Article written

  • on 29.04.2014
  • at 02:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

QAR: An Essay David Kato Kisule 0

David Kato submitted this short essay to the editors of the Queer African Reader just a month before he was murdered on 26 January 2011. David Kato was a teacher and prominent LGBTI activist in Uganda who served as advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

Just weeks before his death, David won a landmark case against a Ugandan tabloid newspaper that published pictures of 100 people, including David, in an article calling for the hanging of lesbian and gay Ugandans. This essay is published here, with very few edits, in remembrance of David Kato and all those who have fallen in the struggle for LGBTI equality.

In this country, it is absurd that as the LGBTI community strives to liberate its community to attain not special rights but equal rights like others, they are caught up in a dilemma. Having sodomy laws and oppressive laws (which have long been repealed at their countries of origin!), the massive investment by foreign religious groups in African communities, the recent spread of homophobia promoting sustained hatred and the global reproduction of homophobia institutionally by American Evangelicals, has made matters worse for the survival of the LGBTI community in such countries.

In the name of protecting a traditional family, the Evangelicals recently prompted the drafting of the anti-homosexuality bill in the Ugandan parliament as a private member’s bill which affects not only the LGBTI community but, if passed, will have global repercussion to the entire community. This is why there is need to approach and confront the bill as a global problem with global repercussions. There is also need to use vibrant and outspoken ways to speak about the bill not simply as ‘expressing homophobia’ but as promoting sustained hatred and violence. There is a great need to raise debate about global systems that currently work to reproduce homophobic authoritarianism throughout the world.

In Uganda, as the LGBTI community has become more visible in regard to demand for inclusion in government health strategies, in the fight to close all gaps of HIV spread, legislators have come up with legislations of criminalising even consensual same sex proposing a death penalty!
This has made many return to the closet and made more vulnerable to the scourge. Some have been arrested, harassed, detained and some have died in the process. Many thrown out of homes, houses, schools and others humiliated (canned in public, raped) like there is institutionalised homophobia since fueling it is by policy makers and the perpetrators have gone on with impunity! Lesbians raped by family members and others in the name of curing them from lesbianism and in process catching HIV!

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Direttore Responsabile Stefano Arduini