arrests


21
Feb 11

HOMOPHOBIA WINS 4th TERM IN UGANDA

yoweri museveni Ugandan president

The noted homophobe Yoweri Museveni, sailed into a fourth term in office as President of Uganda last weekend, with 68% of the vote after suggestions of armed pressure on voters.

Museveni is not the worst of Uganda’s homophobe politicians. For pragmatic reasons he eventually put distance between himself and the notorious “anti-gay bill” of 2009/10 which called for the death penalty for homosexual acts. Essentially, he didn’t wanted Uganda’s aid cut off. That of course doesn’t change 20 years of active homophobia while in public office, as is noted in this article.

Some key quotes: “Look for homosexuals, lock them up and charge them” and “the continent will end up eaten by homosexuality if they (the clergy) relax”

Reuters noted that the election result offers “continuity for investors,” one could also speculate that it offers continuity for violent homophobia too.  After all, it took just a few weeks after his name and face were printed in a notorious anti-gay tabloid newspaper with the headline “Hang Them”, for activity David Kato to be killed in his own home with a hammer.

2011_01_27_uganda rolling stone


2
Feb 11

OFF WITH THE PHAROAHS … BEING GAY IN EGYPT

Ancient Egyptian gay love

Very interesting article by a British student here about what it is like to be gay in Egypt today. OK, so strictly this is not about gay marriage, but it also shows the potential gains marriage rights would bring not only to traditional front lines in the gay rights fight, but also to people in the most diverse and difficult positions.

Full article here if you prefer not to scroll down a long way. And here is a truly mind bending story from Queerty about the Muslim ‘gay rights’ supporter who believes in the death penalty for those who don’t change their ways.

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In Egypt, laws on public morality are severe – homosexuality is seldom openly acknowledged. Whilst being gay is not technically illegal it is unacceptable in Egypt, it is frowned upon socially, culturally, religiously and politically. Gay people are vilified by the press and the public, Al Balagh Al Gadid, an independent weekly newspaper, was banned after accusing actors of homosexuality.

The personal struggle of many young gay Egyptians is constant- they must deny who they are to survive. Yet despite hostility, there are many Egyptians out there hoping that society will change its strict laws and accept them for who they are.

“Mohammed” is a good-looking man in his early twenties with a successful career and a very open mind. I met him for the first time in a quiet little coffee shop in central Cairo. In perfect English he tells me that he hides a secret most of the time: he is gay. Continue reading →


6
Nov 10

WILL IT GET BETTER IN CAMEROON?

Shocking report here on the institutionalised and violent nature of homophobia in the central African state of Cameroon.

Marriage equality is speck on the horizon if you are gay in Cameroon – just as it is in Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe and so many others.

It is what we have come to expect in Africa. I wish it were more outrageous of me to criticise a whole continent like that, but frankly: it’s the truth. With the exception of South Africa, the entire continent is a disaster zone for gays and their rights. The truth is that it is more socially acceptable to have sex with animals in many parts of Africa than it is the act in the “unAfrican” way of loving someone of one’s own sex.

Does it shock you to read that from me? Well – be shocked at the actual violence and hatred in Africa; that is the real problem.  I hope only that the internet and globalisation can help share more and more stories of normal gay and lesbian lives so that those suffering now in Cameroon can be inspired to change their society or to leave it according to their wishes.


10
Sep 10

IRAN: PUTTING MARRIAGE IN PERSPECTIVE

gay men being hanged iran

two gays hanged in Iran

This very interesting story by Lisa Daftari does give us pause for reflection.

I think that one can (indeed should) campaign for marriage equality in places of relative prosperity and acceptance, but at the same time we cannot forget the situation of people facing far greater threats to their safety and happiness.  

Iran is a case in point.  If you support gay marriage, you also need to support Iranian gays. And if you can do something practical to raise awareness or funds for people in situations like this, then please do!

(Interesting viewers in Iran constituted the 10th largest group viewing this blog in one recent month – it shows there is also an interest in this issue even in places where marriage equality is far, far from reality)


25
Jun 10

HELPING EQUALITY BLOGGERS IN REPRESSIVE COUNTRIES

If you have a need to communicate about repression of your rights or your community, Reporters Without Borders has set up a cyber-shelter that will allow to get your message out without compromising your identity and security.

For anyone from the dozens of countries where homosexual sex acts can lead to jail or death, and places such as Malawi, Kenya and the many other countries where gay marriage advocacy or unofficial weddings lead to ridicule, threats and arrests … this could be a forum for you.


29
May 10

MALAWI COUPLE PARDONED!

International pressure and actually talking about homophobia works!

The gay couple jailed in Malawi after getting engaged have been pardoned by President Bingu wa Mutharika. It happened as UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited, just after Africa superpower South Africa condemned them, and piles of pressure from leading tolerant demoncracies, serial adoptee Madonna and Elton John in a great letter here.

We are probably decades from marriage equality in most of Africa and the culture of hate in Malawi that produced this arrest and sentence is ever present. But this is still a good day. The debate has moved forward.


29
May 10

JACOB ZUMA VERSUS MALAWI

Getting to leaders to speak out loud about gay issues – especially marriage is half the battle. Once they realise the sky does not collapse they get more confidence to stand up for fairness.

It’s especially remarkable that South African President Jacob Zuma has – in Parliament – condemned Malawi for its imprisonment of the gay couple who got engaged recently. African leaders almost never condemn each other: just witness their usual silence around the awful Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. And South Africa is the continent’s superpower. This might not overturn the whole sentence, but it’s a big development.

And the last thing: when leaders do speak out, you have to thank them and encourage them so that they are not scared back into silence next time there’s a problem. Three cheers for Jacob Zuma.


26
May 10

TRANNY HELL IN PAKISTAN

Same sex marriage is often about perceptions.

For example, is a party a wedding? Is a marriage between a man and male-to-female transgender person a same-sex marriage? is anything the resembling the above a great excuse for mass arrests and humilation? The Pakistani policy seem to think so. They arrested 43 people at a ‘transgender wedding’ yesterday claiming they broke anti same sex marriage laws.

Businessman Iqbal Khan, 48, and his alleged bride, an 18-year-old whose formal name is Kashif but goes by Rani, will be charged with attempted sodomy, police official Shaukat Ali said. Up to 7 years jail awaits.

Continue reading →


21
May 10

FEAR AND LOATHING IN OUR HEARTS

 

We’ve all heard about the African gay couple jailed for 14 years for their engagement ceremony.  It’s an awful situation – but beyond the tragic personal consequences for this couple, what else does it tell us about our condition, and about the need for marriage equality? Will gay marriage ever spread beyond South Africa?

1. We must fight for the right to be who we are publicly. That is why it is so important to fight the Malawi verdict and attacks on gay pride marches. Making people accept us publicly is so much harder and so much more valuable that asking to be allowed to live our lives in secret or behind closed doors

2. The judge and the politicians know how crap their arguments are. They know that change will come, no matter how ‘unAfrican’ they think this couple is today (and they clearly also realise that the leading African nation, South Africa, already has equality – so it’s not an African thing!). Continue reading →


15
May 10

CHANGE. YES THEY CAN.

We are often asked to think about what marriage has meant throughout history; to attach the weight of history to our thoughts on marriage.

But if lesbians and gay men let history weigh them down, then gays would still be criminals or getting electric shock therapy in even the most advanced countries.  Thankfully our civil rights heroes didn’t let history weigh them down.

They used courage and brains and resistance to assumptions to prove since World War II that attitudes can change.  If attitudes towards hundreds of millions of people can change, then attitudes towards one institution can change too.