Archive for Gay

Gay Africans Flee Persecution

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by loonwatch
Anti-gay sentiment in Africa is creating a new kind of refugee  (Credit: Reuters/James Akena)Anti-gay sentiment in Africa is creating a new kind of refugee (Credit: Reuters/James Akena)

Can you imagine if they were fleeing because of the insidious and all encompassing horror of Sharia’? It would be international news and the Islamophobes would be all over it, their silence on the matter is quite telling. (Hat tip: Daniel Bartholomew)

Gay Africans flee persecution

by NAOMI ABRAHAM

As Uganda revives anti-gay legislation, gays seek haven in other countries

I first met Fred at a prayer service for gay men in an industrial part of Nairobi where even on a Sunday morning, the noise was deafening. The service was part biblical study and part support group. The other men who were worshipping with Fred in the dingy and cavernous room that day were Kenyans, but he was not.

Fred, a lanky Ugandan, became a refugee in December 2009 after he was brutally assaulted by a mob in Kampala for being gay.

Fred, who asked that his last name not be used, bought a one-way ticket to Nairobi days after the assault with the intention of never returning. “It’s OK to kill me,” he said. “People would be happy to see me dead, even some of my family.” I asked what he meant by OK, and he explained that no one would ever have to pay a price for his murder.

Within the last decade, rancorous anti-gay rhetoric has infiltrated public discourse in many African  countries. Just last week, the Ugandan parliament revived a proposal to legalize capital punishment for people who engage in homosexual acts. This is new for Africa. In the past, homosexuality was rarely brought up privately let alone in the public sphere. The new acrimonious tone against homosexuality espoused by politicians and religious leaders has percolated across all strata of African society including the media. It has also given rise to increasing homophobic and transphobic violence, which for a growing number of gay Africans has meant that life in their own countries has become untenable.

Fred’s journey from Uganda to Kenya followed the same logic as that of other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) African refugees I spoke to. They move to urban centers in neighboring countries not necessarily because these places are any less hostile to homosexuals but for the anonymity that comes with being a newcomer in a densely populated area.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, went on record last May saying that anti-gay hate crimes are increasing around the world and now account for a high percentage of all reported hate crimes.

Homophobia is not necessarily a new attitude for most African societies. Being gay is a crime in 38 of the 54 countries in Africa. Many of these laws have been on the books since colonial times. But it’s a stretch to think, as some have claimed, that homophobia is simply a vestige of colonial times.

However, some pundits believe that the shift to a more sinister form of homophobia in many African countries over the last decade has its root in conservative religious indoctrination. Some reports suggest that U.S. evangelical groups have had a hand in creating the venomous anti-gay attitudes and violence that have swept over the continent and pushed gay Africans out of their countries.

“It wasn’t until the late 1990s that we saw Africans with the help of American conservative religious groups using this issue (homosexuality) as an organizing tool,” said Rev. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia who has studied the U.S. evangelical influence on African societies.

Fred, who looks a decade or so younger than his 48 years, said that for most of his life he had guarded his sexuality with the utmost care for fear of social retribution and becoming estranged from loved ones. He lived his life relatively undisturbed until 2009 when the “Kill the Gays” bill, which sought to legalize capital punishment for homosexuality, was first introduced. Fred says it was during this time that he started to fear for his life.

His neighbors began to suspect he was gay and threatened to turn him in to authorities or to kill him themselves. On the night of his near fatal assault, he says, a large group of people from his neighborhood stood outside his bedroom quietly waiting to get the final proof they needed to confirm their suspicions. When they had heard enough, they broke his window and attacked him and his partner.

“People don’t leave their countries on a lark seeking more gay bars,” says Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.  He adds that in places like Uganda it is because of an overwhelming sense of fear for their lives.

Kaoma says Uganda is unique only in that it has gotten more international attention. Other African countries continue to take steps to criminalize homosexuality. This, he says, will increase the flow of LGBT refugees if the international community doesn’t put pressure on these governments.

Also, because some gay African advocates have chosen to become more visible in their fight for equality, anti-gay factions have become more vehement. Some gay rights advocates have been driven  into hiding.

Larry, a leading Kenyan gay rights advocate who now lives in Texas after being granted political asylum, was forced to relocate to Uganda in 2007 after he appeared on Kenyan national television as an openly gay man. “I left for Uganda because I needed to go undercover since there were multiple threats to my life.” He says he chose Uganda because of its proximity to Kenya and because he had friends there.

Neil Grungas, executive director of Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration, a San Francisco-based organization assisting LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, says that while there is no way of knowing exactly how many LGBT African refugees there are, it is a growing problem. “We know that it’s an enormous issue in Africa because the continent has the most concentrated persecution against gay people,” he said in a phone interview.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the U.S. State Department do not track refugees who are displaced because of their sexual orientation. But even if those numbers existed, Duncan Breen, senior associate at Human Rights First, a D.C.- and New York City-based human rights organization, says the numbers would be grossly inaccurate given how many of these refugees might be afraid to reveal their sexuality.

But those working on refugee issues believe that the flow of LGBT refugees is on the rise. They point to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees issuing guidelines for working with LGBT refugees and providing sensitivity trainings to its field staff. Also this past summer, the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services funded the very first LGBT resource center, at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, a Chicago-based organization that provides services to immigrants and refugees. Under the grant, the group is to come up with best practices for resettling LGBT refugees in the U.S.

Still, advocates and some U.S. politicians say the U.S. government should do more to expedite the resettlement process for refugees fleeing antigay persecution.  In a February 2010 letter addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and  Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) urge Clinton to take decisive steps to protect LGBT refugees, who are targets of violence in the countries they have escaped from as well as the ones they’ve escaped to.

Danny Dyson, one of the first African refugees to be resettled in the United States because of the anti-gay persecution he faced in Uganda, went back and forth between Uganda and Kenya before his arrival in San Francisco. “It was a nightmare in Kenya,” he said. “At first I didn’t have any help, and I had to leave the refugee camp I went to because other refugees started harassing me for being gay.”  Dyson finally found help with a U.S. nongovernmental refugee assistance group, which asked that it not be named because they feared recriminations for their work with LGBT refugees.

Dyson and Fred met in Kenya as refugees. Fred awaits a decision from the U.S. government on his application for resettlement. Having heard about Danny’s successful resettlement in America, he asked me, “Is it true there are lots of us there and I don’t have to hide?”

Naomi Abraham is a multimedia journalist in New York City. She reported from Kenya and Uganda as part of a project sponsored by the International Center for Journalists. The Ford Foundation provided funding for this story. More Naomi Abraham

Scenes From New York’s Anti-Gay Marriage Rally: ‘Those Who Practice Such Things Are Worthy Of Death’

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2011 by loonwatch
Sen. Ruben Diaz was present at the rally

Robert Spencer’s co-religionist says “gays are worthy of death” at anti-Gay marriage rally, imagine if a Muslim were to say that? (Hat tip: Om)

Scenes From New York’s Anti-Gay Marriage Rally: ‘Those Who Practice Such Things Are Worthy Of Death’

by Igor Volsky

(Think Progress)

Several thousand people rallied in the Bronx, New York yesterday against the impending push to legalize same-sex marriage. Organizers, including state Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz, several Spanish radio stations and churches, argued that marriage should be defined as a union between “one man and one woman” and urged the state government to abandon their effort or put the initiative up to a vote. “Let the people decide. If the people say yes, we’ll shut up,” Diaz said at the steps of the Bronx court house. “Bring it to the people, bring it to the people…look at the people!” he yelled to the crowd of several thousand Hispanic Americans.

Diaz stressed that he was not condemning gay people, telling a small group of protesters gathered across the court house that his granddaughter — who was taking part in the counter demonstration — was a lesbian. “We respect you and we love you. You’ve never heard from me a word of insult to you. You’ve never heard me say — you never seen me call for homophobia or violence,” Diaz said, as organizers and police brought Erica Diaz to the main podium to stand with Diaz. “This is my granddaughter,” he said, stressing that he had “respect” for her “decisions.” “She does what she wants,” Diaz told the crowd.

And while the march and rally focused on the Christian message of “love,” the event remained deeply homophobic, with speakers routinely condemning gay people as “sinners” and describing same-sex relations as something wholly unnatural or perverse. In fact, just minutes before Diaz took to the microphone to stress his respect for gay people, Rev. Ariel Torres Ortega of Radio Visión Cristiana said that the gay people are “worthy of death”:

Committing sexual acts between man and man. And receiving the retribution of the things that they have done from straying away. And because they did not take God in count. God gave them over to reprimand their mind to do things that are not right, being against all justice, fornication, perversity, aberrations, malignity…those who practice such things are worthy to death, not only do they do it, but those who also practice it. God bless this earth. That is the word of God.

Watch a compilation:

Demonstrators held signs that read “God’s Marriage = 1 man & 1 woman” and “Gay Marriage Is Against the Word of God.”

A group called ‘The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Prosperity’ (TFP) led off the march and provided the musical accompaniment. One member distributed hundreds of flyers to passerbys explaining “why homosexual ‘marriage’ is harmful and must be opposed.” The print-out describes same-sex marriage as “evil,” against “natural law” and argues that allowing gay people to marry would “obscure certain basic moral values, devalue traditional marriage, and weaken public morality.”

“If homosexual ‘marriage’ is universally accepted as the present step in sexual ‘freedom,’ what logical arguments can be used to stop the next steps of incest, pedophilia, bestiality, and other forms of unnatural behavior?” the flyer asks.

For more coverage of the rally, click over to Good As YouLGBTQ Nation, and JoeMyGod.

Missouri: Vandalism at Islamic Center costly to clear

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on January 14, 2011 by loonwatch

A strange sort of hate crime in Missouri. Spencer is probably scratching his head, “Islamophobia, what Islamophobia?”

Vandalism at Islamic Center costly to clear

(News-Leader)

A spokesman for the Islamic Center of Springfield says removing the graffiti left on the group’s building late Friday or early Saturday could cost $1,000 to have sandblasted off.

Joseph Pollpeter said the graffiti was discovered on three outside walls when members showed up for the 6 a.m. prayer Saturday morning. Those who attended prayer Friday night did not see any.

Pollpeter said he contacted the Springfield police, as well as the FBI. He believes the messages constitute a hate crime.

He described graffiti left on the building at 2151 East Division St. as including: a phallic symbol near the door where women enter; phrases saying “gay insurrection,” “gay is ok” and a reference to Allah being gay; profane four-letter words; and the words “You bash us in Pakistan we bash you here;” a pentangle; and a Star of David.

“I don’t know if the people happened to be gay or bisexual or not, or if they were just using terms to be insulting,” said Pollpeter. “There is no one we have our fingers pointed at. We are on good terms with all our neighbors.”

 

EDL’s Rabbi Nachum Shifren: “Torah Says Kill Fags”

Posted in Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2010 by loonwatch
Rabbi Nachum Shifren

Rabbi Nachum Shifren who we have featured for his outlandish and extreme statements here,Rabbi: Nachum Shifren: Riding the Tidal Wave of Islamophobia and more recently Rabbi Nachum Shifren: EDL is the Salvation of the West from “Muslim Dogs” was questioned at London’s Speakers Corner on his hypocrisy and double standards.

The question was posed to him as to how he can consider himself a part of the EDL which says that it is fighting Muslims for persecuting gays and killing apostates when his own holy book, The Torahcalls for the murder of gays and apostates. Shifren at first attempted to say that there is no such law in the Torah, when it was recited to him, he first attempted to deflect the question but then admitted that yes it was in the Bible.

So how does this reflect on the EDL?

 

Racist Billboard of Obama in Colorado

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2010 by loonwatch

Someone in Colorado thought it would be a good idea to put a billboard of Obama as a Suicide bomber, pimp, Mexican bandito, and a gay person.

If you ever wondered what was wrong with Republicans this is it: