Hang the Homos

In October of 2010 a year after Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill was first introduced to parliament, a Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone (Not at all related to the American magazine) published a story exposing the names, pictures and whereabouts of 100 Ugandan homosexuals with the headline “Hang Them”.  In January of 2011, David Kato, an outspoken gay rights activist and one of the two men featured on the cover of the paper was beaten to death. Many of the other people listed in the article have faced a great deal of harassment as well. Another woman whose picture was included in the story, Stosh Mugisha, had to move houses after people tried to stone her.

This Rolling Stone article was not the first to expose the names of Ugandan homosexuals. The Red Pepper, one of Uganda’s most popular tabloids, published a story nearly a year before Rolling Stone headlined “Top Homos in Uganda Named” which was similar to the “Hang Them” article and contained names, pictures, places of employment and residence of Uganda’s “top” homosexuals. This was not the first homophobic article the Red Pepper published. In 2007 they ran an article outing 40 gay men, headlined “HOMO TERROR: We Name and Shame Top Gays in the City”.

The Rolling Stone article differed from those in the Red Pepper because it insights violence against Ugandan homosexuals. The “Hang Them” issue also contained the sub-headlines about homosexuals raiding schools and “recruiting” thousands of children in Uganda to become gay.

These newspapers have played a large role in perpetuating the hysteria that has surrounded homosexuality in Uganda in recent years. They reinforce the false stereotypes about homosexuality as a Western Invention that poses a serious threat to Ugandan children and keep the LGBT community living in fear.

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