Karl Hand

David Kato Kisule, described by The New York Times on January 28 as the father of Uganda’s lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender rights movement, was murdered in his home on January 26. Kato was advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda. The killing came as increasingly violent homophobic tensions continued to escalate in the east African nation. Kato, aged 46, was bludgeoned to death with two blows to the head from a hammer in his Kampala home. The attack was carried out by one or more male attackers.
Based on Psalm 137 By the waterholes of Mother Country we slung down our yidakis, and cut our bodies and drugged our minds in grief, as we remembered the dreamtime. And the settlers demanded from us a corroboree performance and a jail sentence, mutual obligation and a souvenir boomerang for the gift shop. How could we dance and perform sacred traditions for their markets? We have become aliens and inmates, invisible in this eternal land.
A rising tide of homophobic aggression in Uganda has divided religious leaders. At the root of the problem, Western missionaries have been spreading anti-gay sentiment and dividing the community. Homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda since British colonisation in the late 19th century. However, many Ugandans trace the current crisis to March 5, 2009, when right-wing evangelical missionaries from the US held a three-day conference at the Triangle Hotel in Kampala.
The 190th Annual Meeting of Southern Baptists, held on November 16 in Columbia, South Carolina, approved a resolution calling its pastors to preach against homosexuality — “to uphold the biblical standard of human sexuality against all onslaughts” — but also to “love and show compassion toward homosexuals and transgendered persons”. Mixed in with this “hate is love” doublespeak is a great deal of defensiveness about the loss of social status by the US religious right.
From the left and the right of Labor, progressive MPs, members, unions and voters within the party are fighting back against Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s homophobic views on marriage. At the same time, huge sections of Labor’s support have shifted toward the Greens, or toward more radical, anti-capitalist alternatives. On November 10, Paul Gibson became the 14th NSW Labor MP to announce he would not contest the March election. He said the ALP had abandoned its platform, and was simply driven by polls rather than principle.
Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart is at it again. In 2004, he told a woman who had been sexually abused by a priest to “go to hell, bitch”. In 2009, he unsuccessfully attempted to pressure Father Bob Maguire, a progressive Melbourne icon, to retire from his local parish.
With great power comes great responsibility. But Apostle Boyd K. Packer of the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS, also known as the Mormons) is using his power to hurt the vulnerable by publicly condemning homosexuality after several highly publicised suicides of LGBTI youth in the United States. The media have revealed these suicides were triggered by bullying. This new round of bullying by a leader of the LDS church is one of the most severe kinds: institutionally approved, ideologically enforced, perpetrated by a person in power and aimed at the young.
Rev. Fred Nile, leader of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) and member of the NSW legislative council made the following comment on September 17: "I am very concerned that week by week the ALP is adopting the permissive agenda of the Green political party — first the Homosexual Relationship Register Bill, second the homosexual Same Sex Adoption Bill, then the proposed Surrogacy Same Sex Bill and now the Kings Cross injecting room."

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