Since 2009, the issue of gay rights in Uganda has been in the spotlight, with the international human rights community standing in solidarity with gays and lesbians in Uganda who face legal discrimination and a proposed death sentence for homosexuality. Last fall, the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone published photos and names of gay activists on the front page of the paper, calling for action against them. Though the paper has been punished and is prevented from outing gays in the future, homophobia in Uganda has not been eliminated.
One of the men outed by the tabloid, David Kato (pictured above), was found dead in his home this week after being beaten to death in a suspected act of homophobic violence.
In a press release by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), activists stated that it is imperative “to stop demonizing sexual minorities in Uganda since doing so creates a climate of violence against gay persons.” On the blog Gay Uganda, a friend of Kato’s wrote a memorial post, remembering that Kato was, “Persistent, in the face of adversity. Ruthless to get what he wants. Patient, when he needs to.”
News of Kato’s death is concurrent with the case of Brenda Namigadde, an Ugandan lesbian activist who has been living in Britain but is scheduled to be deported Friday. The international human rights community is calling for the UK to grant her asylum.