Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rest Now, David Kato

He called himself the first out gay Ugandan. Now he's a dead gay Ugandan.

David Kato was beaten to death at his home in Kampala yesterday. Formerly a schoolteacher, Kato was the advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

He was also an unwilling cover boy when last fall a Ugandan newspaper by the name of Rolling Stone—no connection with the American magazine—declared him a known homo. Just earlier this month, Kato and other plaintiffs won their case against Rolling Stone, when a judge ruled media companies can't out gay people, citing the constitutional right to privacy.

I assume there's also a constitutional right to live, but that must've escaped the notice of his murderer.

“David has been receiving death threats since his face was put on the front page of Rolling Stone Magazine, which called for his death and the death of all homosexuals,” said SMUG in a news release.

What an anti-gay atmosphere in Uganda, whose parliament, in case you've spent the last couple of years in outer space, is still considering a bill that would put some gay people to death. (And then there's the question of how much certain American evangelicals inspired that evil bill.)

The bravery of those who are out in Uganda under such conditions. I'd go so deep into the closet I'd be in Tanzania.

Frank Mugisha, executive director of SMUG, said, “No form of intimidation will stop our cause. The death of David will only be honored when the struggle for justice and equality is won. David is gone and many of us will follow, but the struggle will be won."

It will. But here's hoping, and praying, that many of you DON'T follow.