Monday, January 11, 2010

Thurs, Feb 4, "From the U.S. to Uganda: Stop the Hate"

Thursday, February 4, 5:30PM
JFK Federal Office Building
(15 Sudbury St., Government Center)

Join the Impact MA and the Anti-Violence Project of Massachusetts are calling for a day of action on February 4, 2010 to protest the American-inspired Anti-Homosexuality Bill (“AHB”) pending in the Ugandan Parliament. We demand that the Obama Administration uphold the federal laws entitling LGBT Ugandans to asylum in the US as refugees from persecution.

The day of action coincides with the “National Prayer Breakfast” in Washington sponsored by the so-called “Family,” a shadowy group of anti-gay politicians directly connected to the AHB. In the lead-up to the day of action, the President and Senators and Representatives in the US Congress will be asked to boycott the “National Prayer Breakfast” to disassociate themselves from the homophobia the “Family” espouses.

The AHB intensifies existing persecution of LGBT people in Uganda:

* Gay men and lesbians convicted of having sex would be sentenced, at minimum, to life in prison
* “Aggravated homosexuality,” which covers people with HIV and “serial offenders” who have sex more than once, carries the death penalty
* Citizens would be required to report homosexuals to the police, on pain of three years imprisonment
* “Promotion of homosexuality” would carry a seven-year prison sentence

The AHB grew out of a March, 2009 anti-gay conference in Kampala sponsored by the religious-right-funded “Family Life Network.” Entitled “Exposing the Truth behind Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda,” the seminar was led by American anti-gay activists Scott Lively, a Holocaust revisionist; Don Schmierer, Board Member of the ex-gay group Exodus International; and Caleb Lee Brundidge of “Extreme Prophetic” and quack psychotherapist Richard Cohen’s “International Healing Group.” On offer were preposterous claims about homosexuality and tall-tales of an international gay conspiracy to lure young Africans into homosexual activity.

In attendance at the March conference was Ugandan MP David Bahati, a member of the US-based fundamentalist network “The Family” and a lead organizer of the Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast. In October of 2009, Bahati introduced the AHB into Uganda’s Parliament. In justifying this attempt at legislated genocide, Bahati recycles worn-out lies about gays and lesbians from the American religious right.

He alleges that “‘there is a lot of [gay] recruitment in single [sex] schools and a lot of promotion of homosexuality by non-governmental organizations including UNICEF (United Nations Children Fund).’” He accuses LGBT rights advocates of “‘engaging in a game of manipulation, deception, and control. We are going to focus on protecting children and the family in Uganda,’ he added.” See “Ugandan MP Defends Controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” Voice of America 12/12/09. As of late December, 2009, Bahati is expected to attend the February 4, 2010 “National Prayer Breakfast” in Washington, as he has in the past.

Far from being an overseas aberration, the AHB represents a foreseeable outcome of the homophobic rhetoric employed by the religious right in America’s Culture Wars. Ugandan proponents of the AHB have simply made American-manufactured hate their own.

It is imperative that LGBT people and our allies around the world take a decisive stand against the AHB and confront the American authors of hate which threatens LGBT Africans with such ferocious persecution. The organizers of the “National Prayer Breakfast,” the so-called “Family,” have blood on their hands. Their malevolence, which they mask with sham platitudes about tolerance, must be exposed for the entire world to see. They cannot escape accountability for their hate by self-righteously invoking a God of Love.

Moreover, with passage of the AHB likely by February, persecution of LGBT people in Uganda will become legislated government policy. In addition to facing penalties up to and including death, LGBT Ugandans put at risk their friends and family who are merely aware of their homosexuality. American law promises asylum to refugees escaping because of “a well-founded fear of persecution.” Exported American homophobia has put LGBT Ugandans in grave peril; America must open its doors to LGBT refugees who are casualties of our own Culture Wars.

Join LGBT and allied citizens on February 4, 2010 in taking a stand against the Made-in-America hatred reflected in the AHB. Demand that the Obama Administration grant asylum to LGBT Ugandans forced to flee bloody persecution instigated from this country.