In March 2014, the vindictive, incendiary Ugandan tabloid “Red Pepper” published the details of 200 people it deemed to be “homosexual,” in what appeared to be a gleeful celebration of the recently passed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As a commissioning editor for a long-standing UK leftist magazine also named Red Pepper, I wanted to take the opportunity of a spike in website visits to post an article, co-authored by Prossy Kakooza, on the topic. We are responding to the AHA and the international outcry it prompted, and posing a reality check to the British government that they need to back up their condemnation of Ugandan law with action at home: Life in the UK for those LGBTQ people who have fled persecution overseas is far from comfortable.
Click ‘More’ below for the Red Pepper (UK) statement on Red Pepper Uganda.
Statement on Red Pepper Uganda
Red Pepper (UK) is a proudly pro-LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) publication. We are in no way connected to, or affiliated with the Ugandan newspaper which shares our name. We are horrified over their activities, just as we are despairing of the political and religious leaders in Uganda who have backed the 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act. New laws persecuting homosexuality – such as those in Nigeria, India, Russia to name but three – are not products of debate over culture, science, or sexual morality. They are designed to scapegoat minority, already marginalised populations and distract attention from corruption, cronyism, rampant social inequality and exploitation of the poor at the hands of the wealthy and powerful.
We at Red Pepper believe that everyone – regardless of their sexual or gender orientation and identity – has the right to live free from fear and harm.
We condemn Red Pepper Uganda for repeatedly publishing the names of people their editors have decided are homosexual. This is not ‘journalism.’ To name, shame, and seek to bring harm to members of society are actions simply designed to fuel hate, and sell papers. Red Pepper Uganda are promoting, endorsing and celebrating violence against people who have done nothing that calls for censure. It is a sickening move.
We support the activists and advocates opposing the Anti-Homosexuality Act both on the ground in Uganda and from safe havens overseas, and join calls for the Ugandan parliament to reconsider their decision. We likewise support LGBTQ rights activists the world over, who are seeking the right to live and love as they choose, free from state-sponsored persecutions and social stigmatisation.