Under the Rainbow: U.S. group helps LGBT Ugandans travel from hatred to hope

By : Greg Stemm
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At a time when America and other Western countries have made tremendous strides toward LGBTQ equality – including the right to marry – one country in Africa, Uganda, has taken an entirely different path. It’s a path that has included almost unthinkable persecution, beatings, denial of health care, denial of basic living needs and even death as official, government-sanctioned actions. Shockingly, some of the blame may be laid at the feet of fundamentalist American Christian groups, although now it is people of faith from the United States who are rushing to the aid of beleaguered LGBTQ Ugandans, helping them to escape as refugees to other nations.

This is a story that will probably mortify most Americans. Uganda is a place where people are outted and then completely shunned by their families. Their names are read aloud in shame on the radio. They are fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes. Without access to living space, food or health care, many simply perish. Those that don’t can be subject to state-supported beatings, maiming or even death. The atmosphere of terror extends to the families of LGBTQ people, who can also face persecution. The stories remind one of the days of Jews in Nazi Germany.

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