The following is an ‘open letter’ from a gay Ugandan to the President of his country, Yoweri Museveni. It comes after Museveni recently publicly praised Anglican bishops for ‘resisting’ homosexuality.
First, I would like to thank you for your inspirational leadership of our beloved country Uganda.
I am personally disappointed in your support for the Church of Uganda’s crusade against homosexuality. That is because I am a homosexual myself. A gay Ugandan.
No. I am not a foreigner.
I am not white. Actually, my beloved dad used to infuriate me by making me cram my genealogy back ten generations of pure bred Africans.
You described us as ‘stupid’, demanded that those foreigners who are forcing this culture on us Ugandans should go and practice their nonsense elsewhere. You intimated that we are not in order, us homosexuals.
Now, dear beloved leader, you are the elected president of all Ugandans. Not just the good Ugandans, as you describe them. You are the president of all of us Ugandans. Even, homosexual Ugandans. We know, by the constitution of the country, that you are our president.
It hurts us, a lot, to find that you, our leader, rejects us so soundly. Saying that we are foreign puzzles us. We are Ugandans. Through and through. Why do you call us foreigners, just because we are homosexual?
As for saying that homosexuality is not African, I would call upon the authority of no less a person than Archbishop Orombi, and anti-gay Pastor Ssempa. From their mouths you will believe the fact that homosexuality was here in Uganda, even before the coming of the Christian religion. So, if homosexual Ugandans were here in Uganda before Christianity, why are Christians insisting we homosexuals cannot be Ugandan?
When you say that we are sick, I would advise you to actually ask medical doctors whether in truth we are. To my knowledge, doctors concluded as far back as 1994, when you were president of the country, that we homosexuals are not sick or deranged, as you were quoted saying in the newspaper article.
Now, dear sir, when Archbishop Orombi rails against me, I can keep quiet. His religion is an option. I may choose to leave. Since his god does not love me, and rejects me.
But I am a Ugandan. To be assailed by your Excellency so badly, in support of a religion which bashes me as bad is very hurtful.
“I cannot reject my birthright, nor deny it. I am a Ugandan who is gay…”
I can say I am not a Christian. According to the Archbishop, I am too much of a sinner to be that. I can also opt out of Islam. According to the Mufti, I should be marooned on an island in Lake Victoria till I die.
But sir, I cannot stop myself from being Ugandan.
I am a Ugandan. A simple, common, Ugandan.
I have the same problems of poverty, and corruption and others, just like all other Ugandans. We homosexuals are a minority which will never be a majority.
For the beloved leader of my country to deny my birthright as a Ugandan, and demonise me, just because I am homosexual is something which hurts me a lot. For His Excellency the President, despite the wealth of advice that is at his hands, to do this from ignorance of what homosexuality is, that, again, is deeply disturbing.
Sir, I am gay, and Ugandan. I may not be a Moslem. I may not be a Christian. But I do assert that I am a Ugandan.
You, sir, cannot reject me, because I am a Ugandan. I cannot reject my birthright, nor deny it. I am a Ugandan who is gay. And I am happy that I know that there is no problem with that.
I would like to invite your Excellency to study a little bit about homosexuality, so that you are not led in error by religious leaders’ condemnation of us as human beings.
We are deeply hurt by all that they say, but are more hurt when our country rejects us for what we are, and when our country mates do so. We are hurt when our beloved President does the same, just to help the very strong church in its moral crusade. We accept that we may not be good enough to be in the church or mosque. But if we are denied our birthright as Ugandans, that is more hurtful, more galling.
Please your Excellency, do not bash us like so, and out of ignorance. We are just a bit different. Homosexual, yes; Gay, yes, but we are still Ugandans.
A Gay Ugandan
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. The government has actively opposed gay rights, banned same-sex marriage, arrested gays and lesbians, imposed censorship laws and recently said it would not target LGBT people in its HIV/AIDS policies.