Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thoughtful, gay, Ugandan

One way that we as gay people manage to fight on is being what we are.

And also marshalling our passions, our talents, to the fight for equality. We are not fighting for any 'rights'. That is a misnomer, which our enemies- and, many are truly that, enemies- many of them use the term 'rights' to say we are asking for something more.

We fight, we petition, we agitate for one thing only. To be equal to other human beings.

We ask the state and states to consider what we are, to be on par with others as human beings. We demand that, in matters of state, we are equal, not a minority that is persecuted where the others are given advantages over us in all realms of life and living. We know we are different. We assert that, though different, we are equal. Human beings.

It is better than Iran, at the moment. There, 346 Iranians were executed for being gay in 2008 alone. Better than Iran, which many Ugandans see as a bad thing. We also want to kill our homos. Period. And, we dont want the world to interfere with us in this holy cause. The Gospel according to Hate. Increadibly, David Bahati, who is a born again Christian, believes that this is not a hate bill. These are the scenes that he is looking forwards to. Below, in the run up to a Homosexuality free Uganda. Images from Kaos Blogspot

This argument is harder to advance with religion.
Because, even the most enlightened of human beings, the most intelligent, are very willing to hide behind religion. The Bible says, so it is. The Quaran says, so it is. And, in most of those texts, the interpretation is that we are worth of death.
I have been following an assertion by a Moslem chaplain for death to homosexuals. Because Islam says so, and, he cannot think past it. Similarly, Bahati argues like so. In defence of the 'traditional family'.

I cannot, and will not argue that gay people should have no faith. That is a personal decision. And, it is suprising how deeply spiritual most gay people are. It is part of what we are. And it shall continue like so. I think it is in our 'gay genes'!
It is a personal decision. Each of us has a right, and it is a right, to faith. Or its rejection. Sadly, our religions see it as mandatory, and deeply religious to reject us. You think I am lying? Ask the religious leaders in Uganda. Catholics, Moslems, Pentecostals, Anglicans. Ask them, and listen to their words, their thoughts.

But, it is in the logic of thought that we can bring out the hate, fear, ignorance that characterises some of our fellow men.
David Bahati says “Homosexuality has become a huge issue in this country we know that it is not our values, it” not Ugandan, it’s a threat to our traditional family and the children of Uganda…”
But, I am Ugandan. Yes I am. And, because, by my very presence I challenge his assertion of what I am, he wants me in prison for life. Or, dead, by hanging.
And, the state of fear which threatens many activists, and is pushing them into hiding like Pepe Julian here is justified, according to Bahati. I listened to him wondering how David Kato had been able to go to the Ministry of Foreign affairs here. Stronger laws are necessary to make sure that David is arrested. Not because he is a Ugandan. No. Because he is gay, and affirms his sexuality.

What can we do in face of this kind of hate? Overwhelming, malignant, willing to take us as a class, a level apart because we are different?
Hitler and Nazi Germany took it to the logical conclusion. Cleansing the Master Race of the impurities, which at that time meant homosexuality too. So does Bahati, writing a genocidal bill. For the homosexual Ugandan, there are only two things envisaged by the legislator from Ndorwa West. Death by hanging, and life imprisonment. That is what a homosexual Ugandan deserves.

So, what can we do?
We, as gay Ugandans, have no option but to fight. And to fight with all our whiles. Sadly, many of us dont even realise that we are at war. And that we are the pawns in this war, the foot soldiers, cannon fodder. And, true, we shall fall victim, prey, casualty to this unrelenting war. It is to the death, for many of us.

We ask for help.
And many people, inside and outside Uganda have responded magnificently. And, we still realise that the fight is far from over. Because it is not. Even our friends realise the vagaries, the flimsiness of the worlds attention. And, we do know how we have to do the fighting ourselves. They will help, but it is us who will have to do the actual, in the trench, lifting and pushing. And us who will die. The Leader Post puts it so-

The disaster in Haiti is essentially uncomplicated--a natural disaster has stripped people of basic needs, and money, food, and water are easy enough to supply. Coming to the aid of someone whose basic humanity is being attacked is much more complex. You cannot simply donate $10 to stop a gay Ugandan from being executed for his or her lifestyle, and Reese Witherspoon will not be waiting on the other end of a helpline to congratulate you for doing so. These complex issues are just as deserving of media and international attention, even if the solution is far more elusive.
 Even the help we receive is demonised.
They want to kill us. With HIV, with ignorance, with lack of information. We cannot defend ourselves in the country. We cannot go out and say that they are telling lies. But, the lies continue, unabated.

Ssempa held a second press conference to discuss an element of the bill which for him is key, the criminalization of alleged homosexual recruitment and propaganda. He introduced two speakers, self-proclaimed former homosexuals, who were there to testify against the Dutch-funded gay and lesbian recruitment they both experienced. Paul Kagaba, who claimed he was a former "spokesperson" for SMUG, noted how he and his organization used to recruit and seduce people using money, cameras and laptops. Sandra Baggotte, until just recently an admitted lesbian, now has a one-month old baby and confirmed Kagaba's lurid tales. European-funded homosexuals live in swanky pads in Ntinda where their day-to-day life involves waking up and then immediately "drinking and messing yourself up". There is no work because the Europeans fund their decadent lifestyles. If you want to go on a date, these shadowy groups will give you up to sh500,000 in order to "recruit" others to homosexuality. Spurious conferences on reproductive health are actually just covert recruitment opportunities where lesbians will encourage you to take hormonal injections to reduce breast size and deepen their voices.
 And, of course we cannot be believed, us gays, because we are gay. [Wry shake of the head]
Paul Kagaba says he was once spokesperson for GayUganda... Lie, lie, lie. Seems he did read that on this blog. Now, he is spokesperson for SMUG? Am glad Pepe could laugh that off.

Oh, Kagaba also claims as 'proof' of his conversion and healing from homosexuality, his ex-gay credentials the fact that he has a child. A son. Like Sandra above.
Has anyone dared to ask Kagaba, and Sandra whether we homosexuals are sterile? Seems like that is such a 'fact' that .... Myths, myths, propagated by people who know that they are telling lies. And, I know for a fact that Paul Kagaba, at least for the time that I knew of him in the kuchu community, his behaviour was bisexual. I doubt he advertises that!

But, what is more ridiculous is the gullible lies told in the name of our 'funding'. Remember the 20 Million USD that Nsaba Buturo told the monitor I am supposed to be sharing? I am afraid that the bank says it is not there. Maybe the accounts transfer was held up somehow or other. 500,000 UGX for conferences? Only the ruling party has that kind of clout. Ha, of course also the recruiting homosexuals. Paid by recruiters from America and Europe, of course.

In an interview with The Independent, Pepe Julian Onziema Programme coordinator for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) refuted Kagaba's claims that he was ever a spokesperson for her organization nor had she even heard of Sandra. She explained that SMUG was formed in 2004 to advocate for gay rights especially in the health sector, where HIV/AIDS counseling was nonexistent. Problems like "corrective rape" and police apathy and even downright hostility towards homosexuals, led Onziema and others to form a group to specifically address the rights issues plaguing the gay and lesbian population in Uganda. She admits that SMUG's funding does come in part from American and European human rights organizations, the same funders who provide funds for government projects; but notes that the amount is miniscule as SMUG is not a registered charity. She notes wryly that the amount it would cost for the hormonal therapy Kagaba claimed was being forced on many a young woman for just one person is equivalent to about two years worth of SMUG's funding. In response to Sandra's allegation that Onziema herself handed out sums of up to sh500,000 for recruitment dates, her denial was unequivocal, "I'm shocked because first of all my rent is hanging over my head. So why wouldn't I take care of myself first, before I take care of other people, people I don't even know. It's purely false."
Indeed, we are, and will continue to be Fugitives in our own Country. For, bottom line we are Ugandans. And so we shall remain. Whether they condemn us and put us to death, or not. We are Ugandans. A fact that irks them a lot. Prison, life imprisonment, or death. Or, some 'conversion therapy.'

Other friends are disturbed by overt and covert support by their countries for Bahati anti-homosexuality bill. Like South Africa.
You know why we gay people continue to know and understand one another despite the great differences in our different cultures? Why gay Americans will come out to support gay Iranians, and gay Spaniards be disenchated with what is happening in Malawi? Because we know what it is to be gay. We know, first hand, the deep hostility, the shame heaped on us. The naked hate that our country people justify everywhere in the name of 'family', or nation, or anything. As long as it is something against gay people.

The South Africans are up in arms. South African gay people. Because their government is sending an envoy who is a known homophobe to Uganda as ambassador. The issue is not only a Ugandan one. It is concerns us all, they state.

Yes indeed. Thought is an important process.

And, writing things down helps to clarify the thought.

Last night, I was wild on the town. But, I did need, and I am listening, and I know that I am not invulnerable to the hate that is out touching me.


1 comment:

aNorthWestView said...

The fact that you keep talking, and that you keep letting your voice be heard, letting the world know what is going on, is a very strong action to be taken against their agenda.

It deeply saddens me as a not active (but still self identifying) Episcopalian (Anglican) to know that the church is so against the gay community in Uganda, I know it means little but This very issue has the world body of it on the verge of a permanent split as the western (lead by force of the US branch) branch is very pro gay equality and equal rights both with in the church and out side of the the church.

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