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A Ugandan gay activist who wrote a New York Times op-ed piece in December, speaking out against homophobia in his country enforced by the government and the police, has received threats and says he fears for his life, afraid to even go shopping alone or eat in a restaurant for fear of being poisoned.
"Just two days ago there was a very big piece of news about me," said Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, in an interview by phone from Kampala on my radio program on SiriusXM OutQ yesterday, referring to an article he says was written in a local newspaper, attacking him for writing the New York Times op-ed.
"It said that everything we are saying is not true. That we are just trying to get sympathy in the Western world. They put my picture in the newspaper with all these hate words and of course I got a lot of bad emails, bad phones, a lot of harassment against me."
[Edited to add: This article in the Daily Monitor is the one Mugisha is referring to. It accused gay activists of producing the Red Pepper tabloid newspaper, which 'outed' people and called for them to be hanged, in order to elicit international sympathy and attention. The tabloid's reports were eventually outlawed by a Ugandan court. Melanie Nathan spoke with Giles Muhame, publisher of Rolling Stone, who ridiculed the suggestion in the Monitor article.]
Mugisha, who in November received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award at a ceremony in Washington, had written in the Times back on December 22 about the conditions for LGBT people in in his country, which came under international criticism beginning in 2009 for its consideration of what had come to be known as the "kill the gays" bill, a law that if enacted would make homosexuality punishable by death or life imprisonment.
The bill was shelved in May of 2011, but Mugisha wrote that it could be introduced again at any time.
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