crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
Time magazine has published an excellent piece on the persecution gay Ugandans face even if that awful “Kill The Gays” bill isn't passed by focusing on one lesbian couple:
Pepe Julian Onziema looks great in a suit. Tall and lanky, she doesn't slouch to hide her height and doesn't apologize for her boyish figure. Or for anything else. She's got at least 10 suits: pinstripes, white linen, black, gray, navy and others. She buys them from a guy who runs a shop on Entebbe Road, a major Kampala thoroughfare. He knows her build, and he knows what she likes.
These days, though, Onziema doesn't wear suits nearly as often as she used to. As one of a dozen or so publicly out Ugandan homosexuals, Onziema knows that even a trip to a local shop is risky. Wearing a suit can be a death wish.
. . . Onziema and her partner met playing rugby at a local Kampala club a couple of years ago. Onziema knew “within five seconds” that she had met the one, she says. It took her partner a bit longer. Onziema has known her whole life that she's gay, but her partner is not out publicly, and the process of coming to terms with who she is took a little longer.
After they'd been friends for a few months, Onziema made her move. “There was a kiss,” she grins. “She wasn't expecting it.”
It's an excellent article on how the purity of love endures even in hostile settings. And it's a reminder for us lgbts in America, as we strive for equality, to not take the freedoms we do have for granted.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Pope Benedict XVI met with the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Uganda at the Vatican last Friday and delivered a speech but said nothing about the anti-gay bill.
Supposedly there are several reasons why the Pope made no mention of the bill:
There are several reasons why Benedict may not have mentioned the anti-gay bill — or rather the broader issue of human rights and protections for homosexuals and love of the sinner, since for diplomatic reasons the pope would not target a specific piece of legislation. One is that he may not be aware of the legislation or the controversy. Another is that his aides know that if he raised the issue it would become the lead of every story. There is also concern that having religious leaders outside Uganda speak out against the popular bill would backfire and ensure its passage.
Moreover, the bishops themselves may have asked the Vatican to refrain from addressing the issue (though that has not always stopped the pope from speaking his mind) since they are in the tricky position of trying to maintain the church's position in Uganda in the face of serious challenges from conservative evangelicals and Pentecostals, as well as Muslims, who are far more severe in their approach to homosexuals than the Catholic Church is.
Of course maybe he felt it was a little too close to home. After all, the creators and supporters of the bill falsely claimed that the bill was in response to gays targeting children.
And we all know the real situation regarding molestation in the Catholic church.
Whatever the case may be, the Pope's silence on this potential genocide of gays and lesbians in Uganda reveals a serious lack of courage in a someone who is supposed to be possibly the top religious leader in the world.
There is only one word for it – sad.