The front page of Uganda’s Rolling Stone newspaper (not to be confused with the American Rolling Stone magazine) broadcast a list of the African nation’s so-called “Top 100 Homos” accompanied by a side graphic reading, “Hang Them.” The feature, released Oct 9, included photos of the men it targeted, along with their names and addresses.
Ugandan LGBT advocates report that since the periodical hit newsstands, at least four gay Ugandans have been attacked and countless others have gone into hiding.
The paper published the unconscionable headline and story five days prior to the one-year anniversary of the introduction of legislation that would punish some Ugandans accused of “homosexual acts” by death and others by life imprisonment. The legislation was drafted soon after leaders of some socially conservative Christian ministries visited Uganda to promote so-called “ex-gay” reparative therapy—a practice widely shunned by experts as harmful and grossly misleading. The controversial bill churned up international outrage and was shelved, but many gay Ugandans say they have suffered violence and harassment since its proposal.
“Before the introduction of the bill in parliament most people did not mind about our activities. But since then, we are harassed by many people who hate homosexuality,” Patrick Ndede, who lives in Uganda, told the AP. “The publicity the bill got made many people come to know about us and they started mistreating us.”
The Associated Press reports, “After the newspaper hit the streets, the government Media Council ordered the newspaper to cease publishing — not because of the newspaper’s content, but rather that the newspaper had not registered with the government. After it completes the paperwork, Rolling Stone will be free to publish again, said Paul Mukasa, secretary of the Media Council.”
The paper’s article went futher to make unsubstantiated claims that a mysterious, often-fatal disease is plaguing Uganda’s gay population and gay people were “recruiting” children in schools.