East African tabloid newspapers returned last week to their hateful tradition of outing alleged and actual LGBT citizens, this time with a front-page article that listed alleged lesbians in Uganda.
The article in the Hello tabloid of May 29 came less than two weeks after a Kenyan tabloid listed that country’s “top” 14 gays and lesbians, and 15 months after a Ugandan tabloid published a similar list of what it called “Uganda’s 200 Top Homos.”
Such articles stir up anti-LGBT feelings and often lead to harassment and violence against alleged LGBT people. Homophobic landlords have evicted tenants whose names they see in such lists, homophobic parents have disowned children whose names they find listed, and homophobic bosses have fired employees whom the tabloids target.
Ugandan LGBT rights activist David Kato was murdered in January 2011, a few months after the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone published his name and photo, among those of many other alleged lesbians and homosexuals, under the heading “Hang Them.”
After the LGBT rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda sued the newspaper, the Ugandan High Court ordered it to stop publishing names of alleged LGBT people and to pay each of three individual plaintiffs (Kato, Kasha Jacqueline, and Pepe Onziema) a fine of 1.5 million Ugandan shillings (about $450.) Kato was murdered shortly after that verdict was announced.
That verdict did not stop other tabloids from publishing similar lists. It’s a continuing “media witch hunt,” commented Ugandan LGBTI rights activist Kasha, the publisher of Kuchu Times.
“This is the very reason why Kuchu Times exists — to counter such hateful media,” she stated.
The latest Hello list included some well-known LGBTI rights activists — Kasha, LGBTI security advocate Sandra Ntebi, and researcher/straight ally Stella Nyanzi — but also many alleged lesbians whose have kept their sexual orientation private and whose safety is jeopardized by this article.
The Hello list came just one day after the tabloid published a sensationalized account of Ugandans’ participation in the Pride festival in Birmingham, England, under the headline “Ugandan Gays Hold Sex Fest in UK.”
Alleged lesbians have been under attack both in Uganda and in Kenya, where five students were targeted by anti-lesbian school officials. The following account is a summary of a Kuchu Times article:
Five female students were expelled May 18 from their school in Nairobi after they were found asleep in one girl’s dormitory room after a night of partying and book discussions.
The students were suspended on charges of lesbianism on April 8, then expelled on May 18. They have sued the school in the High Court, accusing it of acting without valid reason and seeking readmission on the grounds that their expulsion violated their rights under the Kenyan Basic Education Act and Children Act.
- Kenyan Paper Shamed for Its ‘Top Gays’ List (May 2015, advocate.com)
- Tabloid joins politician, bishops in targeting LGBTI Kenyans (May 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Ugandan film focuses on fatal effects of anti-gay media
- Uganda study probes anti-gay acts, offers brighter future
- How to stir up anti-gay violence, Ugandan style
- Prominent Ugandan gay activist seeks U.S. asylum (May 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Family rejection, threats follow anti-gay Ugandan law
- Here we go again: Uganda tabloid lists alleged gays