LGBT Leaders From Some Homophobic Nations Write Letter To President Obama

obama-equalityGay rights leaders in some of the most antigay countries around the world have joined in writing a letter to President Obama asking him to be more consistent in how he deals with homophobia as a humanitarian world issue.

Kenya’s Eric Gitari and The Gambia’s Pasamba Jow are among those urging the president to take a similar approach as he has in Ugandan politics, where he restricted the bilateral relations of the US and Uganda based on the latter’s anti-homosexual legislation.

‘Mr. President, we ask that the United States make clear, even now, that steps will be taken to respond, without fail, in any country where governments attack us and deny our rights,” they write.

Below is the full letter:

Dear Mr. President:

We are not citizens of your country. We write to you, with respect, because we appreciate your unprecedented public support for the fundamental human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals globally, and because we know that your country’s actions carry great consequence in today’s world.

You have promised that the United States will stand with LGBT people in seeking fairness and equality in all of our countries. Many of us can speak to the positive efforts of U.S. embassies in our countries that have given local impact to that promise.

But if the promise of equal and fair treatment is to be realized, United States policy must be consistent and clear. We ask that it be made so. When Uganda passed a new law threatening the safety, rights and well-being of its LGBT citizens, the U.S. responded clearly. We believe the steps that you took – to deny visas to those responsible for that law, examine how the law might impact U.S. programs, and ensure that no area of your country’s bilateral relationship was immune to a suitable response – have had a positive impact on Uganda’s actions.

But no such actions have been taken toward Nigeria, where a similar law was also recently adopted and is now in effect. No action has been taken toward Brunei, or The Gambia, or Kyrgyzstan, or India, which have all recently increased or re-introduced harsh criminal penalties against LGBT citizens. Not that the response to those counties needs to be identical to the steps taken in Uganda, but surely some clear response is needed. How can we trust otherwise that the United States will, indeed, stand with us as we fight for our rights?

Mr. President, we ask that the United States make clear, even now, that steps will be taken to respond, without fail, in any country where governments attack us and deny our rights. We believe that such a policy, clearly enunciated and triggered when dangerous new laws or discriminatory national programs are enacted and purposefully deployed against us, would deter the leaders of our countries from pursuing shameful national agendas that seek to deny the rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.

We ask that you stand with us in this struggle, not only for our sake, but also for yours. The better world we seek, and that we believe in, will benefit all of us through increased democracy, security and prosperity, and that vision cannot be achieved without a consistent partnership with the United States. Your leadership now will be viewed by history as an enduring legacy of your Administration.

16 thoughts on “LGBT Leaders From Some Homophobic Nations Write Letter To President Obama

  1. This does not get my vote.

    Change will come but we have to patient. The ignorance on the continent is out of this world and it’ll take time for attitudinal change to occur; blackmail (such as this) can only go so far. Plus, people are easily hostile to any change that comes from the outside; they’ll feel unduly influenced (“The West is trying to sell homosexuality to us” blah blah blah)

    This is a battle we have to do on our own, without grovelling before America who has her own issues to deal with. The West doesn’t have to help us solve our problems all the time!

  2. Blackmail can only go so far.
    I believe the change we need should come from within the country. I understand no one wants to die or go to prison, but no revolution can happen without that kind of sacrifice. We were born and bred in fear, that’s why most of us are afraid to speak up or stand up for our rights.
    We need to be more fearless, refuse to cave to the “marriage request” of our families and make our voice heard. Shun those homophobic friends and put those homophobic colleagues in their place.
    This isn’t the time for being wimpy or scared, else you’ll leave out your entire life in agony, regretting why you didn’t do anything to make a difference. The time is now. It starts with your family.

    No one hands you anything on a golden platter, especially freedom, you gotta take it by force!
    Go and read your history books and learn from it. Change cannot come when our brothers are still tormented daily with self guilt and internalized homophobia. When they’re frail and weak @ heart.
    Change comes when we put aside our petty greiviances and unite as one. You’ll never be able to break a stack of broomsticks tied together, but one or two of them is easy to break when isolated..

    • Change does come from within.
      That is why I laud Bisi Alimi and Kenny Badmus. Known faces of the Nigerian society who stepped out to give LGBT a face. You know, to tell this country that we exist. That is how the West continually breaks their anti homosexuality barriers…by having celebrities who come out time and time again.
      I know it’s an unbelievable feat for celebrities to come out in Africa. It can only fetch nothing but disgrace to them. But at the end of the day, change doesn’t come easy.

    • Max boo,i was gonna applaud ur moving essay, but then I remembered ur million dolla question in the post regarding the publication of “Bombastic” magazine (uganda’s 1st gay magazine) and I quote “who is gonna be the face of Nigeria?” All that change is gonna come from within load of crap is not flying today. U and I are scared like no tomorrow to move a muscle which is ok to admit. But to say one thing to day and sing me a heart stopping ballad the next day? Now that’s called flip flopping #sticktothetruth

      • honey, I aint changing my stance. If you understood what I wrote above, I’m saying we should stop being scared. No help will come from anywhere because we’ve been relaxing and have come to accept our fate here. Every other country fought for their own emancipation, Uganda is doing its own now. We cant just sit back and wait to be saved. Its never going to happen.
        if you’re familiar with the music- “the rains of castamere”;

        “And who are you the proud lord said, that I must bow so low
        Only a cattle of a different coat, that’s all the truth I know
        A coat of gold or coat of red, a lion still has claws
        and mine are long and sharp my lord, as long and sharp as yours”

        If your’e also familiar with Sarah Bareilles’ Brave:
        “Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
        fallen for the fear and done some dispperaing, bowed down to the mighty
        Dont run, stop holding your tongue”

        Change will come only when we decide here in this country that we’re not comfortable anymore. Obama isnt going to save us.

  3. I can’t explain how infuriated i get when people make such assumptions that Homosexuality is a western thing. Change will come that is after lots of enlightenment and education.

  4. We should take the fight to the Clergy really, cus they are the ones leading this homophobic stunts ….. I will write a story lata on how I confronted the Principal of a School during the Christmas party … I went to pick my junior brother from a Catholic School (boarding) at the same ceremony, 5 SS2 boys were expelled for homosexuality engagements.. Just this december…. It turned to a verbal lash btw the schools mgt, Me, Other Parents and the victim’s Parents, at the end they weren’t expelled again.

  5. The US gains a lot from naija so they would never place a sanction on Nigeria even till d next 50yrs. Our change has to start from within us.

  6. Let me just say this: as we march to the polls next month let us all remember who engineered and passed the antigay law. You may not be bold enough to carry placard to fight for your rights as a gay person but the 2015 election is a chance to show you wont support small minded incompetent bigots.

    This is the time to speak and speak loudedly wit ur votes.

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