of GLAAD worked after hours - I am impressed! Thanks a million for your support. I am sure all our GLBT family in Uganda appreciate your concern and effort. Hope we get this Bill stopped!

Cobus Fourie said...

We work all day, every day, we never take leave - the cause is too important.

Our press release is approved by the board and went out - I'll be working on an article for mainstream news till the wee hours of the morning like I did the whole weekend :)

Pierre said...

Thanks Cobus! It's really appreciated!

Pierre said...

Human rights groups blast Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009

(by Rhonda J Mangus | October 18, 2009 at 06:46 am)

Human rights groups blast Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill, which includes a section that would introduce the death penalty for the offence of "aggravated homosexuality." The draft Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced on October 14, 2009 in Uganda's parliament. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill clearly violates the human right to non-discrimination, to be free from violence and harassment, the right to life, the right to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and freedom of movement.

Uganda's Penal Code Article 145a of the Penal Code Act of 1950 already criminalizes "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" – a charge used to prosecute, persecute and blackmail LGBT people with the threat of life imprisonment.

The bill proposes stricter penalties for homosexual acts, already illegal in the East African nation, and the death penalty for anyone who engages in same-sex relations with children under 18 and disabled people or who is HIV-positive while having gay sex.

"This bill is a blow to the progress of democracy in Uganda," David Kato of Sexual Minorities Uganda said in a statement on Thursday. "Its spirit is profoundly undemocratic and un-African."

Gays are already subject to persecution and arbitrary arrest in Uganda. Rights groups said people suspected of being gay have been assaulted, received death threats and face discrimination.

The bill also proposes a seven-year jail sentence for the "promotion of homosexuality."

The joint statement by the rights groups, which include New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the bill would "criminalise the legitimate work of national and international activists and organisations working for the defence and promotion of human rights in Uganda."

Source: timeslive.co.za

Pierre said...

INTERNATIONAL GAY & LESBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMISSION

Action Alert: Uganda

http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/globalactionalerts/989.html

Thomas Krawford said...

i'm still learning about cyberspace new world.
thank you for your stick to itiveness.

Uganda! let here be the temple from where the wrecking ball swings first.

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