homeland security

Will the United States Welcome Gay Ugandan Refugees If ‘Kill The Gays’ Becomes Law?


America, land of the free, home of the brave, welcomes foreign immigrants into its borders under many scenarios, the most dicey of which comes ’round with asylum seekers. This class of folks — refugees of an oppressive state, or community — are arguably the most deserving of a new home, because their old land was a place of violence, or menace, or oppression. So if Uganda’s lawmakers pass the Kill The Gays bill, which will permit the execution of any HIV-person person who has sex with someone of the same gender, and allow the lifetime imprisonment of anyone person who has gay sex, won’t Uganda’s queers become worthy of asylum? More importantly, will America welcome them?

The U.S. isn’t saying. Or, perhaps, State Department officials haven’t reached a decision whether asylum will be considered for Uganda’s gays. (These five U.S. representatives, however, might have.)

At a meeting on Friday between Johnnie Carson (the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs) and some 30 Gay Inc. groups including HRC (which reported details back), Carson was asked about asylum. “He promised to follow-up with the appropriate government officials to ensure that appropriate plans can be made to assist such individuals,” relays HRC.

Carson is the same guy whose office claims to have repeated assurances from Uganda President Museveni that he will veto the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. But if lawmakers score a two-thirds majority, his veto power will be moot. And there’s a very real possibility — given overwhelming anti-gay views among lawmakers and the populace — things may play out that way.

Which is why the U.S. needs to work on a plan, immediately, about how we can keep Uganda’s gays safe. And if that means welcoming into our own country, so be it. Because we’re champions of human rights, aren’t we? Yup, this further opens up an already on-going battle about whether persecuted gays should receive asylum in the U.S., given the dozens of African countries that criminalize homosexuality. Then again, some U.S. states have been reluctant to pull those laws off their own books.

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  • Jon B

    Yeah… umm… good luck gay Ugandans. Refugee status is generaly only granted in cases where you can show individualized persecution. In very rare cases they will allow for group asylum, though it is usually a temporary status, and is rarely granted for anything but wartime situations. However, most of the time in gay refugee situations, people are denied refugee status because of state protections, even if those protections are meaningless. So they may have a better chance than other gay refugees. However, refugee status designation is decided by a single judge, and the person claiming refugee status is completely at their mercy, so it could go either way. Interesting question though.

  • romeo

    I think this situation will satisfy the refugee designation. We do groups all the time in the U.S.. We let in shitloads of Ukrainians, like 250,000, in the last several years because they’re right-wing religious nuts, some kind of Baptist, that are even too much for right-wing Ukraine. Figures we’d let them in here. They are ultra-antigay. If the State Department went for that, then we can just let in a bunch of people that are going to be good and grateful workers. HRC and other gay orgs. need to start thinking about organizing services and outreach for them when they get here. We need to do our part.

    This is government sponsored oppression to the point of murder. What else does the State Dept. need?

  • AlanInSLCutah

    Anyone else want to smack that smug look off of his face?

  • Bill

    The United States, by and large, is RESPONSIBLE for the creation of this legislation.

    When the leader of the free world tells the rest of the word that it is OK to treat LGTB citizens unequally in its laws, how on earth can we be surprised when a country like Uganda puts their own barbaric spin on their anti-gay laws???

    I am sorry, America. But this one falls squarely in YOUR lap.

    And why would anyone think for a second that a country that punishes and abuses LGTB citizens via the law (America) would take in other gays that are being punished and abused via the law???

    I honestly believe that if it weren’t for Maddow’s coverage of this legislation on MSNBC, none of these U.S. politicians would say a single word about this legislation.

    Is Uganda’s proposal really so different from what the fundamentalists would implement right here in the U.S. if they could?

    You are lying to yourself if you believe otherwise.

  • yawn

    This is above President Obama’s pay grade. He’d rather the fags die than alienate the religious right.

  • InExile

    The US allows same sex bi-national couples (an American with a foreign born partner)to flee the US to gain citizenship in foreign countries just to stay together rather than fix the discriminatory laws. This happens now, today, and none of our politicians care. Gays in Uganda better look elsewhere for help, the US doesn’t even help their own gay citizens.

  • Luke

    I will take a keen interest in this issue.

    Certainly, in Britain (where I live) the UK border agency has often refused asylum to LGBT asylum seekers on the flimsiest of bases. People are often sent back to Iran, Jamaica, Uganda and a whole host of violently homophobic countries, on the premise that their ability to live a decent dignified life would not be impaired if they were ‘discreet’; in other words, they’re thought safe if they’re discreet.
    A lesbian women from Jamaica was turned down on the basis that, since she had been in England for nearly two years and not found a partner, she was unlikely a lesbian. She was unlikely, so the judge ruled, since she would have had a partner by that stage, given England is such an LGBT friendly place. Furthermore, the court denied she was lesbian because she had been raped by a man a few years before. (see http://www.springerlink.com/content/m970222705n58673/)

    Quite recently, a Ugandan refugee by the name of John Nyombi, was refused asylum (http://gayswithoutborders.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/uk-lgbt-asylum-emergency-for-john-bosco-nyombi-and-babi-badalov-gay-asylum-uk/). Nyombi’s first asylum bid failed and he was deported back to Uganda. He said, “For six months, I hid, I couldn’t go out, see anyone I knew. The newspaper printed a picture of me and revealed my case and the police were trying to find me.” Eventually, lawyers persuaded the British authorities that he was in danger and he was allowed back to England, where he now has a job as a care worker.”

    How can we take UK prime minister Gordon Brown’s denouncing of the proposed Ugandan legislation seriously, and his putting pressure on Museveni seriously, when, at the same time, he presides over a government which denies LGBT asylum seekers from Uganda asylum here, for the flimsiest reasons?

  • HellIsWaiting

    The United States has 12 operational Ohio-class submarines, each with 24 Trident II nuclear missiles on board. It is time we toll the bell of freedom over Uganda. That will surely wipe the smug off the face of any Uganda official, No. 3 AlanInSLCutah.

    …and Bill… what a load of shit. While there are kill the gays lobbyists everywhere… only Uganda officials, operating under their free will, is in charge of their destiny. That country is no longer worthy of existence.

  • HellIsWaiting is a dipshit

    @ No. 8 · HellIsWaiting

    Call us when the shuttle lands, you dipshit.

  • Adam

    The majority of negroes the world over seem to hate gay people.

    They see us as unnatural.

    Since they love the “natural” so very much, the next time there is a famine in Africa, or there is a high tide in New Orleans, I recommend to all gay people that we respect their views and do not insult their sensitivities by providing aid or relief of any sort.

    Let nature take its course.

    Far kinder to do nothing. Far.

Comments are closed.