A (Too) Small Victory for Gay Ugandans

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Oh, man, I am so glad I didn’t wake up this morning to find my face on the cover of a newspaper under a headline that I should be lynched.

Hopefully gay Ugandans will soon enjoy that same relief. Earlier this week, a court in Kampala ruled that the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone (no relation to, you know, Rolling Stone) can no longer publish the photos, names, and addresses of “Top Homos” under the banner “HANG THEM” after three such alleged homos filed suit for pain and mental anguish. (The identity “leaks” also caused several physical attacks last year.) Rolling Stone‘s editor has promised to appeal the ruling. And regardless of whether it stands, gay Ugandans are still subject to serving up to 14 years in prison for trying to steal innocent straight children from schools, or whatever it is gay people do. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill that caused such a stir last year for proposing that homosexuality be punishable by death has been watered down (to life imprisonment) and tabled for the moment. But rumor has it that it’ll be back on the parliament’s agenda after elections in February.

So, one victory but still “a long way to go,” as one Ugandan activist points out: “It is still impossible for LGBT people in Uganda to freely be who they are and develop meaningful lives. The fear for life continues.”

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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