Did Exodus conference in Uganda unleash anti-gay vigilantism?
According to Box Turtle Bulletin, a three-day anti-gay conference held earlier this year in Uganda, led by three Americans, is responsible for the continuing anti-gay vigilantism in Uganda. The three Americans who allegedly unleashed this wave of anti-gay vigilantism are Exodus board member Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen's International Healing Foundation.
The three Americans who kicked off this latest spasm of anti-gay hostility have really outdone themselves. This whole thing started last March when Exodus board member Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation conducted a three-day anti-gay conference in Uganda. Schmierer was there as the “ex-gay expert.” The result of that conference was the initiation of an anti-gay task force calling for strengthening Uganda’s already draconian anti-homosexuality laws. It also unleashed a wave of anti-gay vigilantism which led to arrests, torture, blackmail and ruined careers. According to Sexual Minorities Uganda, it has also led to several deaths, including the death of Brian Pande at Mbale Hospital as he awaited trial. And it has led to where we are today, with Parliament Wednesday giving first reading to this new proposal to effectively ban all freedoms — even the freedom to exist — for LGBT people and those who would support them and provide safe haven.
While human rights activists around the world have been quick to raise their voices for the defenseless, one might ask where’s Exodus in all this? Early signs indicate that you needn’t bother looking. Exodus Vice President Randy Thomas left a comment on Warren Throckmorton’s blog in which, speaking strictly for himself and not on behalf of Exodus, he condemned the proposed bill. It’s interesting that he can only say this speaking strictly for himself. Would Exodus be willing to say the same thing officially? Will they try to tamp down the wildfire their own board member helped to ignite? Thomas says don’t count on it:
Human rights groups have blasted Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill, which includes a section that would introduce the death penalty for the offence of "aggravated homosexuality." The draft Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced on October 14, 2009 in Uganda's parliament. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill clearly violates the human right to non-discrimination, to be free from violence and harassment, the right to life, the right to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and freedom of movement.
Uganda's Penal Code Article 145a of the Penal Code Act of 1950 already criminalizes "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" – a charge used to prosecute, persecute and blackmail LGBT people with the threat of life imprisonment.
Earlier this year Exodus International was also accused of holding 23 year old American medical student Bryce Faulkner hostage.
Bryce Faulkner, 23, was preparing to come out to deeply religious family when his mother discovered emails to his boyfriend, who lives in Wisconsin.
He was then given an ultimatum of being kicked out on the street or going into ex-gay therapy, a controversial "cure" for homosexuality through prayer.
Debra Faulkner, Bryce's mother, claims "All the stories you've been told are not true." To this author's knowledge, the whereabouts of Bryce remain unknown.
Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda and click here to read The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (ILGHRC) concerns about last year's conference.
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