Sunday, March 28, 2010


March 23, 2010
1. Understanding the role of the Social Work Profession:
The National Association of Social Workers of Uganda was established in 1973 to promote the Social Work profession in Uganda .
The Social Work profession exists to promote the well-being of individuals, groups, families, communities and entire nations, through integrated application of knowledge and professional skills to enhance social functioning. Social Work deals with many situations in a state of "dysfunction" and its goal is to restore "social functioning", defined as "the ability of individuals, groups, organizations, communities and nations to interact in the normal or usual or expected way in society". Since its emergence as a professional occupation around 1900, Social Work has helped nations to solve such problems as Poverty, Alcoholism, Crime, Delinquency, Prostitution, Child abuse and neglect, Domestic violence, Family breakdown, Mental Ill-health, to mention but a few.
NASWU has noted that on October 14, 2009, Ndwora County West MP, Hon. David Bahati presented in the Parliament of Uganda a Private Member's Bill titled: The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. The object of the Bill is: "to establish a comprehensive consolidated legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting (1) any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; and (2) the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other places through or with the support of any Government entity in Uganda or any non-governmental organization inside or outside the country".
Following the tabling of the Bill, a local and international debate has erupted. Views have been expressed in support of the Bill or against the Bill. Such views range from those that welcome the Bill as good and timely to those which question the basis of the Bill. Some of the views disapprove certain provisions in the Bill but agree that the Bill is necessary, while others see the whole idea of this Bill as persecution and violation of the rights of people who regard themselves as homosexual and wish to attain total acceptance in society.
Because this issue falls a great deal in the purview of the Social Work profession, NASWU has deemed it necessary to respond and provide professional guidance in the on-going debate. The purpose of this statement is to ensure that Uganda and other nations in Africa and around the world develop appropriate policy responses to the issue of homosexuality. Professional ethics demand that professional bodies like NASWU provide guidance that is free of political influence; because when wrong policies are developed based on politically-based positions, it is members of the public who suffer or miss out on the good life they could have enjoyed. Ethical practice also demands that where professional errors have been made in the past, they be recognized so that corrective action can be taken for the greater good of society.
2. What do we learn from History?
In this regard, NASWU would like to inform the public that the issue of homosexuality, i.e., the practice of sexual behavior between persons of the same gender, although it has occurred in some societies for millennia, it has been discouraged in most societies as abnormal and harmful behavior with potential to spread in the population once tolerated. In all societies throughout history, it has been self-evident that the normal pattern for human beings as well as for all living organisms in general is for males to unite sexually with females, whether reproduction was a goal for such union or not. In fact, until 1973, the American Psychological Association (APA) listed homosexuality among abnormal conditions requiring the clinical intervention of Psychologists.
However, following widespread circulation of literature developed by Biologist Alfred Kinsey in his studies of human sexuality (Sexual Behavior in the Human Male - 1948) and (Sexual Behavior in the Human Female - 1953) in which he claimed that up to 10% of American society was homosexual, the views of American society towards homosexuality began to change. Kinsey also claimed that it was harmful for people to exercise sexual restraint and encouraged American youth to be sexually active in any manner they wanted, including practicing bi-sexuality. Kinsey invented the term "sexual orientation" which legitimized homosexuality and bisexuality and equated these practices with heterosexuality. It was several years later that Kinsey's studies were refuted as fraudulent, because empirical evidence showed that those claiming to be homosexual in America at the time were no more than 2% of the population. Kinsey had intentionally skewed his data to support his "political" views about homosexuality and he clearly had intention to create political clout for the homosexual movement. Indeed, the social activism that resulted from Kinsey's fraudulent claims about homosexuality put so much pressure on the American Psychological Association (APA) that it eventually removed homosexuality from the list of abnormal conditions (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - DSM) in 1972, largely due to the picketing and protests staged at its professional meetings.
In spite of this stand by the American Psychological Association, scientific studies over millennia have consistently showed that there is no genetic basis for homosexual behavior. All authoritative scientific studies, including studies of twins, reject the view that homosexuality is genetic or innate. It is therefore wrong to compare homosexuality with immutable (unchangeable) characteristics like skin color or gender or physical disability, which the individual has no control over. Homosexuality belongs to the category of other disapproved behaviors that humans in most societies recognize as self-evidently abnormal and harmful and require everybody to learn the discipline of avoiding. These norms and values are also often codified into laws that all members of society are expected to observe.
3. Social Work has responsibility to help individuals overcome behavior difficulties:
Given this background of homosexuality as a behavior-management problem, NASWU would like to inform the public that a key function of the Social Work Profession is to assist individuals experiencing difficulties in behavior. Social Workers (especially those who have trained in Clinical Social Work) are usually equipped with counseling skills to assist individuals experiencing irregular behavior patterns including same-sex attraction, and where necessary, referral to other professionals like clinical psychologists or religious leaders (where spiritual intervention is understood and accepted by the client) may be done. Where these interventions have been done properly and ethically, hundreds of people have overcome homosexuality and achieved appropriate social functioning.
NASWU, however, regrets that because of the misinformation and political activism that began in the late 1940s and 1950s, some professional bodies today have taken political positions on the issue of homosexuality to avoid conflict with certain powerful activist groups that have emerged from the gay-movement. Because of the stance taken by some professional bodies, many clients experiencing same-sex attraction are not given proper information and advice about homosexual attraction and its potential to be overcome.
NASWU calls upon all professional organizations worldwide to restore ethical practice by adopting a principled stand on the issue of homosexuality and by putting in place safeguards against political influence in professional decisions.
4. Understanding how human behavior operates:
In considering the phenomenon of homosexuality, there is need to consider how the dynamics of human behavior affect this issue:
1) In behavior management, indulgence in a given behavior conditions an organism to continue exhibiting such behavior with greater intensity, especially where the behavior is accompanied by a powerful reinforcer such as orgasm, which occurs during sexual behavior. Non-indulgence in a given behavior on the other hand, results in a process called "extinction" in which an organism gradually looses the tendency to exhibit certain behavior responses. These patterns have been studied and verified by social and behavioral scientists. Persons experiencing same-sex temptations would therefore be strongly advised to NOT indulge such temptations, but to resist and direct sexual behavior to opposite sex persons.
2) When behavior achieves social acceptance and legal approval, it easily spreads through the process of social learning, experimentation and modeling. This most likely explains why homosexual practice is more prevalent in societies where legal approval and social acceptance are higher. This also explains why throughout history, nations have used the law to prevent or curtail the spread of undesirable behavior.
3) Human behavior may be influenced at the spiritual level. Human beings are composed of three main parts, namely: the body, the soul and the spirit. A human's spirit can either be empty or inhabited by a good (or holy) or bad (or evil) spirit. These spiritual forces are capable of influencing human behavior beyond the voluntary control of the person possessed by them. This is why, in the New Testament Bible, Jesus cast out evil demonic forces from people exhibiting what psychologists would term "schizophrenia", and the affected persons immediately recovered normal behavior patterns. Demonic activity can be violent or latent as in the case of Mary Magdalene, a woman whose work as a prostitute had demonic link, until she met Jesus. For this reason, Social Work should include the study of the spiritual dimension of life and how it may be applied to promote well-being and social functioning.
4) Human behavior can be influenced at the level of the soul. The soul consists of the "Mind", the "Will" and the "Emotions". When individuals understand with their mind the justification for not behaving in a certain way, that strengthens their ability to exercise their "Will" to "reign-in" their emotions, which are often difficult to control.
5. The question of human rights:
From the professional standpoint, when clients come to a professional practitioner, be it a doctor, a lawyer or a Social Worker, they have a right to be given accurate information about the matter troubling them. The professional practitioner must not withhold any information pertinent to the matter at hand, because professional help exists to assist clients make informed choices. Therefore, the tendency to argue that same-sex attraction is an innate condition and that persons who experience such attraction have a human right to engage in homosexuality, obscures vital information clients should be given and amounts to professional misconduct. In civilized society, attraction to somebody or anything, of itself, does not legitimize indulgence of that attraction. A right to indulgence must be assessed on whether natural, health, social and cultural considerations would judge that indulgence as justified.
Alfred Kinsey's argument of 'sexual orientation' is a misnomer because it is based on the "attraction principle". But, based on this argument, a married man who feels attracted to other women [as universally happens] would be justified to claim that "adultery" is his sexual orientation. Or a thief could claim that "shop-lifting" is their orientation. Or "violent anger" could pass as an "orientation" and be excusable. Based on the "attraction" argument, there is no reason to legislate against pedophiles who claim that their orientation is to have sexual relations with children and that children have capacity to consent such relations. The truth is that in real life, human beings may feel attraction to all kinds of things, but these attractions must be subjected to natural, health, social and cultural considerations to decide what is permissible or not. Only animals can live life basing on instinct, but humans must subject their behavior to reason, which animals are incapable of. Human society is inconceivable without each person learning how to exercise restraint on "attractions" and consciously choosing to behave in acceptable ways. The "restraint principle" is what makes human society livable.
On the question of consenting adults and what harm they constitute, this argument denies the connectedness of society. In systems analysis, society is like an organism with different parts but all of them connected together. The behavior of my neighbors, for example, is part of my children's socialization system. What each individual does reverberates throughout society. That is why it was thought in United States that gays could do their thing if they wanted, but when it came to marriage, this right is being resisted because it involves changing society's collective beliefs and practice such as what children should be taught in school, whether parents or the church can teach against homosexuality, whether a house or hotel owner could refuse to rent to a gay couple based on their beliefs or conscience, etc. For these reasons, in all 31 of 50 states where gay-marriage has come up for referendum vote in US, it has been resisted. It is delusional and unsustainable, however, to allow the population to practice a behavior which they cannot consummate as marriage. Any restrictions on same-sex marriage must first involve restrictions on homosexual behavior itself.
Human rights standards will be satisfied when Social Work practitioners exercise the ethical responsibility to give full and accurate information to persons experiencing same-sex thoughts and attractions, that homosexual thoughts and attraction are part of a range of thoughts and feelings that may occur to people in varying degrees of intensity, but the proper response is not to indulge and reinforce such thoughts and feelings. Instead, when resisted, such thoughts and feelings gradually reduce in intensity until they are no longer of significant social concern. All humans must resist and overcome feelings of one kind or other. Traditionally, the law is an additional means of helping us with behavior management.
The Social Work profession must apologize for any mishandling of the issue of homosexuality in the past and resolve to provide professional guidance to clients that is free of political or other considerations.
6. Homosexuality and Public Health risk:
Homosexual practice is associated with serious public health risks that our under-developed health systems are ill-equipped to handle. Even in developed countries, citizens are resisting the tax-burden originating from runaway healthcare costs.
Male Homosexuality is associated with rapid spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) like HIV and Hepatitis B and C. Because of heightened risk of disease among Men who have sex with Men (MSM), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy prohibits blood donation by Men who have sex with men. Drug-resistant infections like rectal gonorrhea and complications like fecal incontinence would be rare in the public health system without the practice of anal sexual intercourse, but school children in Uganda are beginning to present with these rare diseases due to involvement in homosexual activity (as argued by Hon. Obua Ogwal in the Parliamentary debate on the Anti-homosexuality Bill, 2009 when he talked of a newspaper report of a school boy found with rotting anal orifice after involvement in homosexual activity). Some rectal infections may be drug resistant and complications like fecal incontinence require expensive specialist surgery:
"Penicillin is ineffective at treating rectal gonorrhea: this is because other bacteria within the rectum produce ?-lactamases that destroy penicillin. All current treatments are less effective at treating gonorrhea of the throat, so the patient must be rechecked by throat swab 72 hours or more after being given treatment, and then retreated if the throat swab is still positive." [Wikipedia]
"Fecal incontinence is the loss of regular control of the bowels. Involuntary excretion and leaking are common occurrences for those affected.... One study among 14 anoreceptive homosexual men and ten non-anoreceptive heterosexual men showed that anoreceptive homosexual men have decreased anal canal resting pressure relative to non-anoreceptive heterosexual men and no associated fecal incontinence. Another study among forty anoreceptive homosexual men and ten non-anoreceptive heterosexual men found a very significant increase in fecal incontinence (fourteen, or 35% amongst the anoreceptive men, and one, or 10% in the non-anoreceptive sample) amongst the anoreceptive sample". [Wikipedia]
These diseases constitute preventable health crisis that any government must act early to prevent. It is noteworthy that anal and oral sexual intercourse may result in unique strains of gonorrhea (rectal or throat gonorrhea) that are resistant to ordinary anti-gonorrhea treatment. This is probably proof that nature abhors abuse ("abuse" is a grammatical construct: abuse = abnormal use):
Homosexual practices are also known to expose an individual to varied and extreme risks to their physical and psychological health. These scientific findings strongly justify state legal measures that prohibit sexual conduct against the self-evident natural pattern, because there are harmful public health consequences of unnatural sexual conduct which the state is justified to take measures to prevent.
Secondly, given that the risk of HIV infection is so much higher among male homosexuals, increased practice of homosexuality and bi-sexuality threatens to reverse the commendable progress Uganda has made against HIV/AIDS, of reducing infection rates from 18% to today's national average of about 6%. Bi-sexuality is a particularly risky practice because it creates a disease transfer linkage from a high risk population to the general population. These preventable health threats partly justify legal measures to prevent the spread of homosexual behavior.
7. NASWU's specific guidance on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009:
We conclude this statement with the following guidance about the proposed Anti-homosexuality Bill, 2009:
Our independent findings show that this Bill was necessitated by extraordinary developments in Uganda and around the world which have been widely documented and reported in the media, including:
a) increasing incidents of homosexual abuse of children and youth by people exercising power and influence over them like teachers, pastors, parents etc. A recent report shows this. Uganda: Child Abuse rampant.;
b) recruitment of youth into homosexual practice with inducements including money. (Homosexual admits recruiting students). While Uganda has a law that currently prohibits sexual "acts against the order of nature", this law is not comprehensive enough to cover the promoters of these acts.
c) promotion of homosexuality by some organizations, including a pro-gay book by UNICEF circulated in schools without seeking permission of the Ministry of Education; (UNICEF Book supports teen homosexuality). The draft law seeks to stop promotion and further recruitment of unsuspecting children and youth into homosexuality.
d) creation of organizations whose sole purpose is to promote homosexuality in Uganda ; (e.g. (Sexual Minorities Uganda); (Integrity Uganda); (Freedom and Roam Uganda)
e) government-led campaigns at the UN led by some countries like France and Brazil to secure a UN General Assembly resolution imposing homosexuality as an internationally protected human right. For example, on November 18th 2008, France and Netherlands initiated a campaign which seeks to use the UN to push homosexuality on other nations of the world.
f) the mistake in western society, where the issue of homosexuality was handled lightly as a minor, private issue, but these societies are waking up too late on realizing that the matter affects how their entire society is ran, what children are taught at school and literally what everybody "must believe and practice". This waking-up is for example seen in anti-gay-marriage campaigns in United States, where US citizens are fighting to retain traditional family values against stiff competition from gay-activists in 31 states where the matter has come up for a referendum vote, winning such ballot battles by the skin of their teeth. As expected, these countries are stuck with a huge population of their citizens that has been recruited into homosexual practice over decades of tolerance to the practice, that has seen the rise of powerful, well-funded organizations that regularly misinform children and youth about homosexuality and recruit them into their ranks. This discontented population is justifiably angry against a society that allowed them to practice behavior they cannot fully celebrate as marriage and is demanding equality for self-evident disordered and harmful behavior. This represents mismanagement of human behavior by public institutions in these countries, because legal safeguards were not put in place early enough to prevent the spread of homosexuality and related practices.
Given the aforementioned information about homosexuality and human behavior and these developments in Uganda and internationally, we advise as follows:
1. NASWU rejects the view that same-sex attraction is an innate "orientation", rather, it is part of a range of feelings individuals ought to learn to bring under control as they mature;
2. There is justification for Uganda to put in place appropriate legislation to comprehensively prohibit homosexuality;
3. The Anti-homosexuality Bill has drafting errors in the way some offences and penalties are conceived, that should be corrected before its passage;
4. The clause requiring mandatory reporting of all known homosexual offences should be amended to exempt disclosure made in counseling situations, in organizations licensed to offer same-sex counseling services, to encourage those experiencing same-sex attractions to seek professional help on behavior management. To be licensed, such counseling organizations must sign an undertaking not to dispense pro-homosexual advice to their clients.
5. The Parliament of Uganda is acclaimed worldwide for writing some of the best laws in the world. The Anti-homosexuality Bill will go through the established scrutiny that all bills undergo before they become law. As in previous instances, an appropriate law will emerge from this process that even other countries may want to emulate. Members of the public as well as Social Workers should express their views to the concerned committee in Parliament to ensure that their views inform the law-making process.

Sempa’s University Distances itself from him

Recently, Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa made statements concerning public policy regarding homosexuals in that nation. Philadelphia Biblical University (PBU) categorically condemns any position that calls for violence against human beings created in the image and likeness of God, or violent solutions to socially controversial issues. While PBU holds to a biblically defined position regarding human sexuality, to call for such action clearly violates the teaching of the Bible, and the principles and practices taught at PBU. Ssempa did earn a graduate degree from PBU in 1994. Ssempa also received an honorary degree from PBU in 2006 for his ministry of compassion to HIV/AIDS victims in his native land. The University was not aware at that time of Ssempa's recently expressed views. His present publicly stated position in no way represents or reflects the views of the University, its administration, or its faculty. It is our sincere hope that Christians would hold their convictions regarding homosexuality with a spirit of grace and compassion toward all human beings.
-From the University Administration

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Exodus International Issues Statement Condemning Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill

The board of directors of Exodus International has issued a statement condemning the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before Parliament. This statement comes amid year-long criticism of the ex-gay organization after one of its board members, Don Schmierer, conducted an anti-gay conference in Kampala alongside two other anti-gay American activists, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Brundidge. That conference, which included Lively’s infamous “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda”, fanned the already burning flames of virulent homophobia in that country and ushered in the proposal a draconian new law which would, among many other things, result in the death penalty for gay people under certain conditions.
In this latest statement from Exodus International, the Board says:
Exodus International believes that every human life, regardless of an individual’s sexual behavior, is of inestimable worth to God and that defending this principle is foundational in offering a Christian response to any issue. As such, Exodus International has not and will not support any legislation that deprives others of life and dignity including, but not limited to, Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. We stand with all who are defending this basic, biblical tenet and remain committed to sharing the compassion, hope and life-giving truth and grace of Jesus Christ.
“In November of 2009, several of us sent a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and First Lady Museveni expressing our concerns regarding The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. The legislation would render some homosexual practices crimes punishable by life imprisonment and possible death. We believe that sexual crimes against children, whether committed by someone of the same or opposite sex, are the most serious of offenses and should be punished; we consider same-sex behavior in consensual adult relationships another matter.
Exodus issued their open letter to President Yoweri Museveni on November 16, 2009, more than nine months following the Kampala conference. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was formally introduced into Parliament on October 15.
On March 10, 2010, barely a full year after the Kampala conference, Exodus International president Alan Chambers left a comment on Warren Throckmorton’s web site expressing disappointment over not having had an opportunity to appear on ABC’s Nightline, saying, ” would have loved nothing better than to share our disdain for this bill and apologize for going anywhere near such a horrible conference.” While this statement from Exodus accomplishes the first goal, there is no apology for having participated in the “Nuclear Bomb” conference.
The latest statement also condemns criminalization of homosexuality as a hindrance to the group’s mission “assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue.”
Exodus’s statement is signed by Alan Chambers, vice president, Randy Thomas, board chair Bob Ragan, and fifty-one other board members and ex-gay ministry leaders, including Don Schmierer. The full text of the statement is reproduced below. The statement appears on the Exodus International blog, but so far it does not appear on the organization’s official web site.
Ugandan Statement Issued From Exodus Board & North American Leaders
“Exodus International believes that every human life, regardless of an individual’s sexual behavior, is of inestimable worth to God and that defending this principle is foundational in offering a Christian response to any issue. As such, Exodus International has not and will not support any legislation that deprives others of life and dignity including, but not limited to, Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. We stand with all who are defending this basic, biblical tenet and remain committed to sharing the compassion, hope and life-giving truth and grace of Jesus Christ.
“In November of 2009, several of us sent a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and First Lady Museveni expressing our concerns regarding The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. The legislation would render some homosexual practices crimes punishable by life imprisonment and possible death. We believe that sexual crimes against children, whether committed by someone of the same or opposite sex, are the most serious of offenses and should be punished; we consider same-sex behavior in consensual adult relationships another matter.
Since the Bible clearly states that homosexual behavior was not part of God’s creative intent for human sexual expression, the Christian church must remain a safe, compassionate and confidential place. If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue. The Christian church must be permitted to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all, regardless of an individual’s adherence to scripture. We believe that such legislation would make this mission a difficult, if not impossible, task to carry out.
Many of us, and those we know and work with, have personally struggled with same-sex attractions and some have lived as gay-identified individuals, but we have since found a new identity in Jesus Christ. We now live our lives to reflect the transformation that is available to those who submit their mind, will and emotions to the Lordship of Christ. We sincerely believe that such transformation cannot be achieved in an environment of government coercion where the vital support, care and compassion of the Christian community is discouraged and prosecuted. In addition, it wasn’t through coercion that Christ set us free, but through the gracious invitation He extended to us for relationship and the freedom He gave us to choose our own path.
Alan Chambers
Exodus International
Rev. Bob Ragan
Regeneration of Northern Virginia
Chairman of the Board, Exodus International
Exodus Membership Council
Mike Goeke
Counseling Pastor
Stonegate Fellowship
Vice Chairman of the Board, Exodus International
Jayson Graves, M.MFT
Christian counselor & Neurotherapist
Healing for the Soul
Secretary of the Board, Exodus International
Clark and Martha Whitten
Grace Church
Treasurer of the Board, Exodus International
Jeff Winter
Board Member, Exodus International
Founder, One by One
Don and Diana Schmierer
Board Members, Exodus International
Bob Stith
National Strategist for Gender Issues
Southern Baptist Convention
Chairman of the Board , Living Hope Ministries
Board Member, Exodus International
Melissa A. Ingraham, MA, NCC
Mental Health Counselor
Christian Counseling Center
McKrae Game
Executive Director
Truth Ministry
Dave and Diane Rasmussen
Simon Ministries
Tony Moore
Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator
Exodus International
Tommy Corman
Executive Director
Love In Action International
Jim Katsoudas
Executive Director
Clean Heart Ministries
Kenny Warkentin
Resource Outreach Coordinator
Living Waters Central Region
Gregory C. Wallace
Executive Director
Hope & New Life Ministries
Mark Culligan
New Hearts Outreach
Tammi Wilds
Interim Director
New Hearts Outreach
Ryan Ortega
Client Relations & Technical Support
New Hearts Outreach
Bob Jones,
Executive Director
Fresh Word Ministries
Ron Smith
New Hope Ministries
Russell Willingham
Executive Director
New Creation Ministries
Mike Levenhagen
Reclamation Resource Center
Richard Holloman
Executive Director
The Sight Ministry
Billie Jimenez
Florida Regional Coordinator
Exodus International
Judy Williams
In His Time Ministry
Sonia Balcer
Safe Passage
Warren Lamb, Th.M.
Pastor, Truth In Love Fellowship
Director, Vancouver Bible Institute
Stephen Black
First Stone Ministries
Exodus Membership Council
Jim Venice
Executive Director
Clean Heart Ministries
Jerry Armelli
Prodigal Ministries
Michael R. Newman
Executive Director
Christian Coalition for Reconciliation
Allen Hildreth
Walking in Freedom Ministries
Lewis E. Palmer & Carol A. Palmer
Director and Co-Director
Love and Grace Ministry
Jim Duran
Lead Pastor
The River Community
Randy Thomas
Executive Vice President
Exodus International
Paula Mcnabb
Director of Business and Public Affairs
Exodus International
David Fountain
Senior Director of Communications and Events
Exodus International
Leslie Chambers
Director of Ministry Events
Exodus International
Chris Stump
Director of Exodus Books
Exodus International
Jeff Buchanan
Director of Church Association
Exodus International
Angela Buchanan
Director of Communications
Exodus International
Kristin Tremba
Director of One By One
Exodus International
Dr. Marc Dillworth
Director of the Professional Counselor Network
Exodus International
Terri Brown
Director of Exodus Membership
Exodus International
Karen Eaglin
Director of Equipping Events
Exodus International
Paul Webster
Director of Ministry Advancement
Exodus International
Yvette Schneider
Director of Women’s Ministry
Exodus International
Amber Russelburg
Exodus International
Melissa Condrey
Exodus International


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is with great sadness that we write this letter in the hope, that for the sake of the God's compassion and grace, you will take the time to read our testimony which follows here;

We came to this conference with grateful hearts to the organizers of the MCC for taking the courage of organizing this dialogue on such a difficult topic. We were asked to tell something about what LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersex) stands for and what we understood with our being gay and transgender. The best way we could have done that would not have been by "instructing papers", but just by telling our stories.

We were therefore grateful for the possibility that we might give our witnesses as fellow Christians on what it means to be gay Christians, especially in the light of the fact that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Malawi are unable to fulfill this function out of fear of imprisonment and/or out of fear for the church itself. This fear is very real because so often they have suffered under those who proclaim to preach the Word of God but instead make judgmental and prejudiced statements about their lives without ever listening to their stories.

When this opportunity for dialogue arrived, we were hoping that the Church shared our understanding of dialogue, that it means creating safe spaces where people of different orientations or opinions can respectfully and without fear become vulnerable to each others' stories and background.

We were amazed and often insulted by the level of misconception and lack of understanding on what it means to be homosexual and that some of the delegates treated us as lepers, as if homosexuality is contagious or that we can ever "convert" people to homosexuality. Homosexual orientation is not a CHOICE. Nobody who is sane of mind will ever choose this life of pain, rejection, prejudice and even fear of rape and death.

We were saddened that the unconditional Grace and message of love and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ were never mentioned; instead we felt that we were the subjects of severe Bible bashing by those who objected to our "international presence" stereotyping and caricaturing of what they thought were our sinful existence.

If we were granted the opportunity to speak about what homosexuality means to us – as the agenda intended, we would have shared with you that we believe our lives not just to be about sexual acts or behavior. Gay and lesbian people are not pedophiles (some heterosexuals as well as homosexuals might be depraved and molest children). We felt that our lives were being dehumanized by talking about us just in sexual terms. We agree with the church worldwide that there are heterosexual acts as well as homosexual acts that are perverse and deprived of all values and norms. But as Christian gay, lesbian and transgender people, we also seek to be followers of Christ. As such, we would have hoped that you would have recognized in us fellow brothers and not international foreign voices that seek to influence you.

My story as Victor Mukasa would have been brief and vulnerable. Born as a woman in Uganda, I realized from an early age that my gender identity is not that of a woman but of a man and I experienced this as a mistake of nature that gave me the genitals of a woman, while my hormones, my brain and my whole constitution and self identification has always been that of a man. I would have told you that the T in LGBTI stands for Transgender. I would have also told you, in case you doubt that we use the word "mistake of nature", that intersex people are living proof that such mistakes do happen. Thousands of babies worldwide are born with ambiguous genitals. This means that they have both, almost unidentifiable, male and female organs. So from the outside, it is impossible to say whether they are a man or a woman, and its often the parents, at an early age, that decide that they want this child to be a man or a woman and so they remove one sexual organ and very often thereby condemning this child to be of a gender identity that does not reflect the hormonal or emotional make of that child. This is what I would have told you with regard to gender identity and also about intersex - it is not to be confused with sexual orientation. The majority of gay and lesbian people are happy to be a male or a female and do not want to be the opposite sex regardless of what stereotypes are saying about gay and lesbian people.

But much more important than this technical information, I would have told you about the hurt, pain and rejection I suffered at the hands of the Church in this journey trying to find my gender identity. I had no choice in this matter. I nearly lost my faith in a loving God due to this rejection, but I am grateful that I discovered that it is God who made me the way I am and that His grace is sufficient for me. I am personally saddened that those that I look up to for protection and compassion, the Church leaders, are the ones who stated, at the beginning of this conference, that you regard me as your enemy.

For me, Pieter Oberholzer, it was sad that I, as an ordained South African Minister, had to be asked as my gay brothers and sisters in Christ from Malawi were too intimidated to do this. We did not volunteer to come, nor did we come as activists. I saw this as an occasion to share my personal journey with God and the Church. I was so sure that from you, as my brothers and sisters in Christ and as ambassadors of God, I would find willing ears and respect for the fact that we are all created in the image of God..

I was deeply saddened, insulted and alarmed that fellow brothers and sisters in Christ compared my life to that of the gang rapes of heterosexual men in prisons, adulterers, thieves and prostitutes. I would have shared with you the fact that I struggled for most of my life with my God to take this orientation away from me. During that struggle, I have never given myself over to "sinful desires" or to a life of "rebellion against God". I was called at the early age of five to serve God and my whole life was geared towards my call. It was a shock of tremendous proportions to discover in my late teens that I was emotionally, spiritually and sexually attracted to people of my own sex. I have tried everything in my power to steer away from that, including, voluntary aversion shock therapy for more than two years, getting engaged to a woman that I did not love (I have never ever been drawn emotionally or sexually to a woman).

By the grace of God, I discovered that if my church, the Dutch Reform Church of Southern Africa, could be so wrong in their biblical defense of apartheid, they can also be wrong in their biblical defense of my homosexual orientation. It is only by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life that I came to accept that God created me just the way I am. I am also grateful that God has given me the gift of love in a partner and that I have been, for nearly thirty years, in a loving, respectful relationship with one man. It was therefore my earnest prayer that you as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ would have recognized in my personal journey and witness that I love Christ and want nothing more than to follow Him.

Through our stories hopefully you would have discovered that LGBTI Christians cannot be merely defined by Men Having Sex with Men (MSM) or even, for that matter, with any reference to purely sexual acts as our lives testify that homosexual orientation is very similar to heterosexual orientation. We have not chosen our orientation neither are we driven by sexual desires resulting in certain acts. You would have heard from us, as we said in the beginning, that homosexual acts that are not born out of love, responsibility or faithfulness are wrong in our eyes and can be performed by heterosexual as well as homosexual people.

We write this letter to you, not because we so desperately want to be heard, but because we believe for the Church to be true to the gospel of love, compassion and hospitality. Now is the time to enter into dialogue with ALL God's children, regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation. We are saddened that in our experience of the proceedings of yesterday morning, that your fear of us is a dark moment in the history of the Church of Malawi and a sad day for the grace of God.

Our prayers go with you and the rest of the proceedings, that you will allow the Holy Spirit to make you channels of hope and compassion to all those in your country that presently are hurting through the rejection by the Church and society while they are desperately seeking the community of the Church.


Victor Mukasa and Reverend Pieter Oberholzer

Mangochi, Malawi, 17/March/2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

An open letter to President Barrack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela.

Dear Sirs,

It is with so much of a burdened heart that I write to you today in regards to the proposed anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda. As an African, a lesbian and a member of clergy, I am personally affected by the bill and its potential implications for my fellow LGBT African family who live not only in Uganda but in neighboring African countries that may follow suit and enact such hateful legislation.

According to the book of Micah 6:8, we are required by God "to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God" and in Mark 12: 28-31, Jesus spells out the two commandments that encompass every other commandment in the bible which is that we must "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these".

The proposed anti homosexuality bill is in direct violation of these commandments from Jesus and yet, so called "Christians" are behind its proposed passage. I really feel saddened for Jesus due to the fact that even though he came to bring good news and hope to the world, his earthly "Christian representatives" often bring bad news, hopelessness, alienation/rejection and so much pain and suffering to the others in his name.

Stigma and discrimination are directly tied to risk factors for suicide. Having been an alcoholic and drug addict who attempted suicide due to the religion based oppression and rejection that I faced when I came out as a lesbian in Africa, I know firsthand how dangerous this form of rejection can be and I am sure that it is being magnified by this proposed bill. Members of the LGBT community are more at risk of suicide and substance abuse than the general population. A study that included 5,000 homosexual men and women revealed that 40% of adult gay males and 39% of adult lesbians had either attempted or seriously contemplated suicide (Jay & Young as cited in McFarland, 1998). Another study reported that gay and lesbian adolescents were two to three times more likely to attempt suicide and may account for as many as 30% of completed youth suicides each year (Gibson, as cited by MacFarland, 1998). More recently, Montreal researchers who just published a study on the subject this month of February 2010, have found that Gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers are twice as likely to think about killing themselves or to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers and that society, not their sexuality is to blame (Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 2010).

With gay bashing on the rise worldwide, I fear that Uganda (an already heavily homophobic country) may start to experience higher rates of gay bashing if this hateful legislation becomes law and thus, "validates" homophobia. An FBI report released in 2007 indicates that not only have documented hate crimes increased in the United States, but that crimes targeted against gay people has increased from 14% in 2005 to 16% in 2006. Bias-related hate crimes increased 8% in the same time period. Crime related to one's sexual orientation ranked third in frequency behind race and religion. As a lesbian from Africa who has lived in 3 continents, I can tell you that there is absolutely no difference between the hateful bigotry I have felt due to racism and the hateful bigotry I have felt due to homophobia.

This is THE civil rights issue for our generation and we all must speak out and take a stand against such a blatant violation of fundamental human rights.

The proposed bill means that homosexuals could be put away in prison for life (at a minimum), or worse, put to death. It means that people who test positive for HIV may be executed. It forbids the "promotion of homosexuality," which in effect bans all organizations working in HIV and AIDS prevention. The 16,000 members of the HIV Clinicians Society of South Africa and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS condemn the bill and have warned that excluding marginalized groups would compromise efforts to stop the spread of AIDS in Uganda where 5.4% of the adult population is infected with HIV. The bill states that anyone who knows of homosexual activity taking place but does not report it would risk up to three years in prison (this would include one's family members, pastors, counselors and doctors). The bill doesn't only apply to homosexuals in Uganda but provides applies even to Ugandans participating in same-sex acts in countries where such behavior is legal and purports that they be brought back to Uganda and convicted there. Ugandan Lawmakers have indicated that they will pass the bill before year's end.

This bill will, if it is allowed to pass, lead Uganda back to its darkest era. The era of Idi Amin, who in the 1970's, ordered that Ugandan born Asians must be expelled because of their skin color and facilitated the targeted killing of so many people. The bill would in effect exile thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) Ugandans who would most likely flee the country to escape prosecution. It is also frighteningly reminiscent of the era of the sex police of apartheid South Africa, who would smash their way into people's bedrooms in an attempt to prevent inter racial sex.

The Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill is anti-human, anti-Christian and in violation of the fundamental rights that ALL people living in our world today are entitled to. It is in essence, government- legislated genocide and in the interest of humanity, compassion and justice, it must not be allowed to pass and that is why I have written this open letter to you. I am calling on you to stand up and speak out against this bill. I am also calling on all Christians to stand up against the proposed law so that it is not passed in Uganda or anywhere else in the world, and I ask Uganda's president (Yoweri Museveni) and all Ugandan lawmakers, to please engage in dialogue with the rest of the world on the importance of protecting the rights of minorities.

Please do whatever you can to stop this regressive and oppressive bill from becoming law in Uganda.

With hope, Reverend Rizi Timane of The Gospel Truth Music Ministry

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why Ssempa should be opposed


I was on a train at New York’s Grand Central Station on March 5 when a friend from my days at Stanford University entered. I was overjoyed yet embarrassed; one part of me wanted to hug her, the other to hide. She is a successful lawyer in New York married to a celebrated female journalist.
Given the proposed homosexual bill in Uganda, I was wondering how to explain myself to her; that my country would kill her and her partner if they visited me. I did not have much time to decide; she walked over to me with a big smile as soon as she saw me. I jumped from my seat and gave her a warm hug.
As expected, after exchanging pleasantries, she asked me what the “hell” was going on in Uganda. How do I explain the craziness of Martin Ssempa and his gay porn videos at public rallies; the deeply held prejudices against gays and the ignorance that informs the debate? Since I arrived in America, I have been confronted with persistent questions about Uganda’s kill-the-gays bill at media interviews and public lectures I give.
Most Ugandans possibly don’t understand that cultural prejudices can be used against any group arbitrarily. For example, sections of white society today still believe that black people are animals like donkeys; that inter racial sex is akin to bestiality. It was an act of considerable courage that Barack Obama’s mother married a black man in 1960; equally a difficult choice for her white parents to accept it.
In Dreams from my Father, Obama says white kids used to laugh at his mother for this choice. When his grandfather complained to their parents, they would answer: “Well, you ought to tell your daughter how to behave herself. White people here don’t marry niggers.” I have learnt from the prejudice against homosexuals in Uganda not to be hostile to racists because they are also victims of culture.
It is in this context that I have been trying to frame my answers to this vexing question. People here see David Bahati and Ssempa as Adolf Hitler; a man who stoked anti Semitic, anti gay and anti black hatred. I always find myself in the difficult position of explaining how good people genuinely convinced that they are trying to protect Ugandan (or Christian) culture from adulteration by the West can promote extreme injustice.
They are like the senator, the president, the congressman etc in America who for many years rejected inter racial marriage on grounds that “it is against our culture”; the male chauvinist in Togo still refusing his daughters to go to school in the name of tradition; the parent in Pakistan who marries off his 12-year-old daughter to a 50-year-old man in the name of culture; the religious cleric in Saudi Arabia who, in the name of religion, orders the stoning to death of a girl for premarital sex; the old woman in Kenya who mutilates the genitals of a young girl in the name of custom.
It seems most evil is not always promoted by evil people. A close reading of the crimes of Hitler and the Nazis shows that actually they were following an established European tradition. People of European descent had committed genocides against native populations in America and Africa. Religion (or culture) and science were always at hand to provide justification for mass slaughter.
Sven Lindquist’s book, Exterminate all the Brutes, is a refreshing and insightful account of the role of religion, tradition and science in promoting European genocides. Many Ugandans choose to bury their heads in the sand of cultural bigotry, Stone Age customs and archaic religious dogmas to persecute gays. Unfortunately, reality and science tell a different story; being gay is as normal as being a heterosexual.
Yet what is intriguing is the similarity of the basis of argument by either side in the gay debate in Uganda. The anti gay campaigners argue that homosexuality is an alien lifestyle to our country; that it is being promoted by people from the West using money. The pro gay campaigners here in the USA argue that the anti gay movement in Uganda is promoted and financed by right wing religious groups in America.
One side denies the domestic origins of homosexuality; the other, the local basis of hostility towards it. This is one way Africa is always denied initiative; events in our continent are seen as instigated from elsewhere as if we are a passive and idle people suffering from too much inertia; initiative in Africa is a sign of forces from outside.
Gays in Uganda – like everywhere else in the world – grow up only to realise that they are sexually attracted to people of the same sex. They do not need any money or propaganda from the West to have those feelings. Equally, anti homosexual feelings are born of ignorance and prejudice that is entirely local. Anti gay Ugandans do not need right wing money or propaganda to be hostile to homosexuality. If external influences play a role at all, it is insignificant and secondary.
Most debates everywhere tend to fall into this false and misleading pitfall; rather than debate the objective content of the argument, people focus on the subjective motivations of the participants. And it is not new; when King Philip of Macedon threatened to forcibly unite all Greek city states against Persia in 550 BC, Athens was polarised.
Demosthenes, the leading orator of antiquity argued vehemently against it; his rival Aeschines, argued in favour. Demosthenes was accused of being on the payroll of Persia; Aeschines of Macedon. Debate sunk into these accusations and counter accusations until Philip pounced. It happened to Nelson Mandela when he sought negotiations with apartheid; he was accused of having been bought off by whites.
Many enlightened Ugandans are afraid to openly challenge Ssempa’s bigotry and Nazi-like campaign against homosexuals for fear of being misunderstood as either being gay or having been bribed by rich gays in the West. Yet those who are unwilling to risk anything in the name of principle never get anything serious done for the cause of the advancement of mankind.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


The Latin American and Caribbean region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - ILGA-LAC commemorates the century of March 8th- International Women´s Day with the certainty that the cultural transformation depends on our struggle and all the other struggles.

We are all Women; workers too! Hence, we lesbians, bisexuals struggle for women´s rights and for the construction of our own rights emptied by the imposed chains of the masculinity´s hegemony. What cannot be seen doesn´t exist and what doesn´t exist has no rights! So today March 8th again we raise our voice and demand the right to have rights, because:

• Directly and indirectly our sexual practices are penalized by at least 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean;
• We are denied of the right to form a family and our children are taken from us, although they wanted to stay with us;
• We hide our identity because of the violence it generates in other people. This implies that we don´t exist in most of the reports which denounce violence against women;
• Our crimes are reduced to the category of “passion crimes”, which hides and preserves the lesbofobic hate behaviors that affect us;
• We are raped in order to correct our sexual orientation, which is justified by many discourses that show us as abnormal and ill;
• We are discriminated, mistreated, laid off and our careers are limited for the mere fact of being women.
• We are not included in most of the narrow sexual health policies. Hence we have double incidence of breast cancer and vaginal herpes, among other difficulties that affect our physical and mental health;
• We are expelled of educational centers. When we are part of them we are permanent victims of lesbofobic bullying.

What has been mentioned above affects female transgenders too whom in a 70% - in most of LAC countries – have not finished their secondary studies. This forces them into prostitution and makes them vulnerable to HIV. ¡Transgender people are assassinated and their murderers are not judged!

To exclude lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders from the yet scarce advances in the field of violence against women, infringes the International Human´s Rights policy laws relegating them to inacceptable social inferiority positions. Hence to the states and governments who represent them, we demand:

• To fulfill the historic demands of the feminist and women´s movement;
• To apply the Yogyakarta Principles that direct the fulfillment of Human´s Rights in matters of sexual orientation and gender identity;
• To actualize the democratic ideal through the active involvement of groups of women, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders in the design of laws and public policy;
• To make the opportunities equal between men and women, and among those for lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, gays and intersex;
• To design public policy laws that protect and make effective the economic, social and cultural rights for lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. Emphasizing the solution of those problems that significantly difficult their complete development;
• To promulgate antidiscrimination laws clearly enacting the political demands from the movement of women and feminist lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.

With strength and courage we -lesbians, bisexuals and transgender- face the moral dictatorships that pretend to rule our bodies and the conservative governments that hinder the development and implementation of an approach of human´s rights that goes in depth in the achievement of the sexual and reproductive rights. There in the middle of neoliberal’s terrorism -exacerbated by a post capitalism model- ILGA-LAC raise its voice together with all the women of the world to remember that human´s rights… ¡ARE FOR ALL THE WOMEN!

The Latin American and Caribbean region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

March 8, 2010

The firery night of the tombs - Something to mournShare

Its 4am Thursday Morning March 17th 2010. Just got home after witnessing the fire at the Kasubi tombs. The fire was intense and unrelenting. The crowd mirrored that and became belligerent. By the time we arrived at 10:30pm the fire trucks had smashed windscreens and were nowhere near the fire.

All round were people wailing and rolling in the mud mourning and cursing the government. The rumour is that a vehicle with no number plates was seen in the area and a jerry can used for petrol was found at the back. Not enough for a judge but enough for a people who witnessed a string of still unsoved school fires last year, closure of "their" station and the blocking of their King's movements leading to riots. In their eyes and hearts, this was yet another attack on the Baganda by a callous and desperate government. hence the police and military were not welcome. The mood was defiant to the point that live bullets only attracted the crowd rather than scatter them.

Bullets were being fired accompanied by the odd can of teargas. It was a standoff. the police and army were being blocked from entering by a crowd that suspected them of setting the fire (that means government) and trying to "finish Buganda". After several attempts at entering by the riot police, and an almost non-appearance appearance of the katikiro, everyone turned to the fire and decided they must put it out.

From the looks of it the roof caught fire early and buckled the metal I-beams which then collapsed into the centre of the masiro. The entire roof was now in the middle of the hut and on fire. Most people wanted to get the remains of the four kings out but the heat was too intense and the path was blocked by mounds of burning grass.

After intense negotiation with General Katumba Wamala, having agreed to stop the shooting and leave the military and riot police outside, the fire engines began to enter. It was 11:45am - 4 hours after the fire had started.

The scenes that followed were heartening as the firemen were taking instructions from the young men who had done some of the work including, amazingly, found "safe" routes into the middle of the inferno. In the end the firemen were handing the hose-guns to the boys and letting them run in and do battle with the flames. Men and women lined the perimeter taking grass from the brave men inside and passed it out to be spreadout to cool down. The grass covered burning material underneath which flamed immediately upon being uncovered. The firemen were on standby to blasts these flames with a good burst as soon as they flared. By now there were three fire trucks including the monster from Entebbe Airport with remote control water cannons.

In a poignant moment the crowd burst into singing the Buganda national anthem as they had found a deep layer of unburnt grass. This, they felt, meant that the artefacts underneath were not burnt. The people leaped into action singing at the top of their voices all the while shouting that "the leopard is ok" (ngo nnamu). In reference to the late King's pet leopard that was kept duly stuffed in the tombs. By the time I left we could not tell if this was the case. We shall return in the morning.

MAny lessons to be learnt. Another mystery to be solved. In the end the drunk/idiot/ or spy who General Katumba Wamala had to rescue by pulling out his pistol, may be the best answer as the drunk had claimed that he was paid to do this and he has won. At least with this there would be no doubt as to what should be done next.

Kizito Sserumaga

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ugandan lesbian wins UK asylum court case, will government still try to deport?

By Paul Canning

A Ugandan lesbian, known at this stage only as 'SB', has won an asylum court case in the High Court against Home Office arguments that she could safely be deported.

The 24 February case before Mr Justice Hickinbottom, which will now go to judicial review, featured strong evidence of the persecution of lesbians in Uganda. The government's defence highlights how the UK asylum system will make every effort including breaking and twisting both rules and evidence to deport lesbians and gays.

It remains to be seen whether the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, will continue to insist that it is safe to return her to Uganda.

Fleeing from Uganda

SB had been briefly detained by police for her lesbianism in September 2003 in Mukono, just west of Kampala (which has ties to Guildford), and again in Kampala in May 2004. Released, she was put on bail but because she had not complied with their reporting conditions she was put on a 'wanted list'.

That November she traveled on a visitor visa to the UK. She overstayed the visa and was discovered during an immigration sweep. Found to have a false Ugandan passport she was arrested and sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.

Many LGBT asylum seekers do not immediately claim asylum for a variety of reasons, including shame or simply a lack of awareness that they can claim asylum. False papers are often used to escape oppression but lead to criminal charges.

In June 2008, SB claimed asylum. This was refused point blank by the Home Office: they did not believe either that she was a lesbian or that she had been detained by police.

She appealed before an immigration judge in March 2009 but asylum was again refused on the basis that "there was no evidence that she was at risk of ill-treatment of such severity [once deported] as to amount to persecution."

That judge agreed with the Home Office's case that there was only ever one case of persecution of lesbians in Uganda, which had involved the high profile chair of a gay group. Because, the judge said, SB was "a very discreet person, and had conducted her sexual relationships discreetly in the past - and would continue to" she could be safely deported.

However the judge did accept the fact that she was a lesbian, that she had been detained by the police and ran the risk of being detained again.

She filed another appeal in July 2009 but on 2 November a caseworker issued an order to seize, detain and then deport her.

On 5 November further representations were made which included far more detailed and up-to-date evidence on the position of lesbians and gays in Uganda. But these were again rejected out of hand by the Home Office who plowed on with their drive for deportation.

Justice Hickinbottom described this decision as "irrational".

The evidence

The evidence Hickinbottom had before him came from Dr Michael Jennings of The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Paul Dillane from Amnesty International UK, who works with the AI Office in Kampala, and Dr Chris Dolan, Director of the Refugee Law Project in Uganda, a community project of the Faculty of Law, Makere University.

Dolan provided over 350 pages of recent background material, including work on the treatment of returnees, particularly at (Kampala's) Entebbe Airport.

This showed that there is a check on failed asylum seeker returnees by Ugandan police and that, given the current hostile attitude towards homosexuality, it would be more difficult for SB to bribe her way out of detention (as John Bosco, who was returned by the Home Office, was forced to do), and it's likely that any bribe would be for a considerable sum.

Amnesty International said that her history of arrest and detention would mean she would be “at real risk of harm should she be forcibly returned." Evidence presented of the abuse suffered by lesbians in Ugandan police detention ran the gamut from touching of intimate parts to the threat of being put into a male cell with the consequent risk of rape.

Prossy Kazzoza, who finally won UK asylum in 2008, was marched naked to a Ugandan police station and subjected to horrific sexual attacks and physical torture after she was discovered by her family. She escaped to the UK after her family bribed the guards to release her — as they wanted to deal with their family shame by having Prossy killed.

The original immigration judge for Prossy's case believed her claim to having been raped and tortured but felt it would be safe to return her to a different part of Uganda.

The evidence Hickinbottom had showed that identified gay men and lesbians can be the subject of ill-treatment, by both the public in terms of lynching and 'corrective rape' and by the police — without them being otherwise 'high profile'. (Thus arguing against the Home Office claims that only one lesbian who was a group leader has ever been persecuted in Uganda).

Because SB is unmarried and without children, the evidence showed, it would - apart from the police attentions - be extremely difficult for her to maintain the sort of 'discretion' which Home Office policy dictates should allow for 'safe' deportation for lesbians and gays even to countries where persecution is known to occur (for example Iran).

Wrote Hickinbottom:
Given this evidence - much of which post-dates the determination of Immigration Judge Grimmett last year - it is perhaps surprising that the Secretary of State took the view that this material, taken with the material the Claimant previously relied upon, was not such as to give the Claimant any chance at all of succeeding with her new asylum claim before a tribunal.
Never mind the evidence

All of this was blithely dismissed by the Home Office representative who wanted deportation because he continued to claim that evidence "lacked specific examples of ill-treatment of identified gay men and lesbians in Uganda". Home Office minister Alan Johnston's representative claimed:
• that the ill-treatment of gay men in Uganda was limited to discriminatory legislation that was not enforced
• SB would only be at risk of arrest in Kampala because the record of her bail infringement was only kept there (evidence showed otherwise, Ugandan police do share the 'wanted list')
• she could internally relocate and live discreetly, as a lesbian, without fear of persecution
• even if arrested in Kampala, she would not face the risk of persecution because the harassment she suffered at the hands of the police when she was arrested in 2003 and 2004 was not sufficiently severe to amount to persecution
• there was evidence of only one incident in which lesbians had suffered ill-treatment during detention
All this is in line with the Home Office country-specific operational guidance notes available to case workers and judges on Uganda - it makes no mention of lesbians. (A series of reports - including one last month - have decried the quality of these reports.)


Refusing the Home Office and allowing the judicial review, Hickinbottom wryly noted that the presentation of the previous judgment once again by Alan Johnston's representative as an argument for deportation - despite all the subsequently available evidence of persecution of lesbians in Uganda - could not be used as "a trump card for the Secretary of State".

He also decided that the brief detention of SB on the orders of a case worker in November was unlawful. He said a number of mistakes were made by the case worker, such as falsely claiming that SB was liable to abscond, and that an Judge's order saying she could not be deported due to a judicial review and must be released was ignored.

It is not over for SB. The Home Office could still fight the case at its next stage. It can keep trying to pull out trump cards rather than live up to its solemn obligations under international laws which the UK is signed up to.

Other parts of the British government are engaged with critiquing the same 'crack down' on Ugandan lesbians and gays that's detailed in evidence presented in SB's case. Ministers have made statements. The Foreign Office is "concerned". The Prime Minister has pulled aside the Ugandan president and told him to stop.

Perhaps those ministers who tell off Uganda for its attitude to Ugandan lesbians could have a quiet word with their fellow minister, Alan Johnson, about his own treatment of Ugandan lesbians?

[Court's decision published in the post]

An Open Statement from the Psychological Society of South Africa

And addressed to:
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Edward Ssekandi Kiwanuka


On the occasion of the proposed legislation in Uganda to greatly expand your country's existing criminalisation of homosexual behaviour, as well as to criminalise those who fail to report even suspicion of it including family members, colleagues and health care professionals;

And given arguments made in the bill itself and from its proponents in numerous public statements that it is intended to achieve the laudable goal of protecting youth, families and communities;

And given that there has been ample critique by civil society including human rights, public health and faith communities addressing a range of serious concerns from those perspectives;

And given that it is good practice that legislation is based not on unsubstantiated opinions, but rather on recognised research findings;

And given that there has not yet been a scientific analysis of the core assumptions and arguments being made to justify the legislation;

And given that the considerable body of relevant international scientific research provides a context in which to assess the assumptions and issues presented by The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009;

It is therefore incumbent on representatives of organised psychology, as leaders in the field of mental health and well-being, to offer such an analysis and recommendations as follows[1]:

The Nature of Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation refers to one's emotional, romantic and sexual attraction to men, women, or both sexes. It can also refer to a person's core sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviours, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.

Research and clinical experience have found no relationship between sexual orientation and someone's ability to contribute to the community and to influence children to become responsible members of society.

Research and clinical experience further concludes that for most people sexual orientation is not "a choice" or "voluntary." The core aspects of sexual orientation, whether heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, typically emerge by early adolescence, even though the individual may not yet have become sexually active.

While "causes" for any of these sexual orientations remain unclear, they are highly resistant to change. Further, there is no reliable evidence that sexual orientation is subject to redirection, "conversion" or any significant influence from efforts by psychological or other interventions.

Research and clinical experience concludes that homosexual or bisexual orientations are naturally occurring minority variations of normal human sexuality. They are also documented widely throughout nature.

The Sexual Orientation of Adults Does Not Adversely Affect Children in Their Care

A common manifestation of prejudice against homosexual people has been the allegation that gay men in particular pose a danger to children. Yet, all available reliable research data and clinical experience concludes that gay men are not more likely than heterosexual men to sexually exploit and abuse children. Claims to the contrary seriously mischaracterise the research and rely on suspect sources. The presumption that homosexual men are paedophiles also is not supported by respected, peer reviewed research.

South African-based as well as other international research has found that there is no difference between children who are raised by homosexual versus heterosexual parents regarding matters such as sexual orientation, gender identity, sex-role behaviour, likelihood of being sexually abused, self-concept, intelligence, personality characteristics, behaviour problems, peer relations, parental separation and divorce, general adjustment and accomplishment of developmental tasks.

Effects of Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation

Both international and South African research has found significant negative effects of exclusion and other forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Sexual orientation-based discrimination presents the same risks of psychological and other harms as discrimination on the basis of race, religion or gender.

Notably, among youth who identify as homosexual or bisexual or who think they may be, research concludes that family rejection and exclusion, as well as bullying by peers, correlates highly with a range of high risk behaviours and outcomes ranging from truancy to substance abuse to attempts at suicide.

In much of sub-Saharan Africa, homosexuality is firstly interpreted as "foreign," portrayed as "un-African" and a "white import." In some traditional African beliefs, those of a same-sex sexual orientation are considered cursed or bewitched; that is, damned by the forefathers and the gods. In primarily Christian and Muslim African countries alike, gay men and lesbian women are confronted with religious condemnation.

Much evidence points to this stigmatisation leading to deep-seated and widespread prejudice, discrimination and violence toward those who are not heterosexual. A session on homosexuality at the 2ndAfrica Conference on Sexual Health and Rights, hosted in Kenya in 2006, noted that fear, hatred and abuse at the hands of largely intolerant and unsympathetic peers and elders hampers the personal growth and well-being of African homosexuals.

Also widely documented among the outcomes of prejudice and discrimination are consistently high rates of anti-homosexual harassment and violence, both state sanctioned and extrajudicial. Furthermore, criminalisation on the basis of sexual orientation has been found to exacerbate social discrimination and, in particular, leads service providers to discount, ignore and neglect the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual people, thus compounding their vulnerability.


The scientific fields devoted to mental health and well-being, including psychiatry, psychology and sociology, do not consider homosexual orientation to be a disorder, but rather view it as a naturally occurring variation of normal human sexuality. Research and clinical practice indicates that homosexual people have an overall potential to contribute to society similar to that of heterosexual people and that they pose no greater risk to children than do heterosexual people.

While the proposed bill cites "...the need to protect the children and youths of Uganda..." as justification, there is no credible, reliable evidence that the measures contained in the bill will achieve that outcome. Research and clinical practice instead indicates that the abuse of human rights and fundamental freedoms embodied in the bill, and the state sponsored discrimination and affronts to basic human dignity it mandates, would instead result in profound physical and psychological harms to the already vulnerable lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in the very population the legislation claims to protect.

On the grounds outlined in this statement, the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) therefore joins the international community in strongly opposing the proposed anti-homosexuality legislation. The PsySSA joins in the call for Ugandan leaders to abandon or defeat the bill, and instead to join the trend in the international community of decriminalising homosexuality.

Call to Action

The Psychological Society of South Africa invites other organisations and professionals dedicated to mental health and well-being, particularly throughout the African continent, to join us by endorsing this statement and forwarding notification of endorsement to the President of the Republic of Uganda and the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament at the addresses above as we will do upon release of this statement. We further ask that organisations and individuals so doing also kindly copy their endorsement to PsySSA so that we can monitor the response.
• Psychological Society of South Africa notification address:
The Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) is the professional body representing psychologists in South Africa. PsySSA has since its inception been dedicated to making a significant contribution to solving the pressing human development problems in South Africa. PsySSA is committed to the transformation and development of South African Psychology to serve the needs and interests of all South Africa's people. PsySSA advances psychology as a science, profession and as a means of promoting human well-being.

The Psychological Society of South Africa is a member of The International Network on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns and Transgender Issues in Psychology.


[1] Note, list of references available on request.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Uganda gay bill critics deliver online petition

Campaigners opposing Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill have taken an online petition to parliament, signed by some 450,000 people from around the world.
The petition is the latest attempt to halt the bill, which carries the death penalty for some homosexual acts.
US President Barack Obama has called the proposed legislation "odious".
The European Union has also condemned the bill, as did Britain's Africa minister, Baroness Kinnock, when she visited Uganda last week.
The petition was delivered by counsellors, who could face jail for failing to inform the authorities if somebody confided their homosexual activities to them.
Death penalty
For "serial offenders", HIV-positive "offenders", or those engaging in homosexual activity with a minor or disabled person
Life in prison
For homosexual acts
Seven years in prison
For helping, counselling, or encouraging a person to engage in a homosexual act

"This is a bill that requires various members of community, family members, service providers and spiritual mentors to "spy" on one another," a letter accompanying the petition reads.
The campaign is being led by Anglican priest Canon Gideon Byamugisha and he has been joined by HIV/Aids activists and civic organisations.
Campaign group Avaaz, which organised the online petition, hopes to get one million signatures.
However BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross says the fact that the vast majority of the signatures were from outside Uganda is significant, as the MPs would be more likely to take notice of Ugandan rather than international opposition to the bill.
He says Uganda, like many African countries, is deeply conservative and Ugandan voices opposed to the bill are few and far between.
Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda - the bill proposes increasing the penalties for homosexual acts from 14 years in prison to life.
It also proposes the death penalty for a new offence of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender".
The government has indicated it expects the final bill to be watered down.
However, it is a private member's bill and so the government says it cannot directly intervene before parliament votes on it.
The bill's sponsor David Bahati says he is trying to defend Uganda's culture.

Odonga Otto , Aruu County MP

Written by Odonga Otto

Sunday, 28 February 2010 19:45

I recently received a copy of the compilation of the CSO magazine in my pigeonhole, and in it I read the articles by Andrew Mwenda, John Nagenda and the Leader of Opposition attacking our heroes Hon. David Bahati (Ndorwa West MP), and Dr. Nsaba Buturo, the Minister of Ethics and Integrity.

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament was quoted as saying “If you steal, to an extent that you allow corruption, open theft of public goods and money to be the norm, then who are you to condemn those who are not even any harm to the society?”

In the magazine, Andrew Mwenda, the Managing Editor of The Independent magazine says that Bahati, who tabled the Anti-Homosexual Bill, should rather spend energy fighting nuclear energy or global warming.

Then, the Presidential Advisor on the Media, John Nagenda leaves an innuendo that Bahati is insane and should stop the wishful thinking that he is protecting the children, for Bahati’s children may one day be gay.

They alluded to the possibility that homos could help in family planning and problems associated with over population.

I can’t believe all the comments from the trio above who are averagely—apart from Mwenda—about 30 years older than me. Mwenda and Nagenda tend to say that the Bahatis are using religion, a Western thing, to oppose gay rights.

Therefore let me use a non religious tone to respond to them. I will draw from two countries. Recently in Malawi, the law and the courts took a firm stand on homosexuals and in Russia planned demonstrations by the gay movement always ended up in bloody clashes with the anti-gays with the loss of the former.

I personally feel gays or homos have a mental problem. I’ve even failed to imagine how they do their thing.

I often pray that this debate should come to an end because the more we talk about it the more silly arguments in favour of it will always be raised by the Mwendas and Nagendas of this world as our children are listening.

For in life, you can’t do what you have not imagined is possible. The Leader of Opposition, on surviving a recent motor accident, was quoted as saying: “I thank God for allowing me to survive...I don’t want the country to turn into chaos.”

Let my boss, Prof. Morris Ogenga Latigo, the Leader of Opposition, tell me whether that is one of the reasons he wanted God to keep him around? Why use God for selective things and not gays?

And also, as an insect science professor, can he tell us from the wealth of knowledge he has in that field, if gay behaivour actually exists among insects or animals?

He can’t cite any trend of such behaviour in the realm of animal kingdom. Unfortunately, the President of Uganda being the donor’s blue-eyed boy has not come out strongly on the Bill and subsequently it may be shelved.

Human rights activists like the (Dr. Sylvia) Tamales should know that rights are a creation of man and you cannot have rights where there is no life, a [situational] trend the gays are heading to.

But when all is said and done, [I submit that] gays should suffer death not only by hanging but also by stoning at a public marketplace. The alternative for them is to seek medical attention; a mad person cannot claim the right to be mad. I will end by saying: Bravo Bahati, bravo Dr. Buturo!

Gay law opponents petition parliament

By Daily Monitor Reporter
Posted Monday, March 1 2010 at 13:06
In Summary
The activists oppose the clause that requires family and community members to report people suspected to be gays, which they say could be used for political and religious witch-hunt.
A group of activists from various civil society organizations have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Sekandi, protesting the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is before the house.
The petitioners including renown HIV/AIDS activist Rubaramira Ruranga, TASO’s Noerine Kaleeba and controversial bishop Christopher Senyonjo, among others presented the online petition signed by over 450,000 people from across the world.
The activists oppose the clause that requires family and community members to report people suspected to be gays, which they say could be used for political and religious witch-hunt.
The petitioners say the bill does not protect Ugandan cultural practices as it violates traditions that teach against intolerance, injustice, hatred and violence.
They are asking Parliament to instead enact laws that will protect people and not humiliate or kill them.
The activists now want the bill withdrawn, adding that it goes against the country’s constitution by encouraging discrimination against the gay people.
Mr Sekandi has promised to refer the petition to the relevant committee for scrutiny and consideration.