Monday, December 21, 2009

Such courage in Uganda

The blog GayUganda ran an extraordinary story of courage yesterday.  As is by now well known, there is a bill before the government that would make homosexuality punishable by death.  Anyone who knows of a gay person and does not report that person within 24 hours is subject to three years in prison.  Whether or not this bill passes, it's pretty clear that some bill will pass and that homosexuality will be criminalized. In this environment, it's hard to believe anyone would publicly self identify as LGBT.  But not only did one gay couple do just that, they had a commitment ceremony in the country.

The writer of the blog, a gay man invited to the wedding, describes the ceremony at length.  Here are a few of his observations.  The police described did not know that a same-sex ceremony was going on inside the compound.

An enclosed compound, which was secured. Two armed policemen at the gate. Well, we can hire the police, like all other Ugandans. The details of the ceremony is our damned business. As long as they keep out inquisitive others. And, they did try to.

Music, talking, ritualized counseling. They happened, the kuchus now happy that the secret was out. They were delirious with joy. Two of their number were actually coming out and making their partnership official. In the traditional way. Such gossip has wings. Crowd at the gate grew big. They wanted to know what was happening inside, in the compound. The rumours were too tantalizing. The music, the atmosphere of gaiety too tempting. They wanted to know.
And these final words, which say everything:

        They were stupid. They were human. I love their stupidity and humanity.

        Err, the punishment for this ‘gay marriage’ in the Bahati/Benson Anti-Homosexuality Bill in parliament now?

        Life imprisonment for the Happy Couple. For us the celebrants, 3 years in prison if we  fail to reveal the marriage to police within 24 hours.  If we are not lynched by the       enraged crowd 

        Sadly, now we have to deal with the backlash.

        It was an exceedingly stupid, incredibly foolish thing to do.

        It was, and is, human. Poignantly, absolutely, completely human.

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