How to stir up anti-gay violence, Ugandan style

Front page of the Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper on Aug. 14, 2014.
Front page of the Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper on Aug. 14, 2014.

“The Red Pepper is despicable” is today’s simple comment from LGBT rights activist Maurice Tomlinson.
That comment comes in response to today’s front page of the Red Pepper tabloid, dominated by the blaring headline “Homos Vow to Kill Kadaga.”
Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of the Ugandan parliament, is preparing for a new vote on the harsh Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was overturned Aug. 1 by the Ugandan Constitutional Court, citing the lack of a quorum when the bill was passed last December.
The headline “Homos Vow to Kill Kadaga” has no connection to reality.
Similarly unrealistic is the subhead “Gays: We’re in Control of Parliament,” since a large majority of parliament has spoken and/or voted in favor of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, although President Yoweri Museveni seems to be backing away from some of the language of the bill that he signed into law in February.
The Red Pepper tabloid has been putting the lives of LGBT people in danger by sensationalizing their stories and publishing their names and photos.
The Red Pepper tabloid has been putting the lives of LGBT people in danger by sensationalizing their stories and publishing their names and photos.

Red Pepper frequently publishes lists and photos of alleged Ugandan homosexuals, including the story titled “EXPOSED! Uganda’s 200 Top Homos Named,” which appeared in February shortly after Museveni signed the bill.
Red Pepper has taken on the role previously played by the now-defunct Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone, which in October 2010 published a similar listing of alleged homosexuals with the heading “Hang Them” attached to the article “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak.” That list included LGBT rights activist David Kato, who was murdered in January 2011.

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, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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