The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) have condemned a seminar “designed to attack lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans under the cloak of religion”.
The 3-day seminar in Kampala, which opened today, features an array of US speakers known for their efforts to dehumanise LGBT people and for their belief that homosexuality can be “cured,” said that groups.
The speakers include Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge—leading voices in the crusade by religious extremists to roll back basic human rights for LGBT people in the United States.
Brundidge is affiliated with Extreme Prophetic Ministry in Phoenix, Arizona. Schmierer is on the board of the so-called “ex-gay” organisation Exodus International. Lively is well known for his belief that the Nazi Holocaust never happened.
“The American religious right is finally showing its hand and revealing the depth of its support for homophobia in Africa,” said IGLHRC’s Executive Director Cary Alan Johnson.
“This seminar will increase violence and other human rights abuses against LGBT people, women and anyone who doesn’t conform to gender norms. This newest form of colonialism is deplorable and must be stopped.”
The seminar is hosted by the Family Life Network (FLN), a Ugandan non-governmental organization founded in 2002 that claims to be committed to the “restoration of Ugandan family values and morals.” The FLN opposes access to safe, legal abortions.
It also opposes the use of condoms and promotes abstinence-only programming as its approach to HIV prevention. The FLN makes the sensationalised claim that homosexuality is “spreading like wildfire in schools.”
The event organisers have invited parents, teachers, government workers, politicians, counsellors and faith leaders. The seminar costs 25,000 Ugandan Shillings a day (approximately $12.60) to attend. Books and materials are extra.
“This seminar is just another way of encouraging hatred and abuse,” said a spokesperson from SMUG.” We condemn their discriminatory words and actions that only lead to violence. Suffering is all that they are bringing to Uganda — all in the name of God.”
“There is a lot of misunderstanding about human sexuality,” said Ugandan Bishop Dr. Christopher Ssenyonjo, who was expelled from the Anglican Church for supporting gay people. “This workshop is going to bring more conflict, greater hostility, increased intimidation.”