I have been critical of social policy issues pertaining to GLBT rights in the U.S., but I am well aware that I am damn lucky to live in the industrialized world. The rights of all minorities (GLBT included) are non-existent in most developing nations.
One such situation is the ongoing human rights violations in Uganda. Most Americans probably could not identify Uganda on a map - let alone be bothered by what is happening there. However, news that David Kato was murdered made me take pause. Unlike other African activists like Steven Biko and Nelson Mandela, movies and accolades are not likely to follow this man, but out of respect to Mr. Kato and to remind anyone who bothers to read this blog how brave he truly was, I wanted to write a brief post.
David Kato, was a leading advocate for GLBT rights from Uganda where being gay is tantamount to a death sentence. Think I'm exaggerating? The Ugandan Parliament is currently considering a bill to execute anyone who is gay. Can you imagine what it must be like for a scared, gay adolescent (let alone adult) living in such a society? Being an outspoken advocate for human rights / GLBT rights in such a hostile environment is a bravery I can respect but could never hope to replicate.According to the NYT, on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Kato was beaten to death with a hammer. Val Kalende, the chairwoman of one of Uganda’s gay rights groups said, “David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. evangelicals in 2009. The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S. evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood.”
It was sad to read this report in the NYT today, and it was shameful to read the reference to U.S. evangelicals (not evangelicals - but those from my home country) as guilty by association in Ms. Kalende's opinion.