Saturday, December 12, 2009

Reckless Courage

UPDATE; Yeah, I was lax. Didnt post the link to Val's story in the Monitor. Here it is.


The image is from the Monitor.

Val came out. But, her partner couldnt. So, it is she whose eyes are not...

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I have just been out.

Friday night, and on the streets were the Sat. Morning papers. Early editions. Saw the headline in Saturday Monitor. 'Forbidden Love'. Didnt take too much notice.

Till, a friend sent me an sms. Had I seen the Monitor?

I immediately got a copy. The forbidden love was gay love. And, a lady, a lesbian, Val Kalende, had grabbed the headlines, simply by telling her story. The story of a gay Ugandan who is threatened by this Anti-Homosexual bill. Which is slated to make Uganda 'perhaps the most dangerous place for a homosexual in the world'.

Note. I do not have too much faith in Nsaba-Buturo's statement that the bill no longer has death and life imprisonment. It was made to foreign media, and, he has not said so to Ugandan media. We dont know that it is true!

Anyway, the bill is making us get recklessly courageous. Val comes out, full face photo. With her partner. And the partner is disguised. Nothing is more poignant. They both are risking their very lives, grabbing the headlines like this, when they can. For, when the bill is passed, this kind of article will not be possible. But, she dared to do it. And, she grabbed the headline.

You have been seeing the intense debate outside the country?

Well, it has not been happening in Uganda. The Monitor, second largest in circulation, and the smaller Independent and Observer have been the most consistent in reporting. The New Vision, well, there is no debate on homosexuality ongoing.... No legitimisation of homosexuality by formenting debate. Not from the government owned paper.

I was talking about reckless courage.

Me, I am a coward. Oh, I have detailed what would make me come out. In anger of course. But...

Basically I am a coward. Pressed into a corner, even a gazelle can wound a lion.Maybe a lucky blow will take out an eye. And, that is what is driving some of my friends. They are going out for broke, presenting their slender necks for the dare to slash. For the knife.

Frank Mugisha. David Kato (called Cato in some articles. Dont know why, since his mug was on them.) Another one, Sam Ganafa. Now, Val Kalende.

I know what is driving them. A reckless courage. This bill is so terrible, that, even now, if we cant speak out now, we shall forever be damned. So, they are speaking out. Getting out of the closets, making sure that the world out there in Uganda does know that they are Gay, and that they are Ugandan, and that they are threatened by death and life time imprisonment for being gay and Ugandan.

I salute you, guys and girls. I salute you. Me, who is still hiding in my anonymity, I salute your reckless courage.

Dont know what your lives will be worth once it becomes law. Dont know. Dont want to know. Hope I will not know. But, the very risks that you are exposing yourself to at this particular moment just makes me shiver with fear. I am a coward. But, I thank your reckless courage.

And, by the way, I have to feel some awe for the editor of the Saturday Monitor, who managed to have that story, 'Forbidden Love' become the headline in the paper. Salute!

And, there is also an article detailing that some diplomats, including the US have made an official protest about the bill to the govt. Know what the govt says? That they are the injured party. See, it is a private members bill. And, they dont have an official government position.

Now, to those liars and hypocrites, I can only pull out the Honourable Minister of Ethics and Integrity's statements. About anal sex having no rights, etc....
They are embarassing, even by Ugandan standards. But what do I know? I am gay, you see!

And, the Ugandan media has at last started to publish things about the bill. Here, Nagenda, a New Vision Columnist, comes out against the bill. In very clear words.

Oh, he is pejorative, in his elegant use of the English. But, what is important, that Nagenda, iconic movement supporter, has had an article which calls the bill 'draconian' published. Regarding Homosexuals and Lesbians. In the New Vision, the government owned paper. Owned, and controlled.

I have not been able to get a link to the Monitor article with Val's story. No problem. I will update this story. Today, or when I get a scan of the story and post it on this post.

For now, I salute the courage of one, Val Kalende, and your partner.

You go girl!


gug

6 comments:

Laura Toepfer said...

Hello. I have been reading for a while but never commented. I thought you ought to know that I support you and all those in Uganda who are gay and lesbian.

I lived in Bukoto for about three months and got to know some people in Kampala, so thinking about you in Uganda isn't just theoretical to me.

I'm an Episcopalian and I know a lot of us are doing what little we can to support you. Please keep letting us know what we can do.

And thank you for your courage; please know you do have courage.

We're rooting for you.

John Powers said...

You have great courage Gug! I commend you. I applaud Val Kalende, Frank Mugisha, David Kato, and Sam Ganafa. I'm cheered by public pronouncements against this bill from many sectors.

What is public is important, but the largely unnoticed acts of people bravely coming out to their families cannot be underestimated. It's easy to condemn others, much harder those we love.

spiralx said...

More of the science being reported in the UK this week:

www.independent.co.uk/news/science/from-minnie-to-mickey-and-all-they-did-was-turn-off-a-gene-1838170.html

It suggests that on a genetic level, there is an permanent tension between the way cells are programmed or made for female and male body functioning. Which may go on throughout a lifetime.

And although we cautioned ourselves only a few days ago about what animal studies might mean for humans, because this is on a genetic level, not a behavioural one, this does have some implications for us as a species.

lelio risen said...

I am a glbt activist based in America and I have shared the interview with Val Kalende on my blog, as I continue my coverage of anti-gay stirrings in your homeland.

If you would like to see my post on this story, it is at:
http://leliorisen.blogspot.com/2009/12/ugandan-lesbian-speaks-out.html

I found this story through my own search of Ugandan papers, but if there is some other story in your country that you think is worth covering, you may contact me at
leliorisen@gmail.com

I not only post on my own blog, but I also post details on other blogs and news sites in America.

lelio risen said...

By the way, if you just want the direct link to the Monitor story, as you requested, here it is:
http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/news/The_story_of_a_young_Ugandan_gay_couple11_95883.shtml

Jackie said...

I don't blame you for not coming out in such a hostile environment. It takes courage to admit to yourself that you are homosexual, so please recognize that strength that you have. I just want to say that you and your cause are in my thoughts here in Portland, Oregon. I will repost the article about Val wherever I can.

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