Thursday, August 6, 2009

An Anti-Gay, HIV Activist


Is that possible? Logically, an HIV activist should not be anti-gay. Or is that not so logical?

I have been reading the Lancet article about HIV and gay men in Africa. Seems as if we gay Africans have been living an alternate reality. An artificial reality forced upon us and perpetuated by ignorance, by hate and by pure, undiluted conceit.

Is it possible to be an HIV activist who is rabidly and frankly anti-gay?

In Africa, it is. In Uganda it is.

Why should it be ‘impossible’? How can a person fight HIV and at the same time fight gay men, historically the most vulnerable group of human beings to HIV infection?

Reading the article, some scientific facts have been glaringly visible. Forgive me, if you are from the west and do not live the reality of an African gay man. These are things which, more than 26 years since the appearance of HIV amongst us human beings, these are facts which are known truths.

These are the facts.

  • HIV/AIDS was first identified and diagnosed amongst gay men.

  • Gay men were very quickly identified as a very high risk group to HIV. Highly vulnerable.

  • Extensive (gay men inspired) prevention programmes soon proved that the dreaded disease could be controlled. Even before drugs were available.

And what happened in Africa?

We were, (and still are), invisible.

So, it is possible for an HIV activist to be anti-gay. Who?

Ssempa of course. Pastor Martin Ssempa.

In Uganda, he has been lauded as an HIV activist. He has worn awards. He has campaigned for ‘moral’ HIV prevention. Abstinence. Being Faithful. He has gone to the US and before Congress testified about HIV and prevention in Uganda. He has earned degrees on that basis, including a doctorate (hope am not streatching the truth too much.)

Ok, he has also burnt condoms as bad HIV prevention measures. He is anti-Condom.

And the same individual is anti-gay.

He has won awards for his anti-gay activism. He has started gay witch-hunts in society, in church. His aim is clear, and he has stated it often. To Eliminate Homosexuality from the Country. He is a very (the most) vocal anti-gay activist in the country, if not on the continent. He believes that gay people are the depths of evil. And he believes that gay Africans, gay Ugandans should not have HIV prevention programmes. In his words, having an HIV prevention programme for gay Ugandans would be furthering the homosexual agenda. True, here are the exact words as quoted. “These people are just looking at ways of legitimising their practice, which is illegal and deviant in our society,” said Pastor Ssempa. “Our previous experience showed us that bringing homosexuals into campaigns against HIV only gives them a chance to propagate their illegal and unnatural acts.”

So, Ssempa believes that, it is better for gay Ugandans to get HIV than for the country’s moral purity to be risked by making sure that gay Ugandans get an HIV prevention programme.

Better to have HIV than to have homosexuals.

I know, if you are from the west, you are shaking your head. Is it possible? (Oh, I had forgotten that this illustruous HIV activist did testify to the US Congress. It is in the west...!)

Absolutely. And, just to rub some salt into the wounds of your incredulity, let me inform you that the individual is a Christian, who does all this in the name of Jesus, and loving homosexuals. He is an outstanding, upright man, fiery, hell and brimstone preacher and messenger of god.

Anyway, this would all not matter if he stayed at home and did nothing about his pet hate. Truth, if I sat back and didn’t write these articles, these posts, my incredulous examination of Ssempa would remain a personal issue. So it is with him…

Ssempa is a very powerful man, a huge fish in a small pond. Granted, he is not as huge as Kayanja, the pastor that he spitefully accused of homosexuality. But Ssempa is big. He moves in rarefied circles. He hobnobs with the president, was in fact a representative of the First Lady when he testified in the US congress. For years, he has held sway in the HIV prevention programs in the country, pushing an anti-condom, pro-abstinence and pro-faithfullnes programme in the country. His gimmicks and bombastry don’t hide the fact that he is listened to, and influences programmes.

Fact, 25 years after the start of this epidemic, gay Ugandans have just started getting access to information. To know that they are at risk, (oh, they thought they were not. After all, HIV prevention was frankly heterosexual. Why not assume that homosexual sex is risk free?) They have just learnt that oil based lubricants destroy condoms. They are learning that condoms, when used correctly, do protect. And, they are learning that the necessary, life saving, water-based lubricants are not available in the country. Yes, we are learning. Slow, but surely. It is a global village. Knowledge couldn’t be hidden completely, and forever. Let us for a moment remember the thousands of our friends who have died needlessly of HIV, who are living with a virus they could have prevented.

Granted that Ssempa follows ‘moral HIV prevention’, but God help us immoral, useless sinners. HIV prevention for those of us who are homosexual is not moral. So, by that criteria, it is entirely consistent to be an HIV activist who is fiercely anti-homosexual. Anti-gay.

He wants tougher laws, (current laws allow us to talk to other people, and to have sex. Though, if caught, we risk a life time in prison.) He doesn’t want a gay HIV prevention program in Uganda. Oh, he has worked against it, and rails that the homosexual money which comes into the country is for ‘recruitment’ of homosexuals. It is not for HIV prevention, but ‘making youths homosexual’.

Genocide?

This is a question I have asked before. Look up the word, it means the elimination of a group of people defined by a characteristic. Intentional elimination.

I cannot truthfully say that Ssempa DOESN’T know that HIV is a major problem amongst gay men. Does he want gay Ugandans to get HIV? He will say no. He doesn’t. His actions for upward of 25 years have intimated something else. He has the knowledge, but he stands in the way. His actions say he wants gay Ugandans to get HIV. He will deny them knowledge of HIV prevention. He will deny them condoms. He will deny them water based lubricant. He will allow them the ignorance of believing that they are not particularly at risk from HIV. Infection, death by hate and ignorance.

Reminds me of Jesus (read him as a philosopher and you will be surprised at the depth of his insight.) Jesus was railing against Pharisees. They stand in a doorway, and don’t enter. And they refuse every one else from entering.

Apt. Very apt.

An anti-gay HIV activist? In the virtual, un-earthly, reality of Uganda, Pastor Martin Ssempa manages to be exactly that rare, impossible thing.



gug

4 comments:

Jim & Phio said...

Your analysis is interesting! I find that you treat Homosexuality and HIV/AIDS as though having one is equal to have the other. Homosexuality agenda has always sought to ride of the plight of the HIV/AIDS and Human Right for it's Existence and spread. The rampancy of HIV among homosexuals should send a clear signal that homosexuality is unnatural. Please read more. Don't base on only one research.

Jimmy

GLBTQ Jamaica Linkup Mod said...

I beg your pardon Jimmy, don't forget that it is str8s who labelled AIDS as a gay disease, remember the name b4 they changed it to HIV/AIDS it was called GRIDS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay-related_immune_deficiency so since we were left in the cold and people were dropping like flies why not manage the situation and thats all that has happened in many jurisdictions around the world. The only HIV/AIDS NGO in my country was started just like that because the formal system turned a blind eye to the instances of death due to AIDS related complications so out of a high rise apartment it was formed and now it serves many HIVers gay and str8 alike.

Please riding what plight?

WTF

spiralx said...

One: There is no "homosexuality agenda".

Two: Gug is following up on The Lancet study which reminds us of what we all knew - that African regimes ignore sexual minority behaviour at their own peril when formulating HIV/AIDS treatment policy.

Three: Human rights are based on the UN 1948 Declaration. In Uganda they are added to (not substituted for) by the Ugandan Constitution. Sexual minorities are as entitled to those as any other human being. "Gay rights" are simply one small aspect of human rights, as you would find if you read said Declaration and Constitution.

Four: does the "rampancy" of HIV among heterosexuals "send a clear signal" that heterosexuality is unnatural?

No,of course not. Next you'll be saying that if God intended us to fly He/She/It would have given us wings.

spiralx said...

One: There is no "homosexuality agenda".

Two: Gug is following up on The Lancet study which reminds us of what we all knew - that African regimes ignore sexual minority behaviour at their own peril when formulating HIV/AIDS treatment policy.

Three: Human rights are based on the UN 1948 Declaration. In Uganda they are added to (not substituted for) by the Ugandan Constitution. Sexual minorities are as entitled to those as any other human being. "Gay rights" are simply one small aspect of human rights, as you would find if you read said Declaration and Constitution.

Four: does the "rampancy" of HIV among heterosexuals "send a clear signal" that heterosexuality is unnatural?

No,of course not. Next you'll be saying that if God intended us to fly He/She/It would have given us wings.

Post a Comment