Tuesday, 15 February 2011

David Kato: In Memoriam


You may not know who David Kato Kisule is, I think you should.

He was a very brave man doing the right thing, an openly gay, gay rights campaigner in a backwater for human rights: Uganda; itself the ugliest jewel in the twisted crown of African homophobia.

And I say was because on the 26th January 2011 he was murdered.

The police, themselves a government tool for the repression, murder and torture of gay men, have stated that his death has nothing to do with his sexuality.

We shall see. In reality, I doubt we will, such is the weight of state approved homophobia in Uganda.

I blogged on this disgraceful phenomena back in June of last year but David Kato's strength and bravery stand out for recognition in the face of such wide spread and deep-set bigotry. Uganda is competing enthusiastically for the worst place in the world to be gay (indeed the upsetting BBC documentary on Uganda has that very title), with it's threats of making homosexuality punishable by death, it's creation of legislation so people snitch on suspected homosexuals (parents are encouraged to hand in their own children, to be humanely killed I imagine, like sickly animals) and this atmosphere of terror leads to gay people being forced to live in slums, rejected by their families and at constant risk of state approved violence.

There is a real appetite in Uganda for the execution of homosexuals, not only because the government endorses such backwards views but because lies are spread about homosexuality. Lies that have a classic ring to them, as they were once used (and still are by hardcore bigots, idiots and certain Daily Mail journalists) here in the UK: homosexuality goes hand in hand with pedophilia, it's effects your lifespan, sexuality as a choice that thus can be cured etc.

David Kato lobbied for gay people's human rights in the face of all of this, out and proud in a country where this put his life in immediate and terrifying danger.

An amazing man, I salute him, his death is a terrible loss but this cause will not go unheeded.

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