I’ve been thumped cos of my sexuality before. Bashed cos I’m queer, my walk was too butch, my hair too short, my label too obvious. I’ve seen hate in a bigots eyes as they took offence at an over camp Queenie giving it a proud and loud ‘I’m a lesbian!’ in a not so safe Saturday night taxi queue. I’ve never been in fear of my life, only losing the hand grip of a lover for an easy life, not because I’m scared. But today the headlines are grim if your queer in Uganda. The murder of gay activist David Kato on Wednesday has rightly outrage Human Rights activists across the globe. His crime? Being gay in country where MP’s draft laws to have gay people locked up for life or even executed for being queer and the media lead a ‘Hang Them’ witch hunt, publishing photos of those they believe to be ‘against God’.
Accounts of Kato’s bravery struck me as I digested the headlines, the tributes to this “courageous queer African martyr” moving in the extreme. And yet while those accounts ring out across the media, our Home Secretary Theresa May is allowing the deportation of Brenda Namigadde to Uganda. She faces certain persecution on her return in a country where jail and even death appear a just return for being out and gay if she doesn’t ‘repent and reform’. MP David Bahati although saying he’d drop the cause that would make homosexual behaviour punishable by death told The Guardian: “Here in Uganda, homosexuality is not a human right. It is behaviour that is learned and it can be unlearned. We wouldn’t want Brenda to be painting a wrong picture of Uganda, that we are harassing homosexuals. If she is caught in illegal practices she will be punished. If she comes to promote homosexuality, if she is caught in the act, if she is caught in illegal acts, she will be punished.”
Not what one would call a welcoming committee. But apparently Brenda has not provided the Home Office with enough evidence of her sexuality to stop the deportation. Since when do you need proof? One has to ask how you would prove it? For me Brenda’s word (and that of those willing to swear to the High Court of her sexuality) is enough. Enough to possibly save a life.
By deporting Brenda Namigadde to Uganda the UK Government is condoning their stance on gay rights. This isn’t a party political issue for me, any Home Secretary, from any party, would face my protests in this matter. The callous murder of David Kato is a lesson we need to take heed of. However tough we think we have it, death because of whom we choose to love is nightmare scenario we will (hopefully) never face. We need to ensure all human beings enjoy that right.
To make your voice heard go to http://allout.org/en/brenda/
To contact the Home Secretary direct Call 020 7219 5206 Fax: 020 7219 1145 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Rights Watch expresses concerns at murder of David Kato after being exposed by Uganda’s Rolling Stone newspaper, but police dismiss link to homophobia The Guardian – Video