In Uganda, gay people are being forced into exile. If a new bill becomes law, homosexuality will be punishable by death – which means many people are choosing to leave and seek asylum elsewhere. With the vote on the country’s anti-homosexuality bill set to become public in the coming days, photographer Mathias Christensen met gay people in Uganda who fear the changing of the law.
by Rasmus Thirup Beck
“Five police officers force three young men out of their one-room slum dwelling in Kampala, with no explanation. As they are dragged down the slum’s main shopping street, their neighbours’ hateful shouts make their “crime” all too clear: “Beat those gays up!” “Kill those monsters!” “Give them what they deserve!”
Threats were also issued – threats they had heard before:
“We’ll burn down your house!”
After two days in a small, dirty prison cell they are released. Now they’ve gone underground, and hope to gain asylum in another country.
“We don’t dare to live here any more. We have felt unsafe for a long time and it only gets worse. It’s all the talk about that law that agitates people. If it is passed I am sure they will burn down the house,” says one, a 23-year-old transsexual who prefers to be called “Bad Black” for safety reasons.
The law he refers to is the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill, which is set to become reality in Uganda within days. It is already illegal to commit a homosexual act in the country, but a unified parliament now supports a tightening of the law, which, among other things, will make it punishable by death to be a “serial offender”.
The parliamentarian behind the bill is David Bahati. He describes homosexuality as an evil that has to be fought. He also says that he and his peers “do not hate the homosexuals but the sin in them”.
Bahati’s reference to sin reveals the direct connection between Uganda’s politicians and a group of very influential pastors. One of these pastors is Moses Solomon Male, who travels the country presenting his talk, Understanding the Challenges of Homosexuality (Sodomy).
“Those homosexuals … They call it anal sex. It ruins the anus. And they say they enjoy it,” said Male in a recent speech to Sunday-school pupils in a Kampala suburb. He also described the cornerstone of both the pastors’ and the politicians’ argument against homosexuals: That they are “recruiting” innocents to their side – especially children.
LGBT rights advocates are doing their best to challenge these views – and the bill. One of these, transsexual activist Pepe Julian Onziema, has courageously come out with his message as well as his sexuality. Homosexuality is not something you become, it is something you are, he stresses.
“The only thing we can do is to try to inform as many people as possible about how we’re human beings just like them – just with different sexual preferences,” he explains.”
All photographs taken by Mathias Christensen.
Posts tagged humanity.
For some reason, people really want to remind the world that Oct. 21 marks two months before the biggest nonevent in recent history. Even more perplexing is the fact that others seem to really want the world to end in 61 days time.
Why do these strange individuals want us to believe in this nonsense? Some have a book to sell, while others have a horribly-edited YouTube video they want to share. Others are just plain odd. But regardless of the intent, the result is confusion and fear. Sadly, it is often people who would have otherwise gotten on with their lives peacefully who have swallowed the doomsday nonsense and become needlessly worried about the end of the world.
But wait! There are still Mayan descendents who live in Central America. Are they currently digging bunkers and stocking up on canned “Apocalypse-ready” baked beans? Um, no. Why’s that then?
The Mayans never predicted doomsday! The end of a calendar cycle doesn’t mean it’s doomsday. The calendar wasn’t a magic calendar, it was just a way to document time, remember future dates and record past events. That’s what calendars do. Lacking a culture to renew the Long Count, it looks like the final cycle — the 13th bak’tun — will come to an end… and that’s about it.
sometimes I wish the world would end, but then I get sad because ducks would no longer exist.
i wonder what it would take for this to happen again… would China have to launch people to the moon or mars to get American’s excited about space again?
Fifty-five years ago today, the Soviet Union launched history’s first artificial satellite.
Sputnik was an innocuous satellite; Soviet scientists behind the launch were just happy to successfully put the probe into orbit. But in the United States the reaction was different.
The engineering feat very quickly gave way to hysteria and paranoia. President Eisenhower initially downplayed the role of the satellite as a threat to find that he’d grossly underestimated its psychological impact.
[TW mention of antichoice violence]
*pregnant people, not just cis women
The list goes on. These men are just three of many abortion providers who have suffered at the hands of anti-choice extremism. Unlike other medical practitioners, abortion providers are under a constant – and very real – threat.
Doctors have been harassed at their offices and homes, their neighborhoods littered with fliers espousing their “murderous” proclivities. In some cases, the anti-choicers have even gone after the businesses that the doctors used, intimidating bystanders like dry cleaners, mechanics and restaurants.
Abortion providers are also under increasing legislative attack. Last year, state legislatures enacted 69 restrictions on abortion access. These include abortion bans, mandatory ultrasound laws, parental notification requirements, and targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) laws.
TRAP bills, as the acronym suggests, saddle abortion providers with unnecessary regulations like the size of janitorial closets and door sizes. They have no basis in medicine, instead aiming to drive doctors out of business. Indeed, such a law passed last year in Virginia.
For these reasons and more, an astonishing 87% of counties in the United States, where abortion is a legal medical procedure, do not have an abortion provider. This number rises to 97% in non-metropolitan areas. To make matters worse, there is also a “graying” of abortion providers, with 57% over the age of 50. There are organizations working to correct this, like Medical Students for Choice, but we need to do more. Without providers there is no abortion. At least not the safe kind.
As a former clinic staffer, I can say from experience that the work these doctors do is incredibly undervalued. Here in D.C., it’s not as bad as other places. For all its faults, the general climate of the area is resoundingly pro-choice. Still, providers, patients, and passersby are accosted by protesters when they go to work. Doctors and staff are encouraged to wear street clothes to blend in and avoid confrontational protestors when entering the clinic.
For a procedure that is legal, routine, and accessed by about 1 in 3 American women, such vitriolic and vocal hatred seems woefully out of step with reality. Yet, it continues. Indeed, those who oppose abortion always seem to find the time to make their voices heard.
We need to counter this by doing more to positively recognize those who provide abortion services. March 10 is National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. If you know a doctor or clinic staffer who provides this much-needed and beleaguered service, please thank him or her.
How you do it doesn’t really matter. Send a text message saying thanks, buy a round of drinks, or stand outside the clinic next Saturday with a giant thank-you card.
If you don’t know a provider, consider making a donation to a pro-choice organization like DC Abortion Fund. In fact, this is a great time to donate to DCAF, because we are participating in the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon HOLE-a-Thon fundraiser! If you’re feeling really jazzed and are ready to take action, start your own HOLE-a-Thon fundraising team! Silly names and Twitter trash talking are strongly encouraged.
Our ability to exercise our right to have an abortion only goes as far as our access, and without abortion providers, our access recedes to the back alley. Let’s make sure that doesn’t ever happen again.
Credits: Photo, Colleen C. Source on anti-abortion assassinations, Ms. Magazine.
Want to read more from Colleen? Check out her righteous blog Get Off My Soapbox forfeminist politics, pop culture and more.
Josh Sternberg for Current - The number of homeless children in the United States is at its highest levels in the nation’s history, according to a study released last week from the National Center on Family Homelessness. 1 out of every 45 children is homeless. That’s a staggering number; a majority of them are under 7.
Daniel Beltra - photos from ‘Spill’ and ‘Rainforest.’
Shows the effect of our consumerist society on the environment.
Humans. We are a virus.
think about how many lives are moving and changing here
José Ferreira ‘Trash Land’
Trash Land is an impressive photo documentary by Portuguese photographer José Ferreiraabout the harsh life of the people that live on ‘Huléne dump’ in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique.
A group of people that can be divided in two groups, a group that is called ‘the garbage collectors’, that consists of around 700 people and ‘the others’, with the first group forming gangs that search for objects of value and trading or selling them in order to earn some money for food, and the second group just depending on the food and left overs they find on the dump.
Find more here.
This is reality. Something is wrong. We need to face it.
UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.
24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.
As part of the commemoration, UN staff — from senior to junior levels, representing a diverse range of departments, agencies and programmes — travel to high schools in all five boroughs of New York City to speak to students about the work of the Organization.
UN4U 2011 takes place during the week of 17-21 and 25-28 October and will focus on ‘Ways the UN Makes a Difference in Our Everyday Life’ with five focal areas: