Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Embrace Homosexuality

It is 1986. My friend’s bedroom wall is covered with posters of “Wham”. She has two hamsters in a glass cage. She burns candles that release a soft vanilla smell. Her blue eyes shine bright while she talks passionately. I love how she laughs. Her purple soft wooly sweater looks so good on her. She wears blue eyeliner and pink lipstick. She always smells good. We drink tea, listen to music and discuss the guys we like. When we get tired, we dive into our pajamas and go to bed.

We had a wonderful friendship. We went ice-skating together. I was invited by her parents to travel on their boat. We discussed our dreams, our frustrations, our exploring interests in guys. At the end of that school year, she graduated to the next class. I, who had refused to work hard while “everyone in the family was screwing up”, had to retake the same class. With us in different classes our friendship fell apart. She made new friends, I made new friends, and we both went our separate ways.

For a long time I missed her. But I grew over her. We lost touch. Years later, while I was at college, we met one more time. It was nice to see her. She looked good. She was in a relationship too. We talked a bit and she left. I liked to see her, but wondered about what happened, something seemed to be missing. At a certain point I realized that I had been in love with her during my earlier teens. A deep comfortable warm feeling that made me want to be with her, spend my time with her, do my best for her...

My intimate relationships have always been with men, while I know that I love both sides. I do relationships one person at the time, and do not look around while I am in a relationship. Just the fact that when I was free there was not a woman around that I was attracted to, and that a man showed up I was attracted to, made me be married today to a guy! My husband is a very terrific, wonderful guy and person. If he would have been a woman, I would have been just as interested.

This morning I found an Avaaz email alert that told me about the Law that Uganda government wants to put in place. In this new law gay Uganda people can be given the death penalty for homosexuality. I am a member of Avaaz. This organization opens my eyes to places where I can support local people to create a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

I signed their petition today in the hope they can stop this bill from happening. I want to ask you to consider signing Avaaz petition below.

Love,

Iris

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Dear friends,

In 48 hours, the Ugandan Parliament may vote on a brutal new law that carries the death penalty for homosexuality. Thousands of Ugandans could face execution -- just for being gay.

We've helped stop this bill before, and we can do it again. After a massive global outcry last year, Ugandan President Museveni blocked the bill's progress. But political unrest is mounting in Uganda, and religious extremists in Parliament are hoping confusion and violence in the streets will distract the international community from a second push to pass this hate-filled law. We can show them that the world is still watching. If we block the vote for two more days until Parliament closes, the bill will expire forever.

We have no time to lose. Almost half a million of us have already joined the call -- let’s get to one million voices against Uganda's gay death penalty in the next 48 hours -- click here to take action, then forward this email to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_stop_homophobia_petition

Being gay in Uganda is already dangerous and terrifying. They are regularly harassed and beaten, and just months ago, gay rights activist, David Kato (pictured above), was brutally murdered in his own home. Now LGBT Ugandans are threatened by this draconian law which imposes life imprisonment for people convicted of same-sex relations and the death penalty for “serial offenders”. Even NGOs working to prevent the spread of HIV can be imprisoned for “promoting homosexuality” under this hate-filled law.

Right now, Uganda is in political turmoil -- in the wake of the Arab spring, people across the country are taking to the streets, protesting high food and gas prices. President Museveni has responded by violently cracking down on the opposition. This upheaval has provided religious extremists in Parliament the perfect chance to slip in the shelved anti-gay bill just days before Parliament closes and all proposed laws are wiped from the books.

President Museveni backed away from this bill last year after international pressure threatened Uganda's aid and support. With violent protests sweeping the streets, his government is more vulnerable than ever. Let's build a million strong petition to stop the gay death penalty bill again and save lives. We only have 48 hours -- sign below, then tell friends and family:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_stop_homophobia_petition

Earlier this year, we stood in solidarity with Uganda's equality movement to show that every human life, no matter what creed, nationality or sexual orientation, is equally precious. Our international petition condemning the gay death penalty law was delivered to Parliament – spurring a global news story and enough pressure to block the bill for months. When a tabloid newspaper published 100 names, pictures and addresses, of suspected gays and those identified were threatened, Avaaz supported a legal case against the paper and we won! Together we have stood up, time and time again, for Uganda’s gay community -- now they need us more than ever.

With hope and determination,

Emma, Iain, Alice, Morgan, Brianna and the rest of the Avaaz team


SOURCES:

Ugandan lawmakers hold hearings on anti-gay bill
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article

Uganda gay activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera hailed
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13278374

Pulling Out All the Stops to Push an Antigay Bill
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/14/world/africa/14uganda.html

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