Set Backs vs Progress

This past week the president of Uganda gave a statement that made many happy, but didn’t bring much gratification to my life. I’m not one that likes to accept the lesser of two evils. When people ask me if I would prefer to be hot or cold, I tell them neither, I want to be comfortable. I don’t like to compromise, point blank. (some say this is something I need to work on, but I gave up my aspirations to be a politician a long time, but hey, who knows what can happen).

The Ugandan President fed into international tensions and decided to oppose the new legislation. President Museveni announced that the gay-genocide bill is too “harsh” and just this week attempted to convince the National Resistance Movement Party to reverse the death sentence section of the law.

So time to party right? Sing a little kum-ba-ya, hold hands in peace and harmony because now their president isn’t going to kill the gays…right?obama_gay

Well, before we start the celebration of dancing through the hills and rainbows too early, lets examine other parts of the bill and understand that the president only slightly encouraged legislators to remove the “death penalty” from the gay-genocide bill. So at the very least, we can stop calling it gay-genocide, and begin to call it, gay-life-imprisonment! In the proposed bill, there is a section that states “anyone convicted of a homosexual act, which includes touching someone of the same sex with the intent of committing a homosexual act, would face life imprisonment.”

President Museveni has not really made any statements about this section of the legislation, but based off of the interviews that I have watched, he looks to be just at bigoted as the rest of the politicians and church leaders that support the bill. Like the title of my last blog stated, “Don’t’ kill the fags, just hate them” and put them in prison for life.

So once again, I cannot and will not accept the lesser of two evils. A.K.A: I’m still mad. I was reading different fact sheets about laws in Africa as a whole and it didn’t help my anger much. I discovered that lesbian and gay rights are very limited on the African continental in a general sense. Homosexuality is punishable by death in 3 countries currently (Sudan, Nigeria and Mauritania) and illegal in no less than 38 other nations.

As some one who would consider himself an activist, it becomes very discouraging when you don’t even know where to start taking action. I learned today that mobilization cannot be predicted among oppressed groups simply by the level of suffering. Those who are marginalized need communication, infrastructure, and organization. I know what’s needed to fight against oppression, now all I need is the resources to do so. I’ll figure something out.

On a lighter side of the LGBT front, this past week President Obama named a transgender woman—Amanda Simpson—to be a Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department. Simpson made a heartening statement, saying “as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others.” In light of Martin Luther King’s National Holiday, I always think back to what went through his mind when he was in Birmingham jail. What kept him pushing forward when so much hate was so prevalent in the various aspects of his life? Sometimes when things are going bad in some sectors of existence, we need to look at the positive to encourage us all to keep pushing forward towards justice and equality. So today, in some sense at least, I will pull hope from South Africa—which allows gay marriage—and Amanda Simpson, a symbol of progress.