LGBT Activists in Africa

 

image of Kasha Nabagasera courtesy of theoutmost.com.

image of Kasha Nabagasera courtesy of theoutmost.com.

Uganda recently passed its Anti-Homosexual Act and for many local activists, this step backward could result in an overwhelming feeling of defeat, but not for Kasha Nabagesera. Nabagesera is the founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda, an LGBT rights organization and she is currently in the process of suing Evangelicals, in the U.S., for their role in financing the Anti-Homosexuality bill.

For Africans who identify as a member of a faith-based organization, such as Christianity, the idea of being spiritual and homosexual may be considered impossible. One man working to change this attitude is Malidoma Patrice Some’, a West African writer and gay ally. Some’ speaks openly and positively about the role of homosexuality in indigenous cultures and believes homosexuals to be the gatekeepers to the spiritual world and that not recognizing their role is a detriment to society.

While slow movements forward can lead to burnout for many activists, Mbote, Kasonkomona, Nabagesera and Some’ are motivation for us to continue fighting whatever social injustice we seek to end.

by Victoria Brown

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2 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on The Life and Times of Ms. Lanai and commented:
    ***Guest Post***

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  2. Jonathan

     /  November 11, 2014

    It’s nice to hear a story about LGBT rights in Africa with a hopeful tone. It’s so rare that we come across an article about the LGBT movement in Africa that doesn’t involve legislation against the community, violence against LGBT individuals, or worse. I have great admiration for people like David Kuria Mbote and Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera for standing up for human rights in the face of such great adversity. I certainly hope that they inspire others and are able to positively affect change in their countries. I can’t help but be a bit scared for their safety though. The stories of beatings and murder are hard to ignore. However, change won’t happen without courageous people like them. I then have to move past that and ask myself how those of in the U.S. can help?

    While I cannot directly affect the situation on the ground for LGBT individuals in Africa, we can all affect how our government approaches its policy in Africa and what private organizations who work in Africa we support with our own money. One of the most important issues of our time to our government officials is national security. As Victoria points out, criminalizing homosexuality has the effect of making it much harder to slow and prevent the transmission of HIV. The Director of the Central Intelligence’s February 11, 2003’s briefing states: “The national security dimension of the virus [HIV] is plain: it can undermine economic growth, exacerbate social tensions, diminish military preparedness, create huge social welfare costs, and further weaken already beleaguered states. And the virus respects no border.” (https://www.cia.gov/news-information/speeches-testimony/2003/dci_speech_02112003.html) We can pressure our elected leaders, who seem to value national security above all at many times, to exert pressure on African countries to treat the LGBT community with dignity and respect. Even if national security issues are the only ones leaders can identify with, it will still help real people on the ground be safe and work without fear to their lives. As individuals, we can also be sure that when we are donating to aid organizations, to be sure to make sure that in addition to providing food, medicine, etc., that they do not support anti-LGBT laws and discrimination, as a number of evangelical organizations do. The road to LGBT equality is a tough one, but I hope the African LGBT community can make rapid progress soon, as the community has elsewhere in the world.

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