A man who in 2009 renounced homosexuality at a public forum in Kampala has now told Behind the Mask that he regrets his previous actions and would like to be forgiven by the LGBTI community.
Saying that he felt “there is a fire in the belly saying gay is really who you are,” Mr George Oundo, known amongst Uganda’s LGBTI community as “Ms Georgina,” said that although he had renounced homosexuality on national media, at an opportune time he would ask the Kuchu community (Ugandan slang for LGBTI) to take him back.
Speaking on Wednesday July 27, 2011 to Behind the Mask outside the magistrate’s court in Kampala where three Christian evangelist preachers have been charged with making homophobic smears against a rival preacher, the now former ex-gay Oundo said he once again believed, “being gay is natural and inborn.”
The accused preachers, their lawyers, Henry Ddungu and David Kaggwa, together with David Mukalazi and Deborah Kyomuhendo (agents of the accused) face charges of conspiring to injure Pastor Robert Kayanja’s reputation by claiming that Kayanja sodomised boys in his church. The two lawyers are charged with allegedly commissioning false affidavits.
In March 2009 Oundo spoke at a Christian seminar and said he previously supported homophobic preacher Martin Sempa and legislator Mr David Bahati in their claims that homosexuals recruit children in schools and deserve the death penalty.
Speaking on Wednesday however, the now former ex-gay man said that he regrets the comments.
Looking sad, Mr Oundo, who once helped to establish an LGBTI human rights advocacy group in Kampala, said that although the preachers had given him some money and built him a house in Muyenga-Bukasa, a posh suburb of Kampala, he still had gay feelings. “I have never even become born again. I just do not want to be born again.”
He said the born again Christian anti-gay preachers had dumped him. “Can you imagine I have not been to any of their churches in the last one year?” he said.
Asked whether an interview with Behind the Mask would not cause him to be seen in a bad light by the born again community, Mr Oundo said he did not care what they believed.
However, when asked why he had come to court and was showing solidarity with Sempa and the other accused preachers, Mr Oundo said he had to be there as he had promised the three that he would see them through the trial.
Asked whether he does not feel he betrayed the Ugandan LGBTI community by making false allegations that almost saw the anti homosexuality bill 2009 passed into law, Mr Oundo said he “would understand and respect” people calling him a traitor.
Mr Oundo claimed back in March 2009 that donors gave him and fellow homosexuals “much money” and training abroad and that he would target mostly the needy children who had problems of tuition and pocket money and “others who like outings.”
During that occasion Oundo warned parents to know their children’s friends. Homosexuals, he added, were targeting mostly children “because they are easy to initiate and they like easy things.”
Oundo claimed then, that he got seriously involved in “promoting homosexuality” in 2003. “I was taken to Nairobi for training,” he said. “I used to supply pornographic materials in form of books and compact discs showing homosexuality to young boys in many schools.”
The training, he said, was facilitated by the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya. “I also got the pupils’ telephone contacts. We used to meet with both girls and boys in schools during ceremonial parties,” he had claimed.
He claimed in 2009 that he only stopped his activities after becoming a born again Christian. On that occasion he was speaking to about 50 parents who had been attending a seminar at a Kampala hotel. The seminar had been organised by the Family Life Network, a local charity which promotes family values.