.... Uganda is reintroducing the bill that would impose the death penalty for being gay. The Open Society Institute (OSI) hosted a photography exhibit last spring called "Being Gay in Uganda" that showed Tadej Žnidarčič's powerful portraits, in which each individual is shown from the back. I had walked into OSI in New York for another purpose entirely when I saw what looked like the backs of some very cute women. (There were men too, but, well, I didn't notice them at first.) When I walked over to look more closely, my heart dropped through the floor. The short interviews—in which these people told of essentially being hunted and hated in their daily lives—nearly made me cry. It's heartbreaking to think that, just by standing still or walking, these people are visible targets.
And they're targets, specifically, of religiously incited hatred. In January 2010, The New York Times reported on how three American evangelicals spoke against gay people at a conference attended by thousands—and set off a wave of anti-gay hatred that led to at least one murder. The article quotes one source who attended the conference as saying:
... that the three Americans “underestimated the homophobia in Uganda” and “what it means to Africans when you speak about a certain group trying to destroy their children and their families.”
“When you speak like that,” he said, “Africans will fight to the death.”
Not their deaths, but the deaths of others. Ideas have consequences. Hasn't that been the lesson of a century of genocides?
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