Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Difference Between Us

A gay man or lesbian who lives a life of celibacy or a gay man or lesbian who marries a person of the opposite sex would presumably be safe under the legislation currently being considered in Uganda, and supported and promoted by certain conservative Christian groups based in the U.S. But I and my husband would not be safe. We would be found guilty of a capital crime and we would be executed. That is how some folks here in the U.S. see the difference between us: me worthy of death, married and celibate gay men and lesbians OK so long as they follow the rules.

I could feel lucky that my husband and I are not living in Uganda right now. I could feel lucky that I'm not the one who has to figure out right now if I can muster the resources to flee the country for my life. I could feel lucky that I'm not the one to have to decide whether I am willing to go into permanent exile and never see my family or other loved ones again, or whether I am willing to risk it and stay, and go deep into the closet, and live a life lonely and afraid of touch and intimacy. I could say that my personal fortunes are not somehow inextricably woven with the fortunes of gay men and lesbians in Uganda right now. I could say that there is a difference between us because they live someplace where it may soon be very dangerous to be gay, and I live someplace where I am supposedly safe.

But that would be false.

This morning I attended a prayer breakfast here in Minneapolis for the purpose of raising awareness about what is happening in Uganda right now. If you want to help, one place you can go is to the American Jewish World Service, which is organizing to provide humanitarian assistance and advocacy for the GLBT community in Uganda.

This article provides some more information about the impact that mainstream evangelical groups in the U.S. had on the Uganda legislation.


Mister Curie said...

That is really appalling! Thanks for raising awareness of this.

J G-W said...

I'm not sure how much coverage this has been receiving in the mainstream media. When I told my husband, who's kind of a news hound, he was surprised too.

I found out about it through some of the gay religious networks I belong to on Facebook.

Knight of Nothing said...

We had a very long discussion about this legislation... It's horrifying. While it is not directed at me, it makes me feel unsafe too.

J G-W said...

Thanks Sam... I appreciated seeing your expressions of concern about this.

It should make all of us feel unsafe, especially since the main impetus for this initiative in far-flung Uganda came from right here in the good old U.S. of A.

If the world sits by passively and takes no interest in what the Ugandan Parliament does, that sends a signal to the rest of the world that it's OK to kill gays in the name of morality.

How the world reacts -- positively or negatively or indifferently -- will certainly send a message to those who would like to see similar legislation here in the U.S.

Knight of Nothing said...

Check out this story. The video is chilling.

J G-W said...

I like the list of ten things that people who are concerned about this can do.

Knight of Nothing said...

Me too!