If one needs more evidence beyond teen suicides and the uphill DADT battle to realize that the state of rampant, unchecked homophobia is at an all-time high, check out this recent issue of the Ugandan Rolling Stone Newspaper:
This issue featured the pictures, names and addresses of gays and lesbians in Uganda. And just in case you can’t make out the words in yellow highlighter emblazoned next to the headline, it reads “Hang Them.” It has been confirmed that at least four have been attacked so far. Many gays and lesbians are in hiding and some report being dismissed from their jobs.
It’s a tragic injustice of epidemic proportions. What is so scary about it is that people, media outlets and government institutions are collaborating to persecute LGBT folk in Uganda. And I am underwhelmed by reports that the Rolling Stone newspaper has been shut down. The government temporarily closed them down because of a registration technicality, not for putting people’s lives and livelihoods at risk by inciting hate crimes. The same CNN report highlights that it was just a year ago that a lawmaker called for the death penalty to be the punishment for homosexuality. Apparently the editors of the Rolling Stone Newspaper were so restless after the international outcry resulted in the issue being placed on the back-burner that they have taken the law into their own hands. Just saaaad.
Despite how bleak things seem, there is some good news. Some international news organizations are doing their part to raise awareness about this issue in a responsible and informative way. You will notice that unlike many others who are easily search-able by Google, CNN is among the few that have blurred out the identities of the allegedly gay men featured in the newspaper.
CNN also provides a context about how many of the anti-gay laws in the East African region are the product of colonialism. Further, the article mentions that the lawmaker who proposed the death penalty last year was pressured by US missionary churches to do so. This context of the role of US Christians and the colonial legacy is important for dispelling the myth that it’s just Africans who go after the gays. There may be some Africans with this anti-gay agenda, but it’s far more complex than a few homophobes. See the rest of the story here, but do your part to let your news outlets know how they can mitigate the deadly blow delivered by this two-bit, trashy tabloid.