What Can We Do For Uganda’s Gays? Ctd

by Chris Bodenner

While many European countries and international groups have cut aid to the Ugandan government, the White House seems stuck:

Since Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed legislation imposing up to a lifetime prison sentence for homosexuality, Obama administration officials repeatedly have said there would be a “review” of U.S.-funded programs in Uganda, but have declined to discuss details of that review or options for reallocating funding. This is a touchy subject, since the United States has allocated more than $400 million in aid to Uganda for HIV and other health programs. While the Obama administration may want to send a message about LGBT rights and avoid funding organizations that might turn in LGBT people — some current grantees have even openly backed the anti-gay law — the administration also does not want to appear to be cutting off anti-retroviral therapy to those relying on those programs. … More than half of the 88 countries receiving assistance from the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) already criminalize homosexuality.

Secretary Kerry’s paltry response is to send “experts” on homosexuality to discuss things with Museveni – whose wife, by the way, just offered these illuminating thoughts on the anti-gay law: “Uganda’s First Lady has said if cows can’t be gay, then humans can definitely not be gay.” Meanwhile, more horror stories are coming out of the country:

“As a lesbian living in Uganda, it has been very difficult,” [says gay-rights activist Clare Byarugaba]. “My mom said, ‘I’m going to hand you into police.’ What that means is corrective rape. That I can’t see my family anymore. I have received so many death threats. And now I’m facing seven years to life imprisonment simply because of the work I’m doing—and because of my sexual orientation.” …

After Byarugaba was involuntarily outed by a Ugandan tabloid “witch hunt” earlier this year, she had to take a week off from work to cope with the personal fallout. “Coming out was supposed to be my journey,” she said. “Unfortunately the media did it for me when I was not ready.” She has seen friends lose their jobs and get assaulted by the police. “A transgender friend, a mob attacked her and undressed her in public,” Byarugaba said. “I know people who have tried to commit suicide. People call me on a daily basis and say, ‘Give me five reasons why I shouldn’t kill myself.’”

Previous Dish on the crisis in Uganda here.