Homophobia in Uganda
Fifty-eight alleged lesbians and gays have been outed by the Ugandan newspaper, Red Pepper - the latest outrage in an on-going homophobic witch-hunt orchestrated by the government, police, media and churches of Uganda.
Uganda is the new Zimbabwe. President Yoweri Museveni is the Robert Mugabe of Uganda - a homophobic tyrant who tramples on the human rights of gays and straights alike.
Taking a lead from Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Museveni has found it politically convenient to demonise and scapegoat gay people as "the enemy within", thereby helpfully diverting attention from human rights abuses, poverty, unemployment, corruption, unfair elections and mass deaths from HIV.
In the latest tabloid outing, last Friday, 8 September, 13 supposed lesbians were exposed by Red Pepper. They include two boutique owners, a basketball player and the daughters of a former MP and a prominent Sheikh. Under the headline, "Kampala's notorious lesbians unearthed", the sleazy tabloid published a photo of two very glamorous, unnamed, scantily-dressed women embracing at a party. The article urged readers phone a hotline to "name and shame" any lesbians they know:
"To rid our motherland of the deadly vice (lesbianism), we are committed to exposing all the lesbos in the city. Send more names us (sic) the name and occupation of the lesbin (sic) in your neighbourhood and we shall shame her. Call: 0712XXXXXX," wrote Red Pepper.
Reacting to the outing campaign, one Ugandan lesbian activist said defiantly: "I know that some women are definitely going to lose what they have; jobs, homes, families, and friends. It is time that gays and lesbians in Uganda stand together to fight the negative reporting of the press."
Ugandan campaigners are relieved that only 13 alleged lesbians were named. They had feared that 20 to 40 women were going to be outed. Some activists suspect that Red Pepper may have scaled back its outing campaign following international protests after it named 45 allegedly gay and bisexual men in August.
There have been a series of government-backed attacks on the Ugandan LGBTI community in the last year, including an illegal police raid on the home of the lesbian leader of Uganda's LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex) movement, Victor Juliet Mukasa, in July 2005.
Ugandan outing of homosexuals 'chilling': activists
Uganda: Press Homophobia Raises Fears of Crackdown
Ugandan 'gay' name list condemned
Gay doctor flees Uganda