Category Archives: LGBT

India court recognises transgender people as third gender.

India women AIDS Accountability International Transgender

India's Supreme Court has recognised transgender people as a third gender, in a landmark ruling.

"It is the right of every human being to choose their gender," it said in granting rights to those who identify themselves as neither male nor female.

It ordered the government to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as key amenities.

According to one estimate, India has about two million transgender people.

In India, a common term used to describe transgender people, transsexuals, cross-dressers, eunuchs and transvestites is hijra.

Campaigners say they live on the fringes of society, often in poverty, ostracised because of their gender identity. Most make a living by singing and dancing or by begging and prostitution.

 

Rights groups say they often face huge discrimination and that sometimes hospitals refuse to admit them.

They have been forced to choose either male or female as their gender in most public spheres.

'Proud Indian'

"Recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue," Justice KS Radhakrishnan, who headed the two-judge Supreme Court bench, said in his ruling on Tuesday.

"Transgenders are also citizens of India" and they must be "provided equal opportunity to grow", the court said.

"The spirit of the Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender."

The judges asked the government to treat them in line with other minorities officially categorised as "socially and economically backward", to enable them to get quotas in jobs and education.

"We are quite thrilled by the judgement," Anita Shenoy, lawyer for the petitioner National Legal Services Authority (Nalsa), told the BBC.

"The court order gives legal sanctity to the third gender. The judges said the government must make sure that they have access to medical care and other facilities like separate wards in hospitals and separate toilets," she said.

Prominent transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, who was among the petitioners in the case, welcomed the judgement, saying the community had long suffered from discrimination and ignorance in the traditionally conservative country, reports the Agence France-Presse news agency.

"Today, for the first time I feel very proud to be an Indian," Ms Tripathi told reporters outside the court in Delhi.

In 2009, India's Election Commission took a first step by allowing transgenders to choose their gender as "other" on ballot forms.

But India is not the first country to recognise a third gender. Nepal recognised a third gender as early as in 2007 when the Supreme Court ordered the government to scrap all laws that discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. And last year, Bangladesh also recognised a third gender.

Tuesday's ruling comes after the Supreme Court's decision in December which criminalised gay sex by reversing a landmark 2009 Delhi High Court order which had decriminalised homosexual acts.

According to a 153-year-old colonial-era law – Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code – a same-sex relationship is an "unnatural offence" and punishable by a 10-year jail term.

Legal experts say Tuesday's judgement puts transgender people in a strange situation: on the one hand, they are now legally recognised and protected under the Constitution, but on the other hand they may be breaking the law if they have consensual gay sex.

By Yogita Limaye

15 April 2014

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-27031180

US and EU push Africans once more on abortion and homosexuality.

 

UN AIDS Accountability InternationalNEW YORK, April 11, 2014 (C-FAM.org) – Africans are crying foul after wealthy Western countries ambushed them with a draft resolution that re-opens the troublesome issues of abortion and homosexuality in UN negotiations.

 

“You have set a precedent here that will not be forgotten,” said a representative from Cameroon at a briefing three weeks ago. Western countries have proposed a resolution for the annual UN Commission on Population and Development that surreptitiously endorses abortion and homosexuality, even though Africans asked to avoid those controversies.

 

The U.S., European and some Latin countries are increasingly insistent on homosexuality and abortion ahead of negotiations over a new UN development agenda in September, desperate to include homosexuality and abortion in future development efforts.
Africans for their part don’t want to be pressured on these issues, and have repeatedly stated that these are matters best left to countries individually.

 

When powerful western governments made their intentions for the resolution known, the Africans on the commission were furious.

 

The resolution includes references to regional agreements that touch on abortion and sexual orientation and gender identity—contentious issues that do not enjoy universal support at the United Nations. It was prepared by Uruguay, which is chairing the commission this year.

 

During negotiations this week the Africans repeated their position.

 

They don’t want a resolution to touch on substantive issues. They would rather have a resolution that defers to the UN General Assembly with regards to abortion and homosexuality in UN development policies.

 

In 2010 the General Assembly re-committed countries to the development policies agreed to at the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development, and clearly announced that it would not re-negotiate those policies. This year marks the 20thanniversary of the seminal development scheme that made sexual and reproductive health a UN development issue.

The Cairo conference dealt with sexual and reproductive health, but did not include homosexual rights or a right to abortion.
African countries and other developing nations are adamant, now as in 2010, that the Cairo policies should not be re-negotiated or re-interpreted to include abortion and homosexuality.

 

They are worried about re-opening sensitive issues like sexual rights, abortion and homosexuality. The Cairo policies could not have been adopted had they included such rights, and the issues are still controversial 20 years later.

 

In fact, no UN treaty or political document recognizes homosexuality or abortion as rights. The General Assembly has been conspicuously silent on these issues because so many countries still have laws that prohibit and restrict abortion as well as laws that punish sodomy.

 

Together with key allies in Asia and Latin America, Western countries insist that the UN framework must recognize homosexuality and abortion. It is a human rights issue to them.

 

The commission comes on the heels of another UN conference where Western countries had to twist arms in order to get their way with the Africans. It remains to be seen how far they are willing to go this time around.

 

All indications are that Western governments have invested heavily in this meeting. Several of the UN officials and government officials that negotiated the Cairo agreement 20 years ago are at UN headquarters. Abortion groups and UN agencies are also out in force raising the issue of abortion and homosexuality at every turn.

 

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
10 April 2014
Source: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/us-and-eu-push-africans-once-more-on-abortion-and-homosexuality/

 

African Leaders Challenged to Address Key Populations

AIDS Accountability Chissano ICPD

JOHANNESBURG, (SAfAIDS Media Desk) – Former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano has challenged African Leaders to ensure that their citizens access information and services that reflect  their sexual and reproductive health needs. He said this while giving a Keynote Address at aTweet@able Regional Policy Dialogue on Integrated  Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV Services for Key Populations in East and Southern Africa in Johannesburg today.

 

In his opening address Former President Chissano emphasised the importance of guaranteeing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for key populations in the post 2015 development agenda. He highlighted the need for leaders in various spectrums to join him in championing the rights of minority groups across the continent to access SRHR services.

 

President Chissano said that strategic plans of multiple countries in Africa include prioritizing key populations in the fight against HIV and AIDS and ensuring equal and easy access to SRHR services. The involvement of leaders, the community and individuals in policy suggestions will ensure that 2015 development goals are met.

 

The dialogue is providing  a platform for discussions on the increasing numbers of contraction and transmission of HIV within minority groups and key populations. The leaders explored how they can work together with organisations and individuals to reduce negative attitudes and encourage those in power to take charge of the protection of the rights of minority groups.

 

Participants to the dialogues include representatives from the South African Health ministry, MP’s from Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe,  the AU, UNAIDS, SADC, funding partners among others.

 

The key message being advocated for is Leadership is Protecting All. President Chissano ended his address with the words ‘’Leadership is Protecting All. Protecting All is Leadership”.

 

The tweetable dialogue offered a chance for participants outside the venue to join in the panel discussions on SRHR and interact with policy makers. The dialogues also provided an opportunity for minority persons to get connected with organisations and leaders; they could also learn how the others across the continent are dealing with healing, HIV/AIDS and sexual health.

 

Join the conversations on twitter by following us @SAfAIDS and tag us on #SRHR4kepops. Have your say.

 

Contact SAfAIDS Media Desk
Email: media@safaids.net

 

Uganda: Anti-Homosexuality Law Challenged – Petitioners Say Law Violates Constitution, International Law.

PRESS RELEASE

Museveni_Uganda_president_3

Nairobi — A diverse group of Ugandan individuals and nongovernmental organizations filed a constitutional challenge to the Anti-Homosexuality Act on March 11, 2014. President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill into law on February 24.

 

"Uganda's constitution explicitly protects basic human rights for all," said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher. "The anti-homosexuality law completely defies Uganda's constitution and its legal obligations under international law, so this challenge is a crucial step to ensure that the law is removed from the books."

 

The challenge argues that the new law is overly broad and unconstitutional on multiple grounds, including by violating Ugandans' rights to equality before the law without discrimination, as well as their rights to privacy, freedom of expression, thought, assembly, association, and civic participation. The petitioners contend that the law encourages homophobia and stigmatization and contravenes the government's obligations to respect the rights guaranteed under international human rights treaties that Uganda has ratified. Furthermore, the petitioners request an injunction against enforcement of the law while the challenge is pending.

 

Uganda's penal code already criminalizes "carnal knowledge against the order of nature," but the new law goes much farther, criminalizing various forms of same-sex conduct, including "touching with the intent to commit homosexuality." It also criminalizes keeping "a house, room, set of rooms or place of any kind for purposes of homosexuality" and engaging in the undefined "promotion of homosexuality." Human Rights Watch has urged the government to repeal the law. It has urged donors to carefully review their support to Uganda to assess any potentially negative impact as a result of the law given its sweeping criminalization of all forms of "promotion of homosexuality," which threatens legitimate human rights and public health work.

 

The petitioners include several prominent Ugandans, including a law professor, one current and one former member of parliament, a journalist, a medical doctor, three LGBTI activists, and two nongovernmental organizations, one working on a range of human rights issues and one focused on the right to health.

 

Given that hearings before the Constitutional Court can be delayed for several years, the court should schedule the case for hearing expeditiously.

 

By Human Rights Watch

11 March 2014

http://allafrica.com/stories/201403111473.html

Quiet diplomacy faulted for Africa’s anti-gay laws

a551abf2305558074c0f6a70670006eb

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Last month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni met in his office with a team of U.S.-based rights activists concerned about legislation that would impose life sentences for some homosexual acts. South African retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined them by phone, pointing out similarities between Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill and racist laws enforced under South Africa's former apartheid government.

 

Museveni made clear he had no plans to sign the bill, said Santiago Canton of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, who attended the Jan. 18 meeting. "He specifically said this bill is a fascist bill," Canton recalled. "Those were the first words that came out of his mouth."

 

One month later, however, Museveni appears to have changed his mind, saying through a spokesman last week that he would sign the bill "to protect Ugandans from social deviants." Coming one month after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law his country's harsh anti-gay bill, which criminalizes same-sex marriage and activism, Museveni's new position highlights Western governments' apparent inability to temper governmental discrimination against gays in Africa.

 

The anti-gay bills are overwhelmingly supported by the general public in both Uganda and Nigeria, providing opportunities to win political points for two presidents eyeing re-election.

 

But international gay rights activists also blame donor countries, including the United States, which favor behind-the-scenes diplomacy intended to avoid a backlash that might come from more forceful engagement.

 

"Quiet diplomacy up to the final moment clearly has failed," said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher for Human Rights Watch.

 

"We need a better strategy," said Julie Dorf, senior adviser at the Council for Global Equality. "We do believe that our government here in the U.S. needs to ramp up the potential consequences that countries might face for these regressive anti-human rights measures. I have no doubt that President Museveni watched very carefully what happened after President Jonathan signed the Nigeria bill. And the truth is, there wasn't much of a reaction."

 

Several human rights groups are urging U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to recall his ambassadors to Uganda and Nigeria. The Human Rights Campaign, America's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, said Wednesday that Kerry should recall the ambassadors because urgent consultation is required before regular diplomacy can resume.

 

"The Ugandan and Nigerian governments' decisions to treat their LGBT citizens like criminals cannot be accepted as business as usual by the U.S. government. We urge Secretary Kerry to recall both ambassadors for consultations in Washington to make clear the seriousness of the situation in both countries," said Chad Griffin, president of the group.

 

Human Rights Watch and the Robert F. Kennedy Center have also called on the State Department to temporarily recall its ambassador to Uganda for consultations.

 

Dorf said the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, who recently went on a radio program to explain in Nigerian Pidgin English that Washington won't be cutting aid because of the new anti-gay law, should also be brought back for talks.

 

Other suggested actions include suspending visa privileges for officials behind the new laws; suspending bilateral delegations or exchanges in areas of interest to both countries; reviewing and potentially revoking both Uganda's and Nigeria's participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act; and revoking invitations for Museveni and Jonathan to a U.S.-Africa summit planned for August.

 

These moves, though, could further jeopardize local activists who are already facing mounting vigilantism that seems to have been tacitly condoned if not openly supported by security forces, say activists. Last week a mob armed with wooden clubs and iron bars dragged 14 young men from their beds and assaulted them in Nigeria's capital, the latest in a series of attacks that has Nigerian gays fearing for their lives.

 

In Uganda, Cleo Kambugu of Transgender Support Initiatives Uganda said transgender women — who often have a hard time blending in to avoid anti-gay hostility — have borne the brunt of a rise in violence that followed parliament's passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in December.

 

Though her organization does not have the resources for comprehensive monitoring, it has been made aware of up to 40 recent incidents involving mob violence, police harassment or both, Kambugu said.

 

She said the imposition of punishment by Western countries over anti-gay legislation could be harmful.

 

"That's going to make people hate (sexual minorities) more in Uganda. They'll say, 'You see? Our economic suffering is because of you guys,'" she said. "By doing that, you'd actually be strengthening these beliefs that this minority group is responsible for your problems."

 

It's a "tough dilemma," agreed Dorf of the Council for Global Equality.

 

"The truth is that most of the local activists in these countries are scared out of their minds right now. They're fearful of things getting even worse for them," she said. "They don't want the backlash which is inevitable when governments put more pressure, but not putting more pressure is making things even worse. We're really in a bind."

 

The State Department seems to be reacting more swiftly to recent incidents of anti-gay violence and hate speech in Africa. The U.S. ambassador to Ivory Coast was first to condemn an attack on the headquarters of that country's most prominent gay rights group last month. On Wednesday, Kerry responded quickly to the latest anti-gay rhetoric from Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who said homosexuals were "vermin" and that LGBT stands for "leprosy, gonorrhea, bacteria and tuberculosis." Kerry said Wednesday that "the United States is deeply troubled by the hateful rhetoric used by President Jammeh … All people are created equal and should be able to live free from discrimination, and that includes discrimination based on sexual identity and sexual orientation."

 

After Uganda's Museveni said he would sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which allegedly was largely influenced by the work of American evangelicals in Uganda, U.S. officials including President Barack Obama have issued statements of protest.

 

Uganda's position has not wavered. In a series of Twitter posts after announcing Museveni would sign, government spokesman Ofwono Opondo slammed the international outcry, saying the U.S. is a "bully" and that "poor people have rights." He said those opposed to the bill should challenge it in court after it is signed into law.

 

Burnett said the bill's language against the "promotion" of homosexuality fits a broader pattern of Museveni's government undermining human rights by threatening nongovernment organizations, shutting down media outlets and attacking protesters.

 

Museveni hopes to get support from a controversial report by a team of Ugandan doctors that says homosexuality is a risk to public health that needs to be regulated "to protect the vulnerable."

 

"It is on the strength of that (report) I am going to sign the bill," he told ruling party lawmakers last week. "I know we are going to have a big battle with the outside groups about this, but I will tell them what our scientists have to say."

 

On Monday Opondo said on Twitter: "When the rant of gay activists is done over this bill, the world will move on."

 

Muhumuza reported from Kampala, Uganda.

By ROBBIE COREY-BOULET and RODNEY MUHUMUZA

February 20, 2014

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/quiet-diplomacy-faulted-africa-39-anti-gay-laws-092526333.html

Petitioning South African Government Step up for equality!

bwuxmdhvEGhaHrW-556x313-noPad

 

The Anti-Homosexuality Act signed by President Museveni on Monday, February 24, 2014 threatens people who engage in same sex acts with life imprisonment. It also threatens the work of organisations that seek to advance the health, rights and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. 

 

The Anti-Homosexuality Act creates an environment of fear, threats of violence and increased discrimination towards sexual minorities in Uganda. With the publication of names of people, there is deep anxiety of increased attacks amongst the community of sexuality minorities..

 

We also note similar laws in countries, such as the recent Anti-Same Sex Marriage Act in Nigeria, which undermines our collective humanity and dignity.

 

Section 9 of the South African Constitution offers protection on the basis of sexual orientation and guarantees dignity and equality for all in South Africa. South Africa’s leadership on this issue is particularly important to realising equal rights for all in the region.

 

We call for the South African Government to:

•           Issue a statement clarifying South Africa’s commitment to human rights for all and a foreign policy which promotes a human-rights based approach to minority sexual groups throughout Africa and the rest of the world;

•           Commit our Embassy in Kampala to provide support to protect the safety, rights and dignity of all fellow Africans at risk on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity; and

•           Confirm South Africa as a safe haven and confirm its willingness to grant asylum to anyone facing persecution on the basis of the sexual orientation or gender identity. 

 

Sign the petition to South African Government.

UN Envoy for AIDS in Africa Must Go

logo

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

We write to you out of deep concern regarding Ms. Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. In the wake of Uganda’s passage of a law criminalizing homosexuality, Ms. Wandira-Kazibwe’s reprehensible silence, and her ongoing position as a senior advisor to President Museveni, threaten to undermine the credibility and independence of the United Nations. We urge you to terminate her position as Special Envoy and appoint an impartial advocate for the rights of all Africans.

As you are aware, President Museveni of Uganda signed a bill into law this week that institutionalizes discrimination and punishes homosexual relationships with life imprisonment. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay denounced the law as a violation of “a host of fundamental human rights” that “will have a negative impact on efforts to prevent transmission and provide treatment for people living with HIV.” Through your spokesperson, you indicated that you shared these views and are “seriously concerned” about the negative impact of the new law.

In the weeks and months after Parliament voted in favor of the destructive, retrograde bill, Uganda’s LGBT and HIV activists mobilized a massive effort by advocates, organizations, and leaders from around the world appealing to President Museveni to withhold his signature. Yet amidst the chorus of condemnation, and in the face of the profound damage this law will cause to HIV service provision throughout Uganda and the continent, Ms. Wandira-Kazibwe lurked in the shadows, never using the public platform given her by the United Nations. No speeches were made and no press statements were given. In fact, we understand that when asked to intervene on behalf of a prominent gay Ugandan seeking asylum in South Africa, Ms. Wandira-Kazibwe privately asserted that she could not, because there is no proof that gay activists in Uganda are being persecuted. In the hours since then, a major newspaper in the country has published a long list of Ugandans who are open about or “suspected of” being gay. Ms. Wandira-Kazibwe’s public silence throughout speaks volumes.

Mr. Secretary-General, your chosen messenger’s failure to denounce her president’s odious actions and stand up for the rights of LGBT living at risk of and affected by HIV casts a pall over the United Nations. It impugns the impartiality and credibility of the office of Special Envoy. If her position as special advisor to President Museveni precludes such a public stance, then she must leave that government role immediately. If she refuses to resign, then you must divest her of her UN role. Ms. Wandira-Kazibwe’s split loyalty presents an obvious conflict of interest that has damaged her credibility. Continued inaction by your office risks damaging yours as well.

Sincerely,

Paula Donovan and Stephen Lewis
Co-Directors, AIDS-Free World

Download this statement as a PDF.

Media contacts:

Christina Magill
clm@aidsfreeworld.org
+1-416-657-4458

26 February 2014

Source: http://aidsfreeworld.org/Newsroom/Press-Releases/2014/Letter-to-SG-re-envoy?utm_source=Newsletter+Peer+List&utm_campaign=c3e3c0b65e-TEMPLATE_PEER_LIST02_26_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_349f52eb1e-c3e3c0b65e-65520477

Ethiopian Minister Slams Uganda for Passing Anti-Gay Law.

2014-02-25-ZenebuTadesse.jpg

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — Zenebu Tadesse, Ethiopia's Minister of Women, Children and Youth Affairs has taken to twitter criticizing the passing of Uganda's anti-gay law, on Monday.

Tadesse tweeted: "There is no place for hate, discrimination in my beloved Africa. It's not Governments' business to make dress code or anti-gay laws #Uganda."

The tweet came shortly after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a harsh anti-gay law that punishes gay sex with up to life in prison.

Tadesse's African voice joins a worldwide condemnation of Uganda's new anti-gay law.

On Sunday, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, Nobel Peace Prize winning Desmond Tutu has compared Uganda's new anti-gay law to Nazi and Apartheid discrimination.

Reacting to the news, Ugandan LGBT rights advocate, Frank Mugisha, told me that he very much welcomed Tadesse's statement.

He said: "this will help. We need as many possible African voices speaking against this law."

While activist Melanie Nathan, a native of South African commented: "This is hugely significant statement coming from an accomplished and respected African Minister.

"I believe that many more Africans of noble esteem probably believe that which she has had the courage to speak," asking others to show equal courage and follow her lead.

Nathan added that she is "especially disappointed that we have yet to hear officially from South Africa's President Zuma, from the only country in Africa where there is a fully equal constitution."

She said he should follow Nelson Mandela's legacy and Tadesse's lead.

Ethiopia has already a harsh anti-gay law which punish same-sex acts with up to 15 years imprisonment.

In addition, under its anti-terrorism law anyone who states what the government deems terrorism (which can include human rights criticism) can be imprisoned for 20 years, without a warrant.

Ethiopia's anti-advocacy law bars charities and nongovernmental organizations that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from abroad from participating in activities that advance human rights and the promotion of equality.

Essentially these three laws taken in total make it impossible for any health-services, charity, advocacy or even clubs or bars to openly support or cater for Ethiopia's LGBT population.

Like in Uganda a strong Evangelical lobby along with other religious leaders have been campaigning for an even tougher capital punishment against LGBT Ethiopians.

Mercy (pseudonym to protect his identity), director of the underground Rainbow Ethiopia, a health and support group for Ethiopian LGBT people, told me he welcomed Tadesse's statement, which he called "progressive."

He also stated: "But I'd like to ask her thought about the draconian anti-homosexuality law, the lack/denial of health and social services and harassment/torture of LGBT Human rights defenders in Ethiopia."

By Dan Littauer

25 February 2014

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dan-littauer/uganda-anti-gay-law_b_4851882.html

Open Letter to African Leaders: one question for you, why do you choose to hate?

r-CAMEROON-GAY-CONVICTION-large570

Dear African Leaders,

 

I hope this letter finds you in good health.

 

I want to just say I am deeply disappointed, hurt and scared of you. I wake up every morning and I question my thoughts and views of african renaissance, I question my birth right, my ability to decide to build a family, I question relations to my family, relatives, friends, I question my ability to contribute to transformation, I question my contribution to economy, to empowerment, I question my freedom, I question my feelings and my life.

 

After spending so much time questioning myself, I have come to one conclusion-I chose to LOVE, love myself, love my neighbour, love my parents, love my education, love my God, love my community, love my country, love Africa, love the world, love my past, love my people, love my partner,  love my children, yes my children……I said it my children.

 

Do you know how I feel? Do you think you have the right to speak and decide about what I want?well till you speak to me, I will say you have no idea, all you do is hurt, hurt and hurt, and take away my freedom, let me also remind you, your take on homosexuality, on gender equality, and human rights has and continues to cost lives.

I have asked myself why? Why do you continue to hurt an African child? Why do you continue to hurt sons and daughters of the soil?is this self interest, is this power dynamics, you gamble with my life, my brothers and sisters lives?

 

Let me say this ………

 

You need to remind yourself about what demonstarting love is and what it means. True and sincere love does not insist on its rights. In the final analysis, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who lay claim to their rights and those who think about their duties; those who lay claim to their privileges and those who always think about their responsibilities; those who think that life owes them something and those who thinks that they owe life something.

 

People can be divided to into "grabbers" and "givers". The grabbers are those who, with clenched fists and white knuckles, constantly cling to what they regard as theirs, they are dirt poor, bankrupt in love. Mercifully, we also get givers. Those who are like the myrtle-tree on the plains that gives its lovely fragrance to the heavens, without expecting something in return.

 

If you were to think less about yourself interest political agenda and power, stop using me as your entry point to gaining and maintaining your power, and think more about your obligations to all in our diversity, you will be serving the world, your people, shaping the future, you will be revealing what love is, you will be revealing a revelation of true love.

 

All I see in you is self driven agenda of power, you have drifted from the people, from the interest of Africans. Your reluctant to reveal the true leadership qualities. You appear to be cold and introverted, you are afraid of being misunderstood, you rather make others be and feel misunderstood. This is really sad, because so many unexpressed emotions, dialogues and quality leadership views -could have enriched the world-however we remain slumbering in personalities and your personal views.

 

One of the characteristics of love is expressing appreciation and acknowledging others through love. It takes so little to say it loud, and yet, it brings so much joy to both giver and grabber(receiver). Love can be demostrated in a variety of practical ways. It can rise above mere sentimental emotions and enable you to make a way of life out of it, that can enrich the lives of your loved ones.

 

It is my experience and experiences of  others, men and women including gays, lesbians and transgender people that is filled with declared love can be fulfilling and practical. Love not hate.

African Leaders why don't you start today?

 

Demonstrate love for your nations that you are tasked to protect, promote and uphold, demonstrate love for your people, demostrate love for Africa, demostrate love for the world.

I stand!

 

Yours,

Mmapaseka Steve Letsike

 

This letter is written in my personal capacity. Inspired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  Solly Ozrovech and my mother the late Johanna K Letsike (anti-apartheid activist).

 

Mmapaseka Steve Letsike is with Anova Health Institute, South African National AIDS Council, National Council against Gender Based Violence and with Chapter ll.

Uganda’s President signs anti-gay bill into law

updated 5:58 AM EST, Mon February 24, 2014
Watch this video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ugandan president to sign anti-gay bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(CNN) – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law Monday a bill that criminalizes homosexuality.

Museveni had gone back and forth about the controversial bill.

Last month, Museveni said he wouldn't sign the bill, describing homosexuals as "sick" people who needed help, not imprisonment.

Then he backtracked this month and said he'd sign it because scientists had determined that there's no gene for homosexuality and it was merely abnormal behavior.

Then, last week, he said he would seek advice from American scientists before he made any decision.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda. The law toughens the penalties, including life imprisonment for certain acts.

Museveni said that Ugandan scientists had determined there was no gene for homosexuality.

"It was learned and could be unlearned," he said.

Shortly after his announcement, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that enacting the bill would affect relations between the two nations. He described the proposal as an "affront and a danger to the gay community" in Uganda.

The United States and Britain are among the nation's largest donors.

Placating Western donors

Then, in what appeared to be a move to placate Western donors, Museveni said he would seek extended guidance.

In a statement last week, he said U.S. scientists sent him opinions indicating "homosexuality could be congenital."

"I therefore encourage the U.S. government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual," Museveni said. "When that is proved, we can review this legislation."

Years of debates

A Ugandan lawmaker first introduced the bill in 2009 with a death penalty clause for some homosexual acts. It was briefly shelved when Britain and other European nations threatened to withdraw aid to Uganda, which relies on millions of dollars from the international community.

The nation's parliament passed the bill in December, replacing the death penalty provision with a proposal of life in prison for "aggravated homosexuality." This includes acts where one person is infected with HIV, "serial offenders" and sex with minors, Amnesty International said.

The bill also proposed years in prison for anyone who counsels or reaches out to gays and lesbians, a provision that would ensnare rights groups and others providing services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Homosexuality in Africa

Homosexuality is illegal in 38 African countries, where most sodomy laws were introduced during colonialism. In Uganda, homosexual acts are punishable by 14 years to life in prison.

But lawmakers in the conservative nation have sought tougher legislation, saying the influence of Western lifestyles risks destroying family units.

Rights groups worldwide have condemned the bill as draconian.

By Faith Karimi,

24 February 2014

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/24/world/africa/uganda-anti-gay-bill/

CNN's Antonia Mortensen in Entebbe, Uganda, and Yousuf Basil in Atlanta contributed to this report.