storytelling

And What Did We Learn From Today’s Congressional Hearings on Uganda?

While the president is opening his mail to find letters signed by a slew of lawmakers denouncing Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill, some of those 90 congressmen and women today heard testimony from activists, State Department officials, and even a Ugandan who flew in to tell his story of personal victimization.

At the congressional hearing today hosted by the nonpartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and chaired by Rep. Tammy Baldwin, officials heard from the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary Karl Wycoff, “that the Bill not only constitutes serious threats to human rights in Uganda and the international reputation of country, but also compromises Aids work,” relays UK Gay News. Christine Lubinski, speaking on behalf of of the HIV Medicine Association at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, told officials “Silence equals death. We have a responsibility to ensure billions of USPEPFAR money is reaching those in need.”

And then there was Julius Kaggwa, of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, who flew in from Uganda to share how he was among the “personal victim[s]” of assault in the country’s crackdown on gays. “All in Uganda are affected.”

It must have been somewhat reassuring, then, to have Rep. James McGovern, the Massachusetts Democrat (who was arrested in D.C. in 2006 outside the Sudanese embassy for protesting the Darfur genocide), declare that “Congress stands behind Mr. Kaggwa” and that he would be “watching for his security very closely.”

Us, too.

BELOW: A riveting look at Transforming Uganda, from Talk 2 Action’s Bruce Wilson, who chronicles how faith-based through from Francis Oda and Ed Silvoso’s frightening International Transformation Network are striking out an on organized attempt to demonize homosexuality.