When I am a gay man, in Uganda, and, by law it is no longer legal to be gay?
Not if. When, because, I have to be realistic. This bill could have gone through the 3 readings, and become law on the day that it was introduced in parliament. But, it didn’t.
So, in the meantime, we have alerted the world that such a bill is there. And, that it is likely to pass. And, there has been a lot of outrage. Civil, political, religious.
But, the bill still is. And, though it is more likely to be scrutinized, it will still most likely become law. As someone noted, we have an ageing, dictatorial ruler, autocratic, who does take joy in his homophobia. A tiny gay community, persecuted into invisibility, and ostracized. Few dare speak out. And, it is not without personal cost to even question the bill.
We have managed a tiny little bit of debate in the country. But, there are certain, very well organized forces that are desperate that the bill passes. For them, they have the will of the population, the state of homophobia, literally everything. And, we have nothing. Nothing except the outrage of a world, that, in this day and age, such a bill can become law. And, my country mates insist that, theirs is the right. Theirs is the sovereignty. And, they dared to challenge the world to take away its aid. That, they would rather kill off a piece of their populace, to cleanse Uganda and have a morally upright country, than have aid to help with, endemic corruption, and all the sick starving children, disease and drought stricken areas. Than have citizens who are homosexual.
But, I am diverting myself. What will happen when the law passes?
I fear to think of what will happen. I will un-man myself.
But I have to.
I was reading, meditating on a poem. Have been on the same for some time. Robert Cochrane’s 'A Private View.'
About a memory of his; the day a friend, a lover told him that he had AIDS. In the days when that was a diagnosis of death. The words, the lines comes into my mind,
I conjured with
names of long survivors,
but you cut through
‘At what cost though?’
From all the words
in my world of them
I could muster none,
my mind reeling
at such savage progress.”
What will happen, when the bill becomes law?
I cannot hide from it. I know how bad it is. What will happen, when I have to live with it?
Words fail me. Because, Uganda would have become the most dangerous country for a gay man to live in.
Not Iran, or Saudi Arabia, where the death penalty is the one for gay people. But, the burden of proof is very, very high. Something to be thankful for in Sharia.
In Uganda, under that bill to become law, any accuser will have the law on his or her side. Even touch will be deemed homosexual, as long as my intent is divined as homosexual. And, I will be liable to life in jail.
So, what will I do? What will happen?
I am seriously considering getting out of the country. For the first time, I do admit to myself that any decision to stay inside the country after the bill is law will be a serious risk of my life. In all ways. Because I am known. And, there are many who would be willing to ‘report’ me. And then, it would take some time to even prove that they cannot prove their allegations.
Do I want to die in prison? Do I want all this to hang over my head, for the rest of my life?
A while ago, when the hue and cry was hot, my dad felt he should come and ask me to think about going out of the country. I reassured him. No. I would be fine. He has known for some time. And, with him, blood is much thicker than water. We don’t discuss it, but, he did intimate his fear that we, me and my partner, were risking our lives. I reassured him.
I don’t know whether he is following the bill. Certain other things are distracting him. I don’t think I would be convincing if I was to try to convince him now. I am not convinced that I will be fine, after the bill is law.
Even my partner thinks we should seriously think about it.
I am the one who seems to have my head in the sand, ostrich like. But, I am no ostrich.
I am a human being that is sentient. My country mates may think that I am evil, that I deserve a quick death. It is my life, precious to me, though not to them.
So, what will happen?
I love this stupid little country of mine. And, I have family.
Once upon a time, I lived outside. For a short while. I felt too homesick, for the beauty and bothers of the country. And, I do have family and friends here.
Of course I do fear the logistics of relocating, and making another country mine. Starting another life.
But, I have to weigh my love and reluctance against the pain of prison, and death. For myself. For my lover. And, I may also be a danger to my family. Those who know. Would Uganda really dare prosecute my parents for not reporting me? More stupid things have happened in life.
I don’t believe in being a martyr. It is stupid.
But, I have lived in more dangerous places. Physically dangerous, with continuing threat, daily, to life and limb. Yes I have. And, my life has always had that guarantee. That there is no guarantee to life.
To be continued.....
I express my deepest sympathy to you. I wish you safety and strength, and I wish for a change in Ugandan society.
Just makes my blood boil. The people in support of the bill make a dangerous assumption(rather,presumption) , that no one they love or know is gay, but what happens, if brother, son, mum, sister, long time friend etc... is in fact an LBGTI or will confess to be in the future, then it will dawn on them how personal this is when their friend, close relative tells them to turn them(the persons in question) in etc. Lord forgive us who do things in your name that make you cringe. Jesus save us Christians for we think we know what we are doin'. As for Ugandan society, I hold no hope of any change, the devil has created the perfect illusion......being mistaken for Jesus. He couldn't get people to worship him directly, so plan B, make them think they are worshiping God.
¨...make them think they are worshiping God.¨
Oh they do, they do, they are so demented they can´t see right from wrong, deceit from honor...this religious group of zealots has taken a blood (ours) oath...they must do what they have built into ¨beliving¨...they are running out of control and they remind me of the French Revolution...who´s head will be chopped off next until finally it´s their own...all is well that ends them well.
Silence continues from the Archbishop of York,
++John the cowardly Ugandan who grandstands by leaping out of airplanes but has forgotten the despotic Idi Amin and his very own fearfleeing refugee days. Let´s hope that Bishop John welcomes you all to English soil and grants you the asylum that he was granted from murderous bigotry.
Gug, I wish there was something that I could do for you and your partner here in America. Your post is heart-wrenching and a such a poignant plea of your humanity. Please do what needs to be done to protect yourself and those you love.
This bill is apalling. Know that anyone in the international community with the least bit of sympathy sees that. If it does become a law, there will be, must be, a political/economic response.
I feel for you.
I hardly know what to say to you other than I pray for your saftey and for that of your loved ones. I am a Human Rights Activist here in America and please know I will be fighting for our legislators to do everything politically possiable to stop the passing of this outragous bill My prayers are with you my friend Allen
The bill is horrific. You and your partner are in my prayers as are all the unknown members of the gay community there. Please do what you can do to be safe.
Gug, I found your blog the other day when researching the situation in Uganda. Like others commenting on your post, I am heartsick over the sitution. I read this entry to my partner last night with a voice that was choked with emotion. I am trying to raise awareness here in New York and in the U.S. and I know others are as well.
I understand your reluctance to leave your home and family, but if this bill comes to pass perhaps you should consider leaving, at least temporarily until things change. I'm terrified at the prospect of any harm coming to you or others in Uganda. As they saying goes, live to fight another day. Please be safe and protect yourself.
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