Homosexuality is against the law in many parts of the world, including India and most African countries.
In Uganda, it carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and 95 percent of Ugandans seem to like it that way. Katherine Roubos, a 22-year-old from Minnesota, has been writing about gay issues in the East African country while interning at the Daily Monitor. In a recent piece, several gays and lesbians described their struggles to her. One 30-year-old man said he once thought he would "grow out of it," but has come to accept his homosexuality.
I am hiding, constantly wondering who is watching, afraid of accusations, but on the other side, I am happy because I have a community and I am following my heart. I have been with my partner seven years and we are very much in love.
When the people talk about gays and lesbians they run directly to talk about sex. But it is love between us, not just sex. When we are together, we are happy, just like a newly married couple would be. We trust and love each other.
I am very religious, but it is hard for me to go to church because I don’t feel safe there. But I
was created by God, created like this; God did not make me wrong.
He feels unsafe in church! Where’s he supposed to go to feel safe — the dark alley behind the bar?
Roubos’ writing triggered a demonstration in Uganda, with people calling for her to be deported.
Demonstrators at Tuesday’s event, organized by a coalition of
Christian, Muslim and Bahai groups, accused Roubos of advocating for
gay rights in the country. The coalition said it was writing a protest
letter to the Aga Khan (who owns the paper).
The Ugandan Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Nsaba Buturo, also
attended the protest and said the government supported the enforcement
of existing anti-gay laws.
"We people of Uganda have values. If this lady cannot respect them
then she had better be deported," said Eddie Semakula, a member of the
coalition. "She is advocating for the rights of homosexuals in a paper
that is read by children even. We must protect our children." [Link]
It’s good to know that Ugandan children are reading the newspaper. But if you want to protect them, Mr. Semakula, you’d better stop them from reading the paper, otherwise they’ll find out about that murder in Entebbe, that store robbery in Masaka, that corruption scandal in Kampala.
The Monitor defended Roubos’ "reliable and enterprising" reporting.
Her editor, Moses Sserwanga, said the issue of gay rights was tied in
with larger debates over traditional culture, individual freedoms and
human rights in Uganda.
"On the one hand the constitution forbids homosexual behavior and
yet on the other it promotes individual freedoms," he said. "Our
society is very conservative so we knew this reaction would come out. I
wanted the story to address the contradictions in our constitution." [Link]
What kind of journalism is this? Prize-winning journalism, of course.