The funeral has been held for David Kato, a Ugandan gay rights campaigner murdered after he sued a local paper which outed him as homosexual.
Uganda’s Rolling Stone newspaper published the photographs of several people it said were gay, including Mr Kato, with the headline “Hang Them”.
According to the Daily Mail’s report on the murder of the gay rights activist, homosexuality is deeply unpopular in many African nations, where some see it as a Western import. It is illegal in 37 countries on the continent and few Africans are openly gay, fearing imprisonment, violence and loss of jobs
Meanwhile, a Guardian Report on Gay Rights in Africa states:
“Here in Britain, it is only relatively recently that we have moved from repression to acceptance, and it took 38 years from the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, through the Thatcher government’s Section 28, to arrive at civil partnerships 38 years later. Africa, now, is going through the same process we went through. Increased visibility = increased awareness = increased repression = eventual acceptance?”
While homophobia still exists in the UK attitudes have certainly shifted with Prime Minister, David Cameron, apologizing for his the Conservative’s previous position on homosexuality in 2009.
Our city, Brighton & Hove, prides itself on being one of the most gay-friendly places in the world and our football club, Brighton & Hove Albion, has pioneered the campaign to kick homophobia out of football.
Reflecting on the changing attitudes towards gay men’s rights in the UK over the past few decades may give some hope to gay men in Africa, but for David Kato who bravely stood up and fought for gay rights, change has not happened soon enough.