Friday, January 28, 2011

Ugandan homophobia claims a life

David Kato was a Ugandan gay-rights activist. Three weeks ago, he won a court case against a Ugandan tabloid magazine which had published his photo, outed him as a homosexual, and called for him to be executed. On Wednesday, he was beaten to death in his own home.

Uganda is one of the most virulently homophobic countries in Africa, and in 2009 almost passed a law imposing the death penalty for homosexuality. This is what that culture of public homophobia leads to: murder. The politicians who have whipped it up have blood on their hands and ought to be deeply ashamed of their actions. But sadly, they won't be.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the government is trying to deport a lesbian woman to Uganda, where an MP is threatening to have her arrested if she returns. That alone should be reason to grant her refugee status - but the UK government has whipped up hatred of its own, this time against immigrants and refugees, and has an eviction quota to meet. And so they're intent on deporting her, on the pretext that she's not "really" gay, a panel of immigration judges apparently knowing her sexuality better than she does. This too is homophobia, and it has to change, otherwise it will claim another life.