John Abdallah Wambere has been one of the most prominent LGBT activists in Uganda, which is an act of tremendous bravery in that viciously homophobic nation. Wambere was in the U.S. in February when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the country’s jail-the-gays bill into law. Now Wambere has concluded that it’s unsafe for him to return to his homeland. He’s seeking asylum in the U.S.
Wambere’s work in Uganda has made him a target for death threats. As co-founder of the LGBT group Spectrum Uganda Initiatives, Wambere has been featured on the front page of Uganda newspapers under such headlines as “Men of Shame Exposed.” He has seen his travel agency business vanish. He’s been repeatedly arrested and harassed and even evicted from his home.
Worst of all, he has endured the murder of his friend David Kato. Kato was murdered in his home three years ago, and since then things have only gotten worse for the LGBT community in Uganda.
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is handling Wambere’s case and hopes for a quick resolution. As for Wambere, he’s saddened by the turn of events. “It gives me great pain not to be with my community, allies, and friends while they are under increasing attack,” he said a press conference.
Photo credit: GLAD