Latest article: On Uganda, homophobia and complex histories

GodLoveUganda-622x349My latest article: Righteous Crusades? Imperialism, homophobia and the danger of simplification in God Loves Uganda. Published on the multi-lingual, interdisciplinary and generally quite excellent new online journal The Postcolonialist.

I wrote this piece in response to the documentary film “God Loves Uganda,” but it can also be read as a more general response to the popular opinion that US Evangelical preachers are the root cause of homophobic attitudes in Uganda. That narrative obscures a much more complex reality and fails to think about how structural and historical oppressions have created such a space in which the “Kill the Gays” Bill can appear in the Ugandan Parliament.

I first saw the documentary at a screening at the ICE in London this summer. At that screening, a British lawyer argued the importance of international political pressure on lawmakers in Uganda to drop their “Kill the Gays Bill,” and cited South Africa as an example of how the law can enshrine and protect LGBT rights, and usher in attitude change in Africa. This provoked a few grumbles from audience members all too aware that his example was pretty far off the mark, and his general attitude depressingly paternalistic. Ugandan activist Prossy Kakooza was unimpressed, and noted that the “homosexuality is unAfrican” / “homophobia is a colonial imposition” debate was not progressive, or useful.

I’m thankful to Prossy for provoking my thoughts, and to everyone else who shared their thoughts with me on this during the writing.

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