05/29/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill may have had a positive effect, if for at least one man. Kushaba Moses Mworeko must now be relieved that he is no longer facing eminent return to Uganda where he faces incarceration and possible death through non-governmental violence. Mworeko now has asylum. He arrived in Texas in 2009 for an HIV/AIDS conference, Mworeko knew he would try to stay in the US, and said recently “The letter says I have asylum status indefinitely. After one year, I have to apply for permanent residency.”
He stated that he hopes to one day visit Uganda without danger, but “I love Washington. This is my home. I will go to school. I will get a job and start working. I want to do a master’s of social work with a concentration in mental health and substance abuse. I feel that’s where I can make a difference.”
Coming to the U.S. for an HIV/AIDS conference in Texas, Mworeko knew he would try to stay in America. That determination, aside from prompting his asylum request, brought him to D.C. where he helped Truth Wins Out and the Human Rights Campaign protest the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast. The breakfast organizers, The Fellowship, aka The Family, have reportedly fueled Uganda’s homophobic fires. Initially, the Ugandan parliamentarian who authored the ’’kill the gays’’ bill, David Bahati, had even been invited to the breakfast.
From D.C., Mworeko moved to the San Francisco Bay area to work with another attorney. But with strong indications that his case would reach a successful conclusion, Mworeko returned to D.C. in March.
He is working hard to achieve equality here in the United states as well as in Uganda. He has been working with GetEqual to challenge The Family, the secretive cult-like group to which several politicians including Ugandan MP David Bahati and disgraced Senator John Ensign belong. He is also contributing to the “Venus Plus X” organization’s blog component “Global Sexual Freedom Rights.”
Meanwhile, Mworeko is having an exciting time celebrating his second Capital Pride, and loves how it is possible to celebrate it here saying “The encouragement from these leaders – the congresswoman, the police, all these people – being in the front and leading is awesome.”
There is a concerted effort to keep the pressure on Uganda so that they do not pass the “Kill The Gays” bill in the near future, but the fight in Uganda is a difficult one. While we can certainly encourage our political leaders to make it easier for lesbians, gays and trans people to seek asylum in western nations where being lesbian, gay or transsexual is not a crime, it is going to be a long, hard battle fought on the ground by the people in those nations themselves to get equality as anything coming in from the outside will be seen as an attempt at colonialism.