Can You Believe It? LGBTs Flee to Most Homophobic Country on Earth

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An LGBT person would have to be pretty desperate to seek asylum in Uganda, a nation that has arguably the toughest anti-gay laws in the world. But incredibly, nearly 100 gay and lesbian refugees are seeking assistance from an NGO in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Many more are in the country illegally.

These refugees are fleeing from oppression in nations like Burundi and war situations such as the one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which, they argue, put them in greater jeopardy than trying to lead a clandestine existence in Uganda.

The risk they are taking is immense: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is still being debated and may soon introduce the death penalty for homosexual acts. It is already a crime to “advocate” gay and lesbian behaviour and LGBTs are regularly sentenced to life imprisonment for daring to be open and free.

Employees of the NGO – which cannot be named in this article – have been threatened and beaten up for their efforts to help the refugees. One such employee, “David”, says that, although it seems odd that gay and lesbian Africans would come to Uganda in search of a better life, it is certainly an improvement on wherever they came from originally. ‘There is a proverb in my country,’ he says. ‘”If you see a rat running from a bush into a hut that is burning, that means it could be hotter in the bush.”‘

One of the asylum-seekers is a trans gentleman who escaped from his native Rwanda after he was grievously assaulted by a gang of policemen. He was permanently disabled by the attack and must use a crutch to this day. Since his arrival in Uganda, he spends as much time as he can close to nature. ‘The trees do not hate me or reject me,’ he says.

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If only the world was as “open-minded” as us… Alas, matters of sexual identity and equal love, often cause so much friction in the rest of the world. Here, find an open dialogue on the issues facing our LGBT community.

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