by Roxanna Bennett
(Trigger Warning for homophobic violence and coarse language)
David Kato, a gay rights activist in Uganda, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer on Wednesday, January 26. He died of his injuries en route to hospital. Police spokesperson Vincent Sekatte stated that there is no connection between homophobia and the murder, insisting that Kato was killed by ‘robbers’ who have killed ten other people in Kato’s neighborhood in the past two months.
I don’t buy it. Kato and two others had successfully sued Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone the previous year for publishing a photo of him that publicly outed him as homosexual in an article that called for all gay people to be hanged, and accused gay rights activists of recruiting youth into homosexuality. Kato secured a court injunction against any media outing homosexuals. In the current climate of homophobic hysteria in Uganda, being publicly outed effectively makes you a target for murder. Kato had received numerous death threats before his death.
Thank you, nice white people! In March 2009, a two day conference for the Family Life Network’s “Seminar on Exposing the Homosexuals’ Agenda” was held in Uganda featuring three American evangelical assholes: Missionary Scott Lively, author of the lovely tome “7 Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child”; Caleb Lee Brudidge, a ‘former’ gay man who leads seminars to heal homosexuals of their obvious sickness and Don Schmierer, member of Exodus International. Exodus International is one of those fun organizations that brainwash people out of homosexuality using ‘Reparative Therapy’ which many of their members have used:
“Exodus is a worldwide network of former homosexuals and the largest evangelical organization dealing with homosexuality in the world today.”
On their website, Exodus has also changed the term ‘hate crime’ to ‘thought crime’ because:
“-thought crimes laws offer more legal protection to certain citizens based on their sexual preference alone. In addition, these laws pave the way to prosecute biblical beliefs about homosexuality, instead of prosecuting illegal actions that harm others.”
These aforementioned douchebag assholes are backpedaling like crazy to distance themselves from the murder of David Kato, although it was their conference in Uganda that stirred up the current homophobic hysteria to begin with. According to Stephen Langa, organizer of the Ugandan conference, the focus of the meeting was ‘the gay agenda’ and the threat homosexuals pose to traditional African family and Christian values. Attendees at the conference included teachers, police officers, politicians and thousands of citizens who were told that the gay movement is an evil institution trying to replace marriage with a culture of promiscuity and that homosexual men often anally rape teenage boys. They were also treated to lectures and discussions on how to make a gay person heterosexual. For a very in-depth look at how the American Evangelical right has f*ed most of Africa with their Bush administration money and hate-mongering, read this article by Kapya Kaoma.
Shortly after the conference, a private member’s bill called the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced by MP David Bahati. Even though homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, this bill, if passed, would mean the death penalty for anyone who engages in same-sex acts with people under the age of 18, the death penalty for anyone who is HIV-positive, and for the extradition of citizens who engage in homosexuality outside of Uganda. It also intends to penalize any person, company, media outlet or organization that advocates or supports the rights of LGBTQ people or knows of anyone who engages in homosexual activity and does not report it within twenty-four hours.
Under the existing law, any Ugandan found engaging in sexual activities with a member of the same gender can be imprisoned for up to 14 years. So it’s already pretty shit to be gay in Uganda. And not Uganda in particular; being homosexual is illegal in 37 countries in Africa. Thanks again, nice with people! Thanks for sharing!
Why anyone cares about who has sex with whom is beyond me. Aren’t there starving people and wars and natural disasters and fatal diseases to get upset about? How about redirecting all of that energy into solving actual problems instead of bludgeoning to death someone whose only crime was to be authentic about his sexual orientation? David Kato’s murder is sickening. Even at his funeral, attended by hundreds, a pastor started screaming at the congregation to repent and started ranting about Sodom and Gomorrah.
David Kato was brave enough to speak out against bigotry and hatred and for his courage he was beaten to death.
“It is said that the life of a brave man is always short.” – Anthony Claret