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Clinton honors Ugandan human rights advocates

Gay activist Frank Mugisha among those honored at U.S. Embassy in Kampala



Hillary Clinton, International AIDS Conference, gay news, Washington Blade
Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Uganda

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored Ugandan human rights advocates on Friday (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday honored a group of Ugandan human rights activists at a ceremony in the country’s capital.

Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, was among the members of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law who received the State Department’s 2011 Human Rights Defenders Award at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala. Both Clinton and Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Johnnie Carson thanked Mugisha by name for his advocacy on behalf of LGBT Ugandans.

“I’ve said before it is critical for all Ugandans — the government and citizens alike — to speak out against discrimination, harassment and intimidation of anyone. That’s true no matter where they come from, what they believe or whom they love,” said Clinton. “No one has been a stronger champion than all of you. You’ve been organized, disciplined, and savvy. You have marshaled the evidence and made the arguments using the rights enshrined in Uganda’s constitution and in international law. And by doing so, you are a model for others and an inspiration to the world.”

Clinton said she discussed the so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill that once contained a provision that would have imposed the death penalty upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts and ongoing violence against LGBT Ugandans during a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni earlier in the day. She also visited a clinic for people with HIV/AIDS funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Both Clinton and President Obama urged the Ugandan government to protect the rights of its LGBT residents following the Jan. 2011 murder of gay activist David Kato inside his Kampala home. The White House and British Prime Minister David Cameron have also suggested that a country’s LGBT rights record should play a role in the allocation of foreign aid.

“I’m well aware that you do your work often amidst difficult, even dangerous circumstances. I know that some of your lives have been threatened, your friends and families intimidated. But I want you to know that the United States is and will be your partner,” Clinton told the activists. “I raised these issues with President Museveni today, because this isn’t just about carving out special privileges for any one group; this is about making sure universal rights are protected for all people. A violation of anyone’s rights is a violation of everyone’s rights.”

She reiterated this message in separate remarks to embassy staffers and their families.

“A few minutes ago, I presented the State Department’s 2011 Human Rights Defenders Award to the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law. This is, as many of you know, a group of brave men and women standing up for universal human rights right here in Uganda, not to carve out special privileges for any group, but to ensure that universal rights are shared by all people,” said Clinton. “We very much know the importance of this, because Uganda has so many talented people — men and women — and we want to see everybody have a chance to live up to their own God-given potential, to make a contribution to themselves, their families and to society and their country.”

Mugisha echoed Clinton’s sentiments.

“As Secretary Clinton stated, this prestigious human rights award emphasizes what we’ve been saying all along: we are not asking for special treatment. We are simply asking that the same rights afforded to every other Ugandan by our constitution and international law also be applied to the LGBTI community,” he told the Blade. “We are grateful for the support of Secretary Clinton in this work as we face tremendous opposition by Ugandan religious leaders and parliamentarians who want to make criminals out of human rights defenders and civil society organizations.”

Clinton began her 11-day trip to Africa in Senegal on Tuesday. She traveled to Uganda from South Sudan and will visit Kenya, Malawi and South Africa before returning to the U.S. on Aug. 10.


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  1. Gowon

    August 4, 2012 at 7:01 am

    I’m still waiting to hear what brought the US Secretary of State to Uganda. If it is all about lesbians and gays then the Americans tax payers money is really being wasted. Clinton never came to Uganda when people were dieing in Luwero, Northern Uganda from wars and now ebola and Noding disease. Malaria is killing babies in droops, while TB and HIV/AIDs are rampaging, leave alone poverty, ignorance and diseases that don’t spare even pregnant women. I am wondering what the true agenda of the first Secretary of State is.

    • Kiwanuka David

      August 7, 2012 at 3:08 am

      All those problems you are listing have been catered for in Uganda but corruption has made results invisible; it is hight time trends and interests be changed to avenues that have been side lined yet affecting development. Let us see what comes out of the LGBT empowerment. It is not wasting any resource to fight for human rights, if you say that Clinton’s coming wasted resources because she spoke for LGBTs, tomorrow you will be the same person to say Clinton’s coming to speak about improving health care for Ebola victims is wastage of resources. Necessity of an agenda varies with communities and individuals, your interests may not be everyone’s interests and do not force society to think your opinions are best, present the opinion and give people opportunity to think between lines about it.
      Thank you Hillary Clinton, thank you USA.

  2. James Kityo

    August 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Was no covrage in Uganda. Please, invite me for coverage at US Embassy next time

  3. Dume

    August 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Well I’m very happy to hear Uganda government passing gay and lesbian bill Let all man + the president turn gay so I can have all Uganda beautiful women’s

  4. Dume

    August 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Good news to achieved money for the developing country Uganda president join gay group is the only would leader to join

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Victory Fund honors gay Guatemalan congressman at D.C. conference

Aldo Dávila a vocal critic of country’s government



Guatemalan Congressman Aldo Dávila speaks at the 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference after he received the Global Trailblazer Award. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Victory Fund on Friday honored an openly gay Guatemalan congressman who has faced death threats because of his efforts to fight corruption in his country.

Dávila — a member of the Winaq movement, a leftist party founded by Rigoberta Menchú, an indigenous human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner — in 2019 became the first openly gay man elected to Guatemala’s congress. Dávila, who also lives with HIV, had previously been the executive director of Asociación Gente Positiva, a Guatemala City-based HIV/AIDS service organization.

Supporters of President Alejandro Giammattei have lodged several formal complaints against Dávila after he publicly criticized the government over corruption, its response to the pandemic and other issues.

Three men on April 19 approached Dávila’s vehicle near Guatemala’s National Library and tried to rob him. One of Dávila’s bodyguards shot one of the men, but the two other assailants fled the scene before police officers and passersby arrived.

Dávila told the Washington Blade in September during an interview at a Guatemala City hotel that he and his partner installed cameras in their apartment after someone killed their dog.

Two female police officers who arrived at the hotel with Dávila sat in the lobby while he spoke with the Blade. The government a few weeks later reduced his security detail.

“Guatemala is living through the worst democratic crisis in the last 40 years,” said Dávila after he accepted the Victory Fund’s Global Trailblazer Award at its 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference that is taking place in-person at the JW Marriott in downtown D.C. “Guatemala right now is being paralyzed by corruption and impunity and my voice is uncomfortable because of this.”

Dávila became emotional at the end of his remarks.

“I will keep fighting for our rights,” he said.

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Openly gay man elected to Honduran congress

Víctor Grajeda will serve as Congresswoman-elect Silvia Ayala’s substitute



Victor Grajeda (Foto cortesía de Víctor Grajeda)

An openly gay man in Honduras made history on Sunday when he won a seat in the country’s Congress.

Grajeda will serve alongside Congresswoman-elect Silvia Ayala of the leftist Free Party (Partido Libre), who represents Cortés department in which the city of San Pedro Sula is located, as her substitute.

Reportar sin Miedo, the Washington Blade’s media partner in Honduras, and Agencia Presentes, reported Grajeda received more than 100,000 votes. Grajeda is one of five openly LGBTQ candidates who ran for Congress.

“I am looking to open spaces and eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity,” said Grajeda.

Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura, a member of outgoing President Juan Orlando Hernández’s ruling National Party (Partido Nacional), on Tuesday conceded defeat to President-elect Xiomara Castro of the Free Party.

Castro’s husband, former President Manuel Zelaya, was ousted from power in a 2009 coup.

Activists with whom the Blade has spoken say LGBTQ Hondurans continue to flee the country and migrate to the U.S. in order to escape rampant violence and discrimination and a lack of employment and educational opportunities. Castro, among other things, has publicly endorsed marriage rights for same-sex couples in Honduras.

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Canadian government introduces bill to ban conversion therapy

Prime minister says discredited practice as ‘discriminatory and degrading’



health disparities, gay news, Washington Blade
(Public domain photo)

The Canadian government on Monday introduced a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

The bill that Attorney General David Lametti and Women and Gender Equality and Youth Minister Marci Ien introduced would amend Canada’s Criminal Code to specifically ban:

  • Causing another person to undergo conversion therapy
  • Removing a minor from Canada to subject them to conversion therapy abroad
  • Profiting from providing conversion therapy
  • Advertising or promoting conversion therapy

A press release the Canadian government issued said the bill would allow courts “to order the seizure of conversion therapy advertisements or to order their removal from computer systems or the internet.”

“The pain and trauma caused by conversion therapy practices continue to have a devastating impact on LGBTQ2 communities across Canada,” said Ien. “Our government is focused on promoting equality rights and tackling discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit people. Criminalizing this practice upholds basic human rights, while also ensuring that every Canadian is free to live their authentic lives.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a tweet said conversion therapy “is discriminatory and degrading, and has had devastating impacts on LGBTQ2 Canadians.”

“It has no place in our country,” he said.

Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, who previously advised Trudeau on LGBTQ issues, also applauded the bill’s introduction.

“Conversion ‘therapy’ is akin to torture,” said Boissonnault. “I encourage all of my colleagues in the House (of Commons), to support this bill that will move to criminalize conversion therapy in Canada once and for all.”

Trudeau, who won re-election in September, has previously called for a prohibition of the widely discredited practice. The Canadian Senate earlier this year tabled a separate conversion therapy ban bill.

The House of Commons on Wednesday unanimously approved the recently introduced bill. It now goes to the Senate.

Canada would join Malta and a handful of countries that ban conversion therapy.

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