I rebuke Chad Griffin, Executive Director of multi-million dollar organization, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, who boasts a million members at his fingertips, for failed leadership on this issue.
By Melanie Nathan, January 18, 2014.
The Ugandan Diaspora group, Uganda GAY on the Move, held a well attended “Drop The Bill Protest” in Amsterdam today, at the Homomonument Westerkerk, to send a message of solidarity home to Uganda’s LGBTI community and to implore upon Uganda’s Parliament to drop the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was passed in December and it is believed has been returned to Uganda’s Parliament by President Museveni.
Wielding signs, with Kuchu insignias on the Ugandan flag and rainbow flags, the group was joined by members of Amsterdam’s LGBT community and straight allies, in a show of love and solicitude.
The protest was organized by a group of Ugandans in the Diasapora who came out to act as a mouth piece for those who cannot speak in Uganda. Joining UGANDA GAY ON MOVE was Stiching Secret Gardens plus a sister organization Out and Proude Diamond group from the United Kingdom.
The signage noting messages read:
“Mr. President Do not Sign the Bill”
“The Bill Is Draconian Drop It!”
“Stop Killing GBT People”
“Be Careful you might put your own son in prison”
Moses Walusimbi, one of the organizers told Oblogdee today:
“We protested against the Bill in Uganda because it violates Human Rights; and to make things worse the President comes out and call us abnormal. So we are sending a massage home as Ugandans and LGBTI people in the Diasapora that we are normal and we don’t need rehabilitation. We are normal like anyone else. How can someone call LGBTI people abnormal like that. We have had to go away and seek refuge in countries, internationally, where gay people are respected as being just the same as every other citizen. We only want to be treated equally at home – not like we are abnormal. “
Even though this statement by President Museveni may, ironically, save the LGBT Ugandans from the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, it is based on lies about Gay people, and not the truth- and perpetuates the very lies upon which the Bill itself is based.
Ugandan gays want to be treated as the normal people they are. More importantly Moses noted, that Ugandan Gays are not criminals and if they were criminals they would not be accepted by the foreign governments which have provided asylum from the persecution which they suffered back home in Uganda.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, once dubbed The Kill The Gays Bill, had passed Parliament last month, and instead of assenting to the Bill, President Museveni, who has no power of Veto on a Private member Bill, sent it back to Parliament, with a scathing letter to Speaker Kadaga, David Bahati and the supporting MPs. Museveni noted that the Bill’s passage was irregular and commented that gays were abnormal and so should not be criminalized because they are abnormal. The NRM, Museveni’s governing Party had planned a caucus to discuss the merits of the Bill. The Party could call for a refusal to vote on the bill as it now goes to Parliament for another round. The Bill could still pass on a two third majority, without the President’s signature.
There have yet to be protests by United States organizations against the current status of the Bill. That to me as an LGBT activist is a great disappointment. I rebuke Chad Griffin, Executive Director of multi-million dollar organization, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, who boasts a million members at his fingertips, for failed leadership on this issue. Although Griffin has conducted the usual HRC armchair activism through a letter to Secretary of State Kerry, he has failed to get LGBT Americans motivated on the issue, and failed to organize the protests that Ugandan activists have been asking for in public statements.
GetEQUAL has also not responded to this round of requests by Ugandan LGBT activists – and to their defense, their resources are minimal. Queer Nation has been using its limited resources to focus on Russia and the Sochi Games.
So thank you to the United Kingdom and Netherlands groups for your activism. Maybe America will wake up and care too…