Brother John has written me a tribute. I am so honoured! Head on over and spread some glitter all around the place!
My daughter wrote a note to herself, not to be opened until her 15th birthday. It was addressed to her future self. She told me she wrote things in it about who she wanted to be when she was 15, her hopes, her fears about growing up, her family and what we were all doing. She said I should do one too, and open it when she opens hers, on her 15th birthday. So I did, but I went one step further, and added a little surprise.
I was talking to my girlfriend today about how sometimes it is hard to be gay. We get a variety of responses when we go out. The usual range is anywhere from a version of “we tolerate all types here” to outright dirty looks. Either way it is not possible to go anywhere without having people stare at us. Yesterday we went grocery shopping. A woman gave us a filthy look. Did we ram her shopping trolley? Nope. Block her view of the tomato paste? Nope. We simply walked by with our trolley. Clearly grocery shopping with someone of the same gender is some kind of sick subversive act that drastically impacted on her ability to do her shopping.
But all of this falls away in comparison to what is happening in Uganda. In Uganda it is a crime to be gay. Activists have fought back against this but have met violent resistance from homophobic mobs and Government. People are being imprisoned, beaten up, even killed. They are in hiding, underground and afraid. The Government is pushing for new, even stricter anti-gay laws that have gay people afraid for their safety and their lives. This is not ok.
I shared this post “Uganda’s anti-gay laws get tougher” on social media yesterday. The video footage embedded there is graphic and difficult to watch but is worth watching. We need to speak out and stand with the people of Uganda. They have as much right to live in freedom and safety as the rest of us. I owe immeasurable gratitude to all the strong men and women who came before me and fought so that I could sit here on the couch with my girlfriend in peace and safety. Yes we cop some filthy looks over a grocery cart, but we are safe and have our rights relatively protected (there is that issue of marriage equality, but hopefully that will be just a matter of time).
Please click this link and head on over to Avaaz.org to sign a petition to help stop these horrible laws that are fueling homophobic violence and carry punishments of lengthy prison terms or even death for anyone found guilty of ‘the crime of homosexuality’, which is being made a crime similar to bestiality. The thought of that makes me feel things I do not have a name for. Stand with us.
To read more about what’s happening in Uganda please head to the BBC News website here.