Monday, May 31, 2010

Crusade? Jihad?

Seems the Current TV documentary on 'Missionaries of Hate' has generated lots of mention of Ssempa, and Uganda.

Understandable. Nothing is so flabbergasting as a 'man of god' going on a hate trip for all the world to see. In the name of god of course. The videos are going viral, I think. Ssempa will love it. Well, I mean, he will love the fact that the world is seeing what he is, and what he thinks, believes, says, and they dont have to look use gug as the microphone...!

Well, the gentleman is still doing his thing. He is still doing an anti-gay crusade. But, there is a twist these days. He wants to join with the Moslems. And, I am not kidding you at all.

Remember, this is not a new thing with him. He has been trying to do it for some time. Formed another of those ubiquitous organisations of his. Anyway, about a couple of weeks ago, some leaders of the Moslem faith in Uganda sent out this letter of invitation to an Anti-Gay Event in Kampala.

The letter is mostly in Luganda. Language spoken by most commonly in Central.

I have attempted a translation.... Which I unashamedly request Afrogay to help perfect if you can! Anyway, here is my translation of the letter.
All Moslems are invited to Clock Tower on tomorrow Saturday and Sunday 22 and 23rd May 2010 as we put Allah’s Law into action fighting homosexuality something that destroyed the world in the days of the Prophet Lot. We have to be the example to all.
But, is it true that those who are not Moslems are leading in this work? Come and we be together, so that we are the example as the Quaran says we should be.
Any Moslem, (Believer), leave or sacrifice your time for those two days and God (Allah) will reward you for being one of those who have done something for him.
The meeting will start at 10:00am until late both days. All the prayers will be held there. There will be seating provided, and tents, shade from the sun. We pray to God (Allah) for all those who will defend God’s Religion.

(beneath was a table of the budget, and the letter was signed by Sheikh Muhammad Badru and the letter head is the National Muslim Daawa Association of Uganda)
 Well, the meeting was held. And suprise, suprise, despite the fact that it was to people of the faith, Muslims, a few prominent kaffirs or unbelievers attended to join hands, Christians and Moslems in this very important Crusade/Jihad to be.

I mean Pastors Martin Ssempa and Solomon Male.

The attendance was not as huge as at some of the anti-gay rallies that Ssempa held earlier in the year. But, he was there, and spoke, I am told. Here is a report of the same. I think the title should be 'Sheikhs Launch anti-homosexuality Campaign.'

So, what else is new in that?

Well, potentially, our Muslim brethren insisting on Quaranic purity for us may mean that they may decide it is okay, sanctioned for gay Ugandans to be lynched. Killed. and that out of hand.

I have heard rumours that some of the Tabliqs, a sect of the moslems here, have been drawing up lists of us gays. But again, those are rumours.

Anyway, it is something to note. The war is still on. A lull may have occured. But, it is not likely to last.


Gay, Catholic, Priest

One of the most enduring mysteries to me is how gay people are drawn to religion.

I maybe wrong, it is a personal observation…. But, given the fact that our numbers are small, and have always been so, it seems as if a disproportionate number of us is drawn to the priesthoods… depending on the religion.
If one is to believe Ssempa in Uganda, many Pentecostal pastors are, the likes of Kayanja, etc, etc. But that may be just a case of professional jealousy. Diversion.

I have been thinking of that, because apparently the Catholic Church is seeking ways of making sure that no gay men, or homosexuals make it into the priesthood.
I am not lying. And, this is the 21st Century. It is the last day of May 2010. The report is in the New York Times.

You see, there were the sexual scandals in the Catholic Church. And, they were blamed on homosexuals. Though there is this caveat.
the questions are also aimed at another, equally sensitive mission: deciding whether gay applicants should be denied admission under complex recent guidelines from the Vatican that do not explicitly bar all gay candidates but would exclude most of them, even some who are celibate.
 Scientific studies have found no link between sexual orientation and abuse, and the church is careful to describe its two initiatives as more or less separate.
But, the gist of what is happening is that it has been decided that gay and Catholic priest should not be something that is possible.
Still, since the abuse crisis erupted in 2002, curtailing the entry of gay men into the priesthood has become one the church’s highest priorities. And that task has fallen to seminary directors and a cadre of psychologists who say that culling candidates has become an arduous process of testing, interviewing and making decisions — based on social science, church dogma and gut instinct.
“The best way I can put it, it’s not black and white,” said the adviser, the Rev. David Toups, the director of the secretariat of clergy, consecrated life and vocations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “It’s more like one of those things where it’s hard to define, but ‘I know it when I see it.’ ”
Many church officials have been reluctant to discuss the screening process, and its details differ from diocese to diocese. In the densely populated Diocese of Brooklyn, officials are confident of their results in one respect.
“We have no gay men in our seminary at this time,” said Dr. Robert Palumbo, a psychologist who has screened seminary candidates at the diocese’s Cathedral Seminary Residence in Douglaston, Queens, for 10 years. “I’m pretty sure of it.” Whether that reflects rigorous vetting or the reluctance of gay men to apply, he could not say. “I’m just reporting what is,” he said. 
So, will it be possible?

Personally, I dont think so.
We gay people are attracted to religion. And that manifests itself in many ways, part of which is that despite a lot of persecution, we still count ourselves as believers. And, of course, people have been looking for that litmus test for a very long time. To know what makes us gay, to be able to identify it. The Catholic church has fallen back to 'gaydar'? Well, mine works not so well, but am sure that a few of us will slip through that hoop.

And, of course there is that reality that quite a few of the most ardent homophobes are usually homosexual....

But, the church's initiative is only so much homophobia. A needless, baseless fear of all things gay or homosexual. For crying out aloud, all priests are supposed to be celibate. Homosexual celibate and Heterosexual celibate seem to be different. Hypocrites.

Here is to Mary Glasspool, and to Gene Robinson.

And to all gay people who try to break through that glass ceiling. I was in one of our bars last night and someone was pointed out to me as being a Pentecostal pastor.... Power to you, as long as you dont see fit in the near future to go on a gay bashing trip. [I must say that my solution to the whole religion and sexuality problem looks to be much more logical, but, I am not everyone, am I?]


HIV's ugly head

Seems we spend too little time talking about this beast.

For gay men in Africa, it is a threat. We have to remember it. No. Not a threat like for the Ssempa's and the Bahati's who believe the only way that we can do HIV prevention for gay men is to put them in prison or kill them. But, it is a threat that we need to remember. Always. Here are two articles.

Secret gay sex fuels HIV spread in Africa

May 30, 2010 12:00 AM
By Claire Keeton
The hidden HIV epidemic among men in Africa who have sex with other men - many of whom have wives - is fuelling the Aids crisis on the continent.
"In Africa, HIV prevalence is high in young women and that's the picture we have of what's driving the epidemic," Professor Salim Abdool Karim, director of HIV/Aids research institution Caprisa, told the M2010 Microbicides conference this week.
"What's been forgotten is the hidden side of the epidemic, since same-sex relationships are criminalised in 37 out of 54 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
"In reality, HIV is really common among gay men throughout Africa. We simply don't talk about it."
Well, we simply have to start talking about HIV and gay sex amongst African men.
And, it is not only us who have to talk about it. Our HIV prevention programs have to deal with this problem head on.
Studies show that men who have sex with men are at high risk of HIV infection - particularly in Africa, where safe access to prevention tools and services is restricted.

Up to 3% of men in South Africa are thought to have had homosexual intercourse. In Tanzania the estimate is 2% to 3%, and in Kenya up to 0.9%.
About a third of these men report they are married or in stable heterosexual relationships. The overlapping of sexual networks allows the virus to thrive.
Viral fingerprinting (genotype data) has found that the strains of HIV circulating across gay and heterosexual networks match one another.
South Africa has one of the worst HIV prevalence rates in the world, and prevalence among men who have sex with men is similar to that of the general population, estimated at about 13%.
HIV prevention efforts aimed at men who sleep with men are needed - about 20% of new infections are among this group - yet health activists are hamstrung by widespread political and cultural hostility to same-sex relationships.
Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to fight Aids, TB and Malaria, said in response to the recent imprisonment in Malawi of two men for being gay: "The criminalisation of individuals based on their sexual orientation is not just a human rights issue - it also ... drives sexual behaviour underground and creates an environment where HIV can more easily spread.
"This ultimately affects the broader population, in addition to the devastating impact it has on men who have sex with men."
It reminds me of what happened in 2007. We had an HIV meeting in Kampala, Uganda. And, at the beginning of that international conference, the Director General of Uganda's AIDS Programme was asked why Uganda didnt have an HIV programme for gay men. For the first time he acknowledged that gay men did have a problem. Called us one of the drivers of the epidemic. And then said there was not enough money for us to be targeted for HIV prevention.... Of course, what followed was the protest, and arrest and prosecution of some of us. History...!

In an accompanying editorial to the story, the author expands on her points.
Urgent need for human rights, HIV services for gay men in AfricaPosted: May 30th, 2010

By Claire Keeton
The criminalisation of men who have sex with men is driving gay relationships underground in Africa and this discrimination is contributing to the spread of HIV on the continent.
The urgent need for access to health services for men who have sex with men, respect for their sexual orientation and protection in law, and lobbying for their human rights, emerged clearly at the M2010 Microbicides: Building Bridges in HIV Prevention conference in Pittsburgh, in the US, this week.
That was a key point in my article in the Sunday Times today – but I feel concerned that the headline “Secret gay sex fuels HIV spread in Africa” conveys a negative message.
What I feel negative about is the intolerable discrimination against men who have sex with men and how that isolates them from prevention, care and treatment.
We do need to talk about HIV amongst gay men in Africa.

Not in thinking of newer and more draconian punishments to put gay men in prison or to death. Not to tell each other that gay Africans do not exist. And not to push the problem under the carpet, and gloss it over with the presumed virility of African men.

Talking about the problem, having HIV prevention programs, that is not 'promotion of homosexuality'. It is realistic dealing with the disease.

And, us gay African men, we need to really look at the problem from a very personal point of view.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Some musings...

Now that I have re-started....

Hey, I missed cyber. Really, really missed it. So maybe I am ready again to air my views ad nauseaum again!

Bishop Ssenyonjo is touring the US. Glad to see that the old man is getting some recognition for his efforts. It is tough for gay people in Ugandans. Cant believe how tough it is for people who are not gay, but feel constrained to take on the country's homophobia. And, for an elderly man like Ssenyonjo to do it, and come out with the head held high.... That is something. He was there at the consencration of Graspool, the first openly lesbian Bishop of the episcopal church. Apparently took part in the occasion. As Leonardo commented on the last post, the old gentleman is a hit wherever he goes. He is a hit in Uganda (well, to us gay Ugandans, at least), and his charisma may lie in the simple fact that he is a simple old man, deceptively soft, with ideals that he sees fit to challenge the establishment. That stand has singled him out for a long time. In Uganda, in the Anglican church, he is a pariah. But, he still stands tall. I must say he an inspiration to me. Seemed like his work was done, past 70 years, a grandfather who was pensioned out. For him to come back, risking his pension and his reputation. To the point of being defrocked.... He is a PhD, Former Bishop Emeritus of West Buganda Diocese...

I do like the old guy. Hope he comes back as refreshed and envigorated as he should. His detractors will seriously be crying 'foul'...... Had not seen this, but they are already doing so. That 'Virtue Online' article is vintage 'Christian Right' stuff. It is okay to tell lies as long as you are doing the glorious work of opposing Homosexuality. And, they do it very well. Have to learn that practice. A truth here, a half truth there, a blatant lie and an innuendo. And, of course a good writer! Imagine, they still insist that the 'death penalty in the Bahati bill was due to the Muslim majority in Uganda! What a blatant falsehood!

How is Ssempa? Last I heard of him was that he was attending a Muslim Anti-Homosexuality Jihad-Crusade. Just here in Kampala.

And, in Zimbabwe, the visible LGBT community is suddenly being persecuted. Arrested, for 'undermining the President' Mugabe. Life is truly odd.

The guys in Malawi, they were sent back to their respective villages. It will be interesting to see how they work out. Apparently, in prison, they were kept in different prisons..... lest they risk having sex again. And, as of now, they are being told that they should be repentant, and if they renew their relationship- why, the pardon was not for future offences.

How would it be to live outed, like these guys were,... with everyone knowing that you are a convicted homosexual? Chances of getting a job, place in society, etc. I guess life has not become any much easier now than it will ever be. They are young. 20 and 24? Hope they do get something out of this.

For me, the take away lesson is that international pressure does work.
On May 18, the couple was convicted of sodomy, and while the harsh sentence was generally welcomed by the Malawian public, it drew international rebuke. The nation, one of the poorest in Africa, is heavily dependent on foreign aid, and several donors suggested they might have to reconsider their generosity.
Pop stars issued their own condemnations. Madonna, who has adopted two children from Malawi, said the nation had taken “a giant step backward.” Elton John wrote an appeal to Mr. Mutharika, asking him to release the couple and “expunge Malawi’s discriminatory laws against homosexuality.”
In announcing the pardon, the president emphasized that he was not condoning gay marriage. “It’s unheard of in Malawi, and it’s illegal,” he said.
It is a victory for gay people. All over the world. That is a fact. Duh, we shall never be loved by most of the world. Something that the bill has pressed into my conscious.

But, for someone like these Malawi guys, the personal toll may be considerable.
Late Saturday, Mr. Chimbalanga, who has said he considers himself a woman in a man’s body, and Mr. Monjeza were released from custody.
The police escorted Mr. Chimbalanga back to his home village in the remote hills of Thyolo District. He stayed for a reunion with family members, and planned to return to Blantyre early Sunday.
“I’ve been under so much emotional stress that I need to find somewhere to rest,” said Mr. Chimbalanga, speaking by cellphone through an interpreter. “I still want to marry Steven. But I don’t know what he is thinking any more. We’ve been through so much.”

He said: “I think it is going to be hard to stay in Malawi. I am afraid of what people might do to us. We probably need to seek asylum in some other country. Is there a place for us? I don’t know.”
Speaking of the toll... My partner was really happy about the release of the Malawi couple. And, I reminded him that in Uganda, the Honourable Bahati would want us in prison for life. And, the bill is still in parliament.

What has that bill done to the reputation of Uganda? And, to the reputation of Mr Bahati in particular? Was reminded of that when I went through this post on Huffingtonpost. It is about the Missionaries of Hate documentary, an excerpt from an interview with David Bahati.
"Uganda's anti-gay bill author wallows in the filth of his hate."
It has been said that sometimes you have to let purveyors of ignorance and hate speak freely because sooner or later they tend to damage their own cause.

This saying should be remembered when listening to an interview with MP David Bahati, the creator of that awful anti-gay Ugandan bill.
The interview cited there has to be read, and wondered at. Sincerely, what planet does David Bahati live on? Same ilk as Martin Ssempa. It is from their very words and actions that one condemns them. Because they are naked. Not even the Ssempa charisma can hide his hate.
I will have to stop here. Feels really good to be back writing, thinking, debating... And of course getting to know what the rest of the planet's beat is dancing to.
Be well

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Hi, to all and sundry!

Absent, totally absent and not communicating. That is what has been happening with me.

My apologies to all friends and well wishers. Sometimes it kind of gets to one, and then one has to hunker down so as not to be consumed by one's own self.....

Best thing is, I am rested.

Masses of emails to go through. No. My world does not stop and wait for me just because I am doing so..... Means that I will have to limp on for some time before I catch up with all and sundry. Bear with me....

Have been feeling the blogging fires steering for sometime now.... but, what tipped the balance was hearing that the two guys in Malawi, the couple that celebrated their wedding, that they have been granted a presidential pardon.
BLANTYRE, Malawi – Malawi's president on Saturday pardoned and ordered the release of a gay couple sentenced to 14 years in prison, but warned that homosexuality remains illegal in the conservative southern African nation.

President Bingu wa Mutharika said he would release Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza on "humanitarian grounds only." He made the announcement during a press conference with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Lilongwe, the capital.
Of course, I would prefer that they were not condemned in the first place. And, they have endured at least 3 months in prison....

But, they are free to go. Ask yourself, in a country as conservative as Malawi, where even the judge refused to bail them for reasons of 'protecting them from the community'..... Where are they free to go to?

But, they are free.

Have you been following the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda? Ha! Hope you have.... There is a fabulous documentary, a must see by Current TV.
We are the stars... but I bet you most Ugandans will not see it. Neither have I. But, I am told that it is very interesting. Title is 'Missionaries of Hate'.

Be well.

And, thanks again, for the good wishes when I was incommunicado.