Like much of what is rotten in Africa, hatred and persecution of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered people has its roots in colonialism. Almost all of the numerous anti-gay laws in Africa are left over from European control and exploitation of the continent.
Now the European Union and White House are condemning a proposed new law in Uganda that would result in life in prison or the death penalty for people convicted of homosexual acts, which are already severely penalized.
This horror should be denounced, and queer groups around the world have rallied and organized against it, from San Francisco and Chicago to London and Beirut.
But the hypocrisy of the U.S. government is beyond belief. The law in question was inspired by a March 2009 visit to Uganda by three U.S. evangelicals, who lectured an audience of thousands, including police, teachers, and politicians, on the threat that gays pose to Ugandan families.
If Barack Obama and the rest of the D.C. crowd gave a damn about queer lives, they wouldn’t invite evangelical pastor Rick Warren to speak at White House functions. A leader of the religious right, Warren equates homosexuality with pedophilia.
As long as U.S. politicians fail to practice what they preach, their disapproval rings cheap on Uganda. They should clean up their own act: pass federal gay rights legislation and yank the passports of proselytizing hatemongers like Warren. In the meantime, queers in Uganda urgently need solidarity. Protest to Ugandan ambassador Perezi K. Kamunanwire at 202-726-4758.