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Disappointed by Pope, Ugandan activists remain hopeful

Pope Francis (Photo courtesy of Sourcefed.com)
Pope Francis (Photo courtesy of Sourcefed.com)

Pope Francis has avoided talking about homophobia during his trip to Africa, despite urgent pleas that he rein in the un-Christian hatred that many of his followers and other Christians display for LGBT people.

But Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) “still hopes that the Vatican will take sexual minorities issues seriously. We are open to working with the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Uganda as regards the issue of homophobia in Uganda,” the LGBT rights organization said on Facebook.

SMUG added:

“LGBT identifying Ugandans, especially Catholics, feel betrayed by the Church after Pope Francis avoided the topic of homophobia that has left LGBT-identifying Ugandans in the hands of a majority merciless (80% population) that believes homosexuality is taboo.

Dr. Frank Mugisha (Photo courtesy Facebook)
Frank Mugisha (Photo courtesy Facebook)

“Dr. Frank Mugisha, the executive director Sexual Minorities Uganda and a practicing Catholic, told Al Jazeera’s Priyanka Gupta that the pope’s visit has brought both hope and disappointment. This according to Dr. Frank Mugisha is because, although the Pope did not preach acceptance of homosexuality, he preached love of one another including the homosexual identifying population of Uganda.

“Frank says, ‘Criminalization of homosexuality puts LGBT people at greater risk of violence, being infected with HIV and committing suicide, and that is why we needed the Pope to speak up for us while he is here in Uganda.’

“He adds, ‘I am a Catholic and I prayed that he will call for the end of these criminal laws that torment us. Because these laws do not just discriminate; they kill us.’ ”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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