11 January 2010

The love that still dare not speak its name

In the week that two Malawians go on trial for violating anti-gay laws, Daniel Howden finds that their experience is all too common in a continent of legalised homophobia

Uganda's capital, Kampala, accusing Paul Semugoma, a doctor, of being a predatory homosexual, actively recruiting younger men into his "vice" with the help of foreign conspirators. His home and business addresses have been published online and he has received a string of death threats. "They are saying that I'm the 'gay tycoon', spreading the infectious disease of homosexuality in Uganda," he says with a bitter laugh. "It's such nonsense."

In reality, he is a respected doctor who has volunteered his time to help with HIV and safe sex education programmes and writes a weekly medical advice column for a popular newspaper. But in the last month he has been publicly outed as a homosexual four times with government officials offering money to anyone willing to inform on his private life.

The doctor is living a lonely preview of the nightmare that life is about to become for the gay community in Uganda if new legislation is passed this month making homosexuality punishable with life imprisonment or even the death penalty. Uganda's minister for ethics and integrity has said it will be every citizen's duty under the new laws to denounce friends, family or acquaintances they suspect of being gay.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/the-love-that-still-dare-not-speak-its-name-1863913.html


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