Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ugandan Gay Activist Murdered

Ugandan Gay Activist David Kato Murdered

David Kato, a prominent Ugandan gay rights activist in threatened in October with hanging on the front page of a Kampala newspaper, was found brutally beaten to death Wednesday at his home.  Kato was the advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

The Guardianreports that Kato was bludgeoned to death at his home in the town of Mukono in the afternoon. Witnesses saw a man fleeing the scene in a car.

SMUG called for the police and government to investigate the murder seriously and for religious leaders, politicians, and media to stop demonizing LGBT people. David Bahati, a member of parliament with close connections to American evangelicals, continues to push for a bill that would impose the death penalty on gay people in some circumstances.

Val Kalende, the board chair at Freedom and Roam Uganda, said in the news release,“David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S Evangelicals in 2009. The Ugandan Government and the so-called U.S Evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood!”

SMUG executive director Frank Mugisha said, “No form of intimidation will stop our cause. The death of David will only be honored when the struggle for justice and equality is won. David is gone and many of us will follow, but the struggle will be won. David wanted to see a Uganda where all people will be treated equally despite their sexual orientation.”

Burial arrangements for Kato are under way for Friday afternoon at his ancestral home in Namataba, Mukono District.

The BBC offers an obituary. Kato was a primary school teacher turned activist who proudly claimed the label of the first out gay Ugandan.
Read Jeff Sharlet's October cover story for The Advocate on the deadly consequences of antigay rhetoric in Uganda.
U.K. human rights activist Peter Tatchell released the following statement on Kato's murder: 
"David will live on in our memories. He will also live on through the rights and equalities that LGBTI Ugandans will win eventually thanks to his many years of tireless groundwork and campaigning. I express my admiration and appreciation to all the members of SMUG who are battling for LGBTI freedom in conditions of great adversity and danger. Their courage and tenacity is awesome.

"This savage killing will, I hope, finally prompt Uganda's political, religious and media leaders to cease their homophobic witch-hunts. Their hatred helps create the bigoted atmosphere that leads to queer-bashing violence."
The U.S. embassy in Kampala has also issued a statement on Kato's death:
"The U.S. extends its sympathies to David's family, friends and human rights colleagues. David's courageous devotion to promoting the universal human rights of members of Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community improved the lives of minority populations in Uganda and throughout Africa, and his selfless dedication to defending human rights and speaking out against injustice served as inspiration to human rights defenders around the world."
The White House issued this statement from President Obama:
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David Kato. In Uganda, David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate. He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom. The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to David’s work.

"At home and around the world, LGBT persons continue to be subjected to unconscionable bullying, discrimination, and hate. In the weeks preceding David Kato’s murder in Uganda, five members of the LGBT community in Honduras were also murdered. It is essential that the Governments of Uganda and Honduras investigate these killings and hold the perpetrators accountable.

"LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights. My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad. We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all."

Violence Erupts at Kato's Funeral

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Arkansas Supermarket Censors Elton John Magazine Cover

In my hometown (Mountain Home, Arkansas) a young lesbian took this picture in Harps supermarket showing a "family shield" covering up the US Weekly cover with Elton John, his partner and their new baby.  Evidenlty someone complained to the store manager, and covered the magazine.  Thanks to the young woman who publicized the picture on the internet, Harps Supermarket, located in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, has apologized and had the Mountain Home store remove the shield.

Joe.My.God  Arkansas Grocery Store Finds Gay Parenting Too Offensive for Kids

GLAAD:  Arkansas Supermarket Censors Elton John US Weekly Cover

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tucson (Gay) Hero Daniel Hernandez Invited to SOTU

Gay Hispanic Tucson Hero Invited to SOTU: This is What a Progressive Looks Like

Daniel Hernandez' heroism in the Tucson shootings has its roots in his progressive values. Will the right celebrate this gay Latino hero?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Top Republicans Skipping CPAC Conference Because of Gays

One invitation has been followed by a lot of rejection for the Conservative Political Action Conference.
After event organizers decided to allow GOProud, a gay Republican group, to be a "participating organization" for a second straight year, social conservative organizations like the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America decided they wouldn't be coming out. Ditto for the Heritage Foundation and the American Family Association. Now, two more leading conservatives have announced they're going to skip March's festivities.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

HRC Rates New Congress "Anti-Gay"

Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's leading gay-rights advocacy organization, has studied the records of the members of the 112th Congress and it finds that the House of Representatives has flipped from a pro- to anti-gay-rights majority.

Thanks GOProud!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

LGBT Groups Scale Back Goals in 2011: 265 Anti-Gay Members of Congress

Facing an emboldened Republican House unlikely to consider significant gay rights legislation in 2011, the nation's leading LGBT advocacy organizations are aiming to push for measures that advance pro-equality causes but are a far cry from historic bills like the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
A new analysis by the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest LGBT advocacy group, argues that the 112th Congress will have 53 more lawmakers unlikely to vote on behalf of advancing gay rights than in the previous session; the Senate will have five more, bringing the total of such members in the new Congress to 265:

9th Circuit Sends Prop. 8 Back to CA Supreme Court

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Scalia: Constitution Doesn't Protect Gays Women from Discrimination

In a recent interview, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argues the Constitution doesn't promise protections from discrimination for gays or women.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Gays Most Targeted for Hate Crimes

Southern Poverty Law Center Report:
Gays Remain the Minority Most Targeted by Hate Crimes

The reality is that homosexuals or perceived homosexuals are by far the group most targeted in America for violent hate crimes, according to an Intelligence Reportanalysis of 14 years of federal hate crime data. The bottom line: Gay people are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks; more than four times as likely as Muslims; and 14 times as likely as Latinos.

LGBT Equal Rights: The Next Step

Now that we are over the hump of repealing the military's anti-gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, it's time to refocus on equality for LGBT people in the workplace, housing, and marriage.  President Obama has said that he supports overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages.  While V.P. Biden says gay marriage is "inevitable," President Obama says his views are "evolving."

It's time for liberal politicians to quit pretending they do not support marriage equality and get behind the next civil rights struggle-- marriage equality of gay and lesbian couples.

Navy Investigates Antigay Sex Videos