When the employees of the Ugandan embassy to the United States arrived at work today, they were greeted by eight posters decrying their nation’s anti-homosexuality law. “Uganda: state sponsored homophobia.” “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” And there was even an “eviction notice” signed by “1AngryOldLesbian.org.”
This rogue action is because of the discriminatory actions Uganda President Yoweri Museveni. In late February, he signed the homophobic statute that criminalizes being gay in his country. The penalty is 14 years in prison for a first offense. You get life if you are convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.” Oh, and not reporting a gay or lesbian person to the authorities can get you arrested, too.
The folks behind the public protest, which went up Saturday around noon, want to remain anonymous. But one of them told me via e-mail, “We are inspired to do these actions because of the injustice perpetrated on the LGBTI community in Uganda. They are being used as pawns by a virtual dictator as he struggles to stay in power.” The “I” in LGBTI is for intersex. She added that the anti-homosexuality law “has led to greater persecution of the LGBTI community in the way of evictions, firings, attacks, etc. on those suspected of being gay.” Just how dangerous the Ugandan law is was demonstrated the day after its passage when a newspaper “exposed” the names of “Uganda’s 200 top homos.”
“We have been working to help representatives from the Kuchu Diaspora Alliance in their attempts to speak with the [Ugandan] ambassador,” my source said. But the requests have gone unanswered.
I love it when the hateful decisions of governments meet good old American democracy, when officials from those countries have to contend with Americans exercising their right to freedom of speech on behalf of their beleaguered citizens. But said freedom can be a bit much for restrictive governments to take. My source sent me a photo this morning. The mural has been removed.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj