At this time last year, Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato was brutally murdered. NoMoreDownLow.TV correspondent Mark Noble takes a look back at the tragedy and explores LGBT issues in countries where there is no (or very limited) equality for LGBT individuals and same sex relationships. In this NoMoreDownLow.TV Newsbreak, learn more about David Kato and hear from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Phylicia Rashad and others as they comment on what still needs to be done to stop the hate worldwide.
In this segment, NoMoreDownLow.TV talks to Cary Alan Johnson, International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. He tell us, “As gay and lesbian movements around the world, particularly in Africa, grow in strength and creativity and numbers, there has been high levels of push back. High levels of backlash.”
Was David Kato killed because he was gay? Or was he in the wrong place at the wrong time? Human rights campaigners say that gay Ugandans faced weeks of attack and intimidation before the murder. The anti-gay propaganda that led to David Kato’s murder was saying that “gays were recruiting one million children by raiding schools.”
But can it only be a coincidence that his death came on the heels of a tabloid newspaper report that outed 100 Ugandans? It not only published names and photos, but addresses of those assumed to be a part of the LGBT community. The headlines: “100 top homos” and the caption “Hang them.”
After these stories ran in the local tabloids, David Kato was beaten to death with a hammer in his own home. He died on the way to the hospital.
Ngo Okafor, a Nigerian boxer, commented on the tragedy saying, “People fear that a gay person would now come in and (you know) and change their children. Nobody is trying to control anybody.”
Jimmy Jean-Louis, an actor from Haiti, told us about the murder, “It is unacceptable to have this kind of situation to be happening.” He added, “We have to spread the message, speak it up and hopefully we can get the attention of people that can actually change behavior of thousands, maybe millions.”
Nadia Buari, an actor in Ghana, tried to explain why it may have happened, “Africans, we have a strict culture and a strict religion.”
On the African continent, homosexuality is illegal in 36 countries. And the fuel of hatred is rampant as mobs go after those suspected of being gay with little regard for human rights.
At 2:05 into the segment, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told us, “First and foremost, we can give a message to the rest of the world that human rights are important and human rights everywhere in the world are part of American foreign policy.”
During the Pan African Film Festival, the films “Camaroon” and “Children of God” explore same gender relationships in the African diaspora. The films open the door to understanding LGBT people and our relationships.
Bahamian actor Van Brown, who stars in “Children of God” said “This film has enhanced my life tremendously because now there is a part of my being that is more conscious in terms of that area (of LGBT struggles with equality).” He added, “So anytime a friend of mine is telling a joke that is geared towards gay people, I say that I don’t want you to think that that’s comfortable.”
“It’s going to take awhile, but it’s beginning to sink in little by little. They are beginning to accept it,” said Monalisa Okojie, a Nigerian.
At 3:45 into the video, actress Phylicia Rashad, best known for her role as Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show, told us, “Mothers need to advocate for the rights of gay babies. Mothers need to advocate for the rights of gay babies.”
“The United States government has also put money and resources into helping to build LGBT movements around the world, so it’s a new day in Washington and we hope to see it continue,” said Cary Alan Johnson, International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
In February 2012, a new documentary about David Kato’s life called “Call me Kuchu” will debut at the Berlin Film Festival. Watch the trailer below.