Posts

If It's Hard to Picture Legal Anti-Gay Witchunts, Watch This Movie About Cameroon

The Blog Logo

John-Manuel Andriote

16/12/2015

 

African American in Prison

African American in Prison

 

Picture this: A neighbor decides he doesn’t like your hairstyle. He figures it’s cut in a way that must mean you are gay. He calls the police. You are arrested for violating the law that criminalizes homosexuality.

You’re rushed through a court packed with anti-gay religious zealots, shouting insults, demanding conviction. You are convicted and now face five years in prison.

And that’s only the beginning. What you face inside makes life outside of prison look like a cake walk.

Is it only a bad dream?

Unfortunately it’s real life for gay men and lesbians in Cameroon. The French-speaking country on Africa’s west coast has managed to avoid the bad publicity that has greeted Nigeria and Uganda’s harsh treatment of their gay and lesbian citizens, perhaps because it possesses nothing coveted by the West — such as oil, as does next-door Nigeria. Cameroon has been arresting, imprisoning and ruining the lives of gay men and lesbians with impunity. It’s one of the world’s 79 countries that criminalize homosexuality.

A 2015 report from the International Federation for Human Rights concludes that Cameroon’s government, the police and judiciary are all “accomplices in arbitrary arrests and ignoring complaints against the perpetrators of violations of the rights of the defenders of LGBTI persons’ rights.” To ensure maximum repression, the government can even arrest, convict and imprison someone simply for standing up publicly for a gay friend — even if that person isn’t gay.

The report notes that any person can be targeted, “whether a lawyer, activist, academic, intellectual, religious leader, trade unionist, journalist, community leader, public officer or a member of an NGO or an association” for peacefully protesting against violations of the rights of LGBTI persons. “Their actions are criminalized and their freedom of speech, association and assembly impeded.”

If it’s hard to picture such blatant, legalized anti-gay witchunting and its impact on your life as you go about your business in Cameroon, I urge you to watch an exceptional film called Born This Way. The documentary follows Cedric, a young gay man determined to stay in his home even as his neighbors threaten to kill him, and Gertrude, a young lesbian struggling to come out to the nun who, she says, is more like a mother to her than her actual mother.

For his part, Cedric doesn’t want to come out to his mother. “My mother is everything to me,” he says. “But telling her I’m gay would be a shock for her.” He explains that “family is everything” and he is not willing to risk losing his family’s affection.

Gertrude works at Alternatives Cameroon, a human rights center that offers counseling, legal counseling for men and women incarcerated for homosexuality and even HIV prevention and testing. The organization’s important role in the local LGBTI community is an example of how HIV/AIDS programs in developing countries frequently also serve as vital resources for political and social organizing.

All of us who have struggled to come out to a parent or other revered figure in our lives will see ourselves in the look of dread on Gertrude’s face as she is about to come out to the Mother Superior she adores, the stumbling effort to share her truth and the palpable relief after she does so. Those of us fortunate to have found a loving response, rather than rejection, will share Gertrude’s relief when the nun responds, “It’s something so profound, so personal and it’s often difficult to take on. But when you’re like that, you’re like that. So it’s something you take on. Now how will you live it? That’s your responsibility. Understand?”

“The affection she had for me is still there,” says Gertrude. “I won’t forget that. She took time to understand me. That takes love.”

The film — winner of a number of awards including the 2013 Outfest (Los Angeles) Grand Jury Documentary — also highlights the brave work of Cameroonian human rights lawyer Alice Nkom, based in Douala, one of the few lawyers in the country willing to represent men and women accused of homosexual conduct.

The most dramatic moments in Born This Way come by way of a hidden camera brought into a packed courtroom where Ms. Nkom is representing two women, Esther and Pascaline, arrested for being lesbians. The women lost their jobs and had to move. Ms. Nkom argued the judge should throw out the case because Article 347 of the Penal Code, the law used to persecute and prosecute gay and lesbian people, is invalid as it is contrary to Cameroon’s constitution. The judge rejected Ms. Nkom’s argument, convicted and sentenced the two women to five years in prison. While the women await their appeal to the country’s supreme court, they have become outspoken LGBT activists in Cameroon.

Cedric and Gertrude’s stories have happier outcomes, as both of them ultimately receive asylum and relocate to the United States. “I’m very happy to be here,” says Cedric. “It’s a big relief to be rid of those people.”

Over footage showing her receiving communion from the Mother Superior, Gertrude says, “Before, if I’d go by a Catholic church, I’d just go in and cry and cry. I still cry, but not like before.”

The bright smiles, happy dancing and joyful music shared by men and women at an Alternatives Cameroon gathering will be familiar to anyone who has attended an LGBT Pride event. But so will the stories, like Cedric’s and Gertrude’s, and the private fears and tears behind the smiling, dancing and joy.

 

 

Horror film highlights anti-gay problem in Russia

PYOTR495

 

PYOTR495 needs your help

Introducing PYOTR495, a new genre of horror produced and directed by Toronto based filmmaker Blake Mawson. The short film uses horror techniques to shine knowledge on Russia’s LGBT Propaganda Law and the struggles gay people face every day.

Scored by Berlin techno producer, Konrad Black, the film follows gay 16 year-old Pyotr being baited by an anti-gay ultranationalist group, known for their violent abductions and attacks. Though it has hinted there may be supernatural twists, everything is on the hush as Mawson finalises the film.

PYOTR496 is relying on community support and has currently raised just under $1,500 in a online crowd funding campaign, but still needs help to raise the needed funds for release.

On the funding page, Mawson adds how the film “speaks to anyone who has ever been victimised or discriminated against for being different and to make a statement about the dangerous trend of fear-mongering and inciting hatred in our society.

He added: ”After all – what’s most terrifying? Some blood and gore? Or the hatred and lack of acceptance in our society in 2015?”

Donators have been promised gratitude for their financial support, from shoutouts on Twitter to cast member’s clothing seen in the film.

Check out the trailer below and stay up to date with the production on Twitter.

PYOTR495 – Trailer – Indiegogo from DRIVE-IN/KEEP OUT Productions on Vimeo.

Words Dean Eastmond, @deanvictorr

Election 'Fever'

Susan Anne White Independent CandidateWhen we heard that Ms Susan-Anne White was standing as an independent candidate standing for MP in Northern Ireland and has apparently  said she would criminalise adultery and homosexuality, according to a leaflet posted online; we had to take a look at her campaign.

 

Her manifesto,

For NIGRA what is interesting is that May 2014 Ms White, a Trillick woman,  stood as a candidate for the Omagh area.  At this time we had tried to find out more about Ms White, and were able to come across the a document intorducting the Society and Family Enterprise Party (SAFE) which she stated she belonged to, we again reprint this for your education:

Introducing the

SOCIETY AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE PARTY (S-A-F-E)

Preliminary Policy proposals

Based upon a radical return to the Judeo-Christian heritage of Western civilization, the alarming moral, social and political crises of our times demand the vision and values of this new party.

Believing that the basic unit of society is the family, at the heart of the SAFEagenda is the reaffirmation of properly-defined marriage and family cohesion. Domestic disintegration is the main cause of our social and political decline. A return to well-established parenting is imperative. The recovery and rectification of fatherhood and motherhood roles is essential to disciplined, happy and well-adjusted child-rearing. The tax system should favour families.

THE TEN INTENTIONS

We need to be:

SAFE from growing homosexual militancy (Section 28 being restored).

SAFE from the Darwinian-driven ‘pc’ educational agenda (and inappropriate sex instruction).

SAFE from the neo-fascist and resource-draining EU (impacting our military and other capabilities).

SAFE from the islamification of our culture (with state-assisted emigration of Muslims).

SAFE from every category of criminality (political and corporate, major and petty).

SAFE from decadent priests in apostate churches (Roman Catholic, Anglican and others).

SAFE from over-sexualised and over-violent entertainment (with internet regulation).

SAFE from unethical economics (principled investment, with just pricing and honest labelling).

SAFE from corrupt career politicians (especially those pursuing a ‘gay’ agenda).

SAFE from anti-democratic ‘left’ and ‘right’ extremism (with liberty for peaceable minorities).

This SAFE proposal is floated for your interest.

Dr Alan C. Clifford (a Pastor of the Reformed Faith, with no personal political ambitions, simply a desire to motivate others who might have a patriotic conscience and a concern to do good in these evil days).

‘There shall be showers of blessing…They shall be SAFE in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them’ (Ezekiel 34: 26-7).

‘Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the LORD. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is SAFE’(Philippians 3: 1).

Link: https://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/new-patriotic-politics-introducing-the-safe-party/

As we have said before, before you vote make certain you know what the candidate stands for, and vote carefully, we may have them in power for 5 years ruling our lives!

OUTRAGE AT UK VISIT BY UGANDAN ANTI-GAY PENTECOSTAL REVEREND

Reprinted from O-blog-dee-o-blog-da Blog

Simon preacher Ugandan banPlease sign the Petition below

By Melanie Nathan, March 18, 2015

A Pentecostal reverend, a major anti-gay protagonist, who called homosexuals evil, is set to speak at St James Church, Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire, in the United Kingdom and activists are outraged.

The controversial preacher, Rev. Simon Peter Emiau,  General Superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) in Uganda,  was a critical partner to the American homophobic Evangelical preachers such as Lou Engle and Scott Lively who led the anti-gay crusade in Uganda,  and now he will be speaking in the United Kingdom at St James Church on the 23 March 2015.

In 2001, Emiau complained of homosexuals  “invading Mbale District.” “Our cities have become like the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah. There is a lot of immorality and homosexuals increasing in number even in our town, Mbale,” he said.

He encouraged  the Ugandan government and the people to fight the ‘vice’ before it was too late to control. And what followed his rhetoric was an escalation of anti-LGBT persecution, culminating in the call for the Kill The Gays Bill, its eventual passage, its invalidation and now further calls for the return of a similar Bill in the Uganda Legislature.

The crusade in which Emiau has participated caused incalculable damage and persecution, not only for Uganda’s gays, but also others around Africa, giving credence to the USA preachers who spewed the hate in the name of their brand of Christianity.

It is believed that Rev Emiau, with his Co preachers, did a lot of campaigning and lobbying to the president and MP’s as well as campaigning on radio and in church to actively lobby for the anti-gay law, which it is believed he continues to do at this time..

On 24 February 2014, President Museveni signed the AHA bill into law, toughening penalties for gay people.  It included life sentences for gay sex and same-sex marriage.

Soon after the Bill was signed Rev Simon Peter Emiau, Pastor Ssempa and other religious leaders held a rally in Uganda cheering the new law and exalting the lawmakers and President Museveni who ensured its full enactment. Thirty thousand people attended the rally, all supporters of this brand of Christianity.

While speaking at the event, Rev Simon Peter Emiau, representing three organizations of evangelical churches, compared Museveni’s stand for the Anti-Homosexuality Act to his “courage” in overthrowing the regimes that preceded him in power. “Your excellency demonstrated yet courage by signing this bill,” Emiau said.

And Quoting David Bahati (the Lawmaker who Sponsored the bill):

“Today, we come here again [to celebrate] sovereignty and freedom … [and] to take charge of our destiny. ~ Bahati.”

Rev. Simon Peter Emiau is fully aware that his actions have caused countless LGBTI people to go underground or into exile to escape the brutal persecution engendered by the call for such legislation and its ultimate passage. He is also aware that he has caused direct harm to health services needed for LGBTI people due to immobilized NGO’s and human rights defenders. This horrifying impact hurts all Ugandans.

Commenting on Rev. Simon Peter’s invitation to preach at St James Church in the UK, a gay man from Uganda Isaac Kawesi noted:

“This is totally an insult to the LGBTI community. I left Uganda because of people like Rev. Simon Peter who made my life a living hell. We will do whatever it takes to stop this man from preaching in England and if our effort fails, we are ready to hold a demo to show him and St James Church how unhappy we are”.

Rev. Simon Emiau, should be prevented from entering any Western Country that subscribes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, least of all be given platform in a country which expounds equality and basic human rights for LGBT people. The United Kingdom sees many asylum seekers seeking refuge from Ugandan because of this man and the harm he has caused. Ban him now!

SIGN PETITION TO INDICATE YOUR OUTRAGE HERE.

Simon preacher Ugandan ban

Uganda – President Museveni Signs Anti-Gay Bill into Law

“All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to do nothing…”  Edmund Burke

Rocco DiGrazia, an Arizonia Pizzareia owner, said:

“… any expansion of discrimination is gonna hurt everybody and open the doors for more,”

As a society we have fought wars against oppression and bigotry, and also against bullies, we must stand up and let it be known that homophobia is not acceptable in todays societies – even more so when it is government sponsored.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/arizona-pizzeria-amazing-response-state-anti-gay-bill-article-1.1698524#ixzz2uGtpvRSZ

 

UGANDA: PRESIDENT MUSEVENI SIGNS ANTI-GAY BILL 
Amnesty condemns the rise of homophobia across Africa
Spokespeople available for comment 
President Museveni has just signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. Amnesty International condemns this as a dangerous and draconian piece of legislation
Gemma Houldey, Amnesty International’s Uganda Researcher said:
“This deeply offensive piece of legislation is an affront to the human rights of all Ugandans.

“This legislation will institutionalise hatred and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Uganda. Its passage into law signals a very grave episode in the nation’s history.”

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill will further criminalise consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex, with some offences carrying life imprisonment. It also includes offences such as ‘promotion of homosexuality’, which will directly impact human rights defenders and healthcare providers. It makes a mockery of the rights enshrined in the Ugandan constitution.”
Uganda has made important progress on human rights in recent years, including criminalising torture, but this Bill is a colossal step backwards.
Notes to editors:
Over 25,000 people in the UK have written to the Ugandan President to veto the anti-gay bill via Amnesty: www.amnesty.org.uk. In 2013 Amnesty documented the rise of homophobia across sub-Saharan Africa in its report Making Love a Crime: Criminalisation of same-sex conduct in sub-Saharan Africa.
ENDS 
Amnesty International UK media information:
Meera Pattni: 020 7033 1548020 7033 1548meera.pattni@amnesty.org.uk
Out of hours: 07721 39898407721 398984www.amnesty.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter: @Newsfromamnesty
Follow our blog: http://blogs.amnesty.org/pressblog
________________________________________