Bill Clinton honors LGBT-friendly bishop in Uganda

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo honored with Clinton Global Citizen Award for Support of LGBT Rights

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo
Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda

Press release:

September 24, 2012 – New York, NY — Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Kampala, Uganda, will receive a Clinton Global Citizen Award at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting this evening for his outstanding work to support the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people through the St. Paul’s Reconciliation and Equality Centre in Kampala.

The award will be presented by President Bill Clinton, recognizing Bishop Senyonjo’s courageous work in promoting the equal rights of LGBT people in Uganda and across more than 70 countries where being LGBT is illegal and often persecuted and national and local levels.  President Clinton also honored Pepe Julius Onziema from Sexual Minorities Uganda for his leadership in Uganda’s LGBT community.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award and President Clinton has moved the world one step closer to a place where it should no longer be illegal to love someone or persecute those of us who want to provide pastoral care and support,” Bishop Senyonjo said.

Two honorees pose at Clinton Global Initiative 2012. From left, Megan Bambino, CGI program manager; honoree Bishop Christoper Senyonjo; honoree Pepe Julius Onziema, a leader of Sexual Minorities Uganda; and the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, president of the St. Paul's Foundation for International Reconciliation, which raises money for Senyonjo's work in Uganda.
Two honorees pose at Clinton Global Initiative 2012. From left, Megan Bambino, CGI program manager; honoree Bishop Christoper Senyonjo; honoree Pepe Julius Onziema, a leader of Sexual Minorities Uganda; and the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which raises money for Senyonjo’s work in Uganda.

The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, has gathered financial support from donors like the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Ford Foundation is with the bishop today.

“President Clinton is honoring a great man who has helped many of us realize the extent of homophobia in our churches and cultures and the profound economic and psychological damage it does to millions of human beings every day. Today’s award is also a recognition of the foresight of donors and Foundations who have stepped out over the past three years to support our work. Thank you for making the bishop’s prophetic leadership known to the world,” Ogle said.

Over the past decade Bishop Senyonjo has recognized that the rights of LGBT people are tightly linked to a range of development challenges, including women’s rights, gender equality, economic empowerment, HIV/AIDS prevention and employment.  Through the St. Paul’s Foundation and the support of organizations like the Elton John Foundation and the Ford Foundation, he has inspired other of gay-straight alliances to counter prejudice and promote equality.

This is the first time CGI has recognized leadership on LGBT issues, and symbolizes the increasing need to mainstream LGBT rights as an important dimension of human rights and economic empowerment.

In July 2012 Bishop Senyonjo was invited by the St. Paul’s Foundation to lead a delegation of people of faith from 26 countries where being LGBT is illegal to the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C.

“If it is illegal to be LGBT, it often follows that it is illegal to receive HIV prevention and health services. So LGBT people are one of the most at risk populations in the world. Governments need to decriminalize homosexuality if we are going to get to zero new infections and zero stigma,” said the bishop.

The Foundation reported within two weeks of the Spirit of 76 event, two of their 26 people were harassed by government authorities when they returned home from the conference, simply for working on this issue. One lost his job and the other was tortured by local police. Support for the emergency needs of these individuals and the work of the Foundation may be made here: http://stpaulsfoundation.com/Donate.html.

More information on the 76 countries may he found at:
https://76crimes.com.

Or contact Rev. Canon Albert Ogle at [email protected] (949 338 8830).

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

6 Comments

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  1. THRUTH 1. SOGI planning and dialogue session in Uganda, attending public hearings and dispelling myths, HIV, Health, treatment for LGBTI, presentation of structured reports on LGBT, housing for those evicted, gender neutral bathrooms, counselling and consequential counselling are some of the skills medical dotors who are LGBTI-friendly engaged in or at all opportunities taught to all the people who have been awarded prizes, honours and accolades. The doctors who have helped this to happen are NEVER acknowledge!! TRUTH 2. There are medical doctors who have worked with LGBTIQQ in Uganda since 2000! Who will thank them or honour them too??? I am happy Ugandans are receiveing hard earned medals ‘for their work among LGBT in Uganda.’ It is commendable. But, in order for it to be fair. The medical doctors who have done so much for LGBT need to be applauded too. Some can no longer live in Uganda having escaped after being tortured as well! These doctors carry confidential info and even while being tortured they endeavoured to guard it from prying torturers! They have scars and missing teeth to show for this!

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