Exclusive Interview with a Refugee: A Personal Story of Persecution and Dramatic Escape

By : Greg Stemm
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“Jane” is 34 years old and grew up gay in her native Uganda, enveloped by an atmosphere of hatred towards homosexuality. After years of persecution, she was smuggled out of Africa and resettled in Europe where she is making a new life for herself. Watermark is unable to use her real name or the country to which she has relocated. Revealing too much information could place her and those who helped her at risk.

Working together closely with Olympia Quaker Meeting, Watermark was able to secure an exclusive interview with “Jane.” What follows is her story in her own words:

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Gay Ugandan activists hope Pope Francis will speak on their behalf during visit

By : Wire Report
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KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Gay activists are hoping Pope Francis will preach tolerance toward homosexuals, and even go so far as to condemn violent attacks against gays during his upcoming visit to Uganda. Church leaders, however, are praying he’ll avoid the issue altogether.

The divergent expectations underscore the acrimonious state of the gay rights debate on a continent where homosexuality remains taboo and homosexuals are greatly despised. In Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal and where attacks against gays have forced many to seek refuge abroad or lead secret lives at home, gay leaders nevertheless hope Francis when he comes on Friday will weigh in with a firm message of tolerance.

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Ugandan lawmakers draft new anti-gay bill

By : Wire Report
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KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ugandan lawmakers have drafted a new anti-gay bill that could be introduced for debate in the country’s parliament before Christmas, a parliamentarian said Nov. 20.

The new bill is in “advanced stages” and will focus on punishing the promotion of being gay, said Ugandan lawmaker Latif Ssebaggala, a strong supporter of anti-gay legislation.

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Uganda president not rushing reintroduction of anti-gay law

By : Wire Report
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KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A lawmaker with Uganda’s ruling party says President Yoweri Museveni is urging parliamentarians not to rush to reintroduce a controversial anti-gay law that was invalidated earlier this month.

Medard Bitekyerezo, who supports the legislation, said Aug. 12 that Museveni asked them “not to cause chaos” by quickly reintroducing the bill.

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Activists want gay rights on Africa summit agenda

By : Wire Report
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Human rights and gay rights activists on July 29 urged President Barack Obama to ensure that the issue of anti-gay discrimination in Africa is on the agenda at next week’s summit in Washington with more than 40 African leaders.

The Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization, and Human Rights First, which advocates aggressive U.S. stances on human rights issues abroad, issued a statement depicting the summit as a “once-in-a-generation moment” to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Africans.

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Susan Rice: Protecting gays is most difficult issue

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – With anti-gay laws taking root in nearly 80 countries, White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice on June 24 cast the protection of gays from global discrimination, abuse and even death as one of the most challenging international human rights issue facing the United States.

Rice told a White House forum of gay rights advocates that President Barack Obama has directed that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender men and women around the world. She urged religious, human rights and HIV health care advocates to form a united front to halt global discrimination against the gay community.

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Uganda tabloid prints list of ‘top’ homosexuals

By : Wire Report
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Kampala, Uganda A Ugandan newspaper on Feb. 25 published a list of what it called the country’s “200 top” homosexuals, outing some Ugandans who previously had not identified themselves as gay one day after the president enacted a harsh anti-gay law.

Many of those named fear violence, and some want to leave the country, said prominent Ugandan gay activist Pepe Julian Onziema, who was identified in the list.

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