Lesbian refugee bashed for being gay faces deportation back to Uganda


uganda pride parade lesbian homophobic violence
Photo: Sexual Minorities Uganda

A lesbian seeking asylum in the US after being bashed over her sexuality in Uganda may be deported back there by the Trump Administration.

The lesbian woman has told Rolling Stone about the violence she faced in her home country and her efforts to seek asylum in the US.

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The woman said she knew she was gay from age 13, but learned not to speak about it after her mother said she was a “disgrace”.

Both male and female same-sex activity is illegal in Uganda, and the LGBTIQ community say they face horrific violence.

The woman – referred to as “Margaret” – told the publication she had forced to drop out of university after rumours spread that she was gay.

Margaret also attended an inclusive Nyege Nyege music festival in Uganda last year. But as she was leaving, she was dragged off the road by the thugs who blindfolded, beat and raped her and left her to die, badly bleeding.

She said her attackers made it clear she had been targeted because of her sexuality.

The woman fled Uganda after police arrived at a house party where LGBTIQ people were in attendance and arrested her friends.

She travelled to Mexico and told immigration officials she wanted to seek asylum in the US. She was able to cross the US border.

But officials allegedly told her she had no “credible fear” of persecution or any way of knowing she would be in danger back in Uganda. Margaret is now in a detention centre until she appeals the decision.

“I pray that everything works out,” Margaret told Rolling Stone.

“Because it has been so tough. Ever since I was 13, I just wanted to be free, instead of hiding who I am. I just want to be free and happy, that’s all.”

Rise in violence after MPs support gay death penalty

On October 10, Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister Simon Lokodo said the government was planning to reintroduce its so-called “Kill the Gays” bill.

Lokodo said the bill would introduce the death penalty for gay people, as well as ban “promotion” of homosexuality.

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However, a spokesperson for president Yoweri Museveni later backtracked, saying the current law punishing gay sex with jail.

But LGBTIQ activists in Ugandareport a rise in homophobic attacks since the minister’s remarks.

Sexual Minorities Uganda said 16 LGBTIQ activists were taken into police custody on Monday after a homophobic mob surrounded their office.

“What we are seeing recently – these continuous attacks over such a short space of time – is not normal,” the group’s executive director Frank Mugisha told Reuters.

“We know that they are all hate crimes as attackers made anti-gay comments.

“We cannot make a direct link between the minister’s statement and the attacks. But such remarks clearly help to stoke homophobic sentiments and hate crimes.”

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