I’ve noted before that the way that anti-gay religious figures behave in the United States is moderated by the fact that we live in a secular society where they can’t get away with too much. We’ve seen, though, that when the American anti-gay figures go to places like Uganda and Russia, they behave differently and actively aid and abet a homophobic situation which is much more dire.
In that spirit, it’s useful to note the common denominators between the gay teen suicides in the United States and the situation on the ground for gays in Uganda. Both are the direct result of the ostracism that comes from homophobia; the difference is that in Uganda, that homophobia is both mainstream and completely socially acceptable, whereas in the United States, our bigots have to keep it in check to a certain degree.
Julius Kaggwa, a human rights advocate for gays and other sexual minorities in Uganda, explains what it’s like in Uganda right now:
“Homophobia is in fact a death sentence”…
The anti-gay bill in Uganda’s parliament “makes every person a potential criminal,” Kaggwa told AFP.
However “even if you remove the death sentence from the bill, it’s still a death sentence,” he said, because gay people “are cut off from social life, are denied health services, don’t have access to treatments, and have no access to housing,” he told reporters.
In Uganda, extreme homophobia is being promoted at an institutional and societal level. Over here, it’s more touch and go. But please note that the messages spread by our extremists, such as the AFA and NOM, are not fundamentally different from the messages spread by anti-gay extremists in Uganda. They’re just more sugarcoated.
Homophobia is a death sentence. It’s not meted out evenly across society, but for those unlucky enough to be vulnerable and caught in the crosshairs, whether it’s a person suspected of being gay in Uganda, or whether it’s a 13 year old kid in the United States who has absorbed on a deep level the message that they’re evil, disgusting, hated by God, or whatever else, there’s bound to be a body count.