Uncertain Outcome of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Heightens Anxiety

In an unexpected development, the Ugandan 8th Parliament adjourned today without the hotly anticipated vote on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The meeting opened with a prayer and a statement read by the Communication Chair. With no other business taken up, the meeting was adjourned.

Ugandan activist, Peter Yiga told Citydesk he believes, “The bill will defiantly come back since all those guys advocating for it will still be in Parliament.”

Bills that are not passed at the close of the session automatically die and must be re-introduced into the next session if they are to proceed.

Dr. Thomas, an Uganda HIV/AIDS service provider says, “LGBTI Ugandans are still using all means necessary to stop the bill.” Tabling the bill for a second year without it being completely denounced he says, “fuels discrimination and stigma by the State.”

This uncertainty marks one of several twists and turns in the bills two year evolution that began directly following a three-day Kampala seminar in March 2009 lead by American Evangelicals namely Bryan Fischer’s friend Scott Lively.

“The public is very bitter,” said Yiga. “People have resorted to beating and insulting us, telling us to migrate to the USA where homosexuality originated.”

Dr. Thomas says, “There is a dwindling number of LGBQI Ugandans who call for counseling for diseases. The few calls that do come in are of distress and fear. This week I have witnessed three transgender people forced to move from their homes in Kasubi, Namuwongo and Keybando.”

Activists say they are doing a better job at mobilizing but still desperately need international pressure to continue. Dr. Thomas said he needs, “UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS to provide genuine support for LGBTI groups as a measure of anti-HIV campaigns.”

Yiga wants increased international pressure to help keep moral high while enduring hate crimes. “The five people that attacked my house confessed they are bitter about the way Museveni is handling the matter,” said Yiga, “and are planning to kill us one-by-one.”

Swearing in for the 9th Parliament is scheduled to begin May 16 with an announcement on May 18 as to when the next session will begin. Speculation is that the break will be about four weeks.

Boise Federal Court Building Arrest Not So Black and White

Lee Arthur Rice II Mug Shot Boise Police

Lee Arthur Rice II (Photo: Boise Police Dept.)

Lee Arthur Rice II, a 58-year-old African American man, claims he is a victim of police brutality during his arrest in front of the Boise Federal Court Building on Wednesday May 4.

Rice first got the attention of As I See It during a Sept. 2010 Constitution Day event at the Idaho Statehouse. Rice was there handing out flyers advertising his portrait of President Barack Obama, which included swastikas reflected in the president’s eyes.

Reporter Eric Fink with local Channel 6 KIVI reported on Rice’s arrest saying, “Rice entered the parking lot of the federal building and his vehicle was pulled over by police. According to Rice, he was then asked for ID which he showed the officer. But that State ID is not a valid driver’s license. Moments later Rice says he was asked by police to get out of the vehicle. Feeling threatened Rice stayed in his car. And that’s when according to Rice, a police officer started violently pounding on the door.”

Fink reported police were beating on the window of Rice’s car so hard Rice finally unlocked the door. Rice said, “That’s when they pulled me out a started beating me.”

Department of Homeland Security Public Affairs spokesperson Chris Ortman told AISI, “Federal Protective Service (FPS) Inspectors stopped an individual when he attempted to enter the James A. McClure Federal Building in Boise, Idaho, while driving a vehicle without a drivers’ license. The individual became disruptive and combative, and then fled in his vehicle. When stopped, the individual refused to comply with orders to exit the vehicle and was subdued, arrested and charged with driving without a license, assaulting a police officer, and resisting arrest.”

“[Rice] was, in fact, in possession of a state of Idaho identification card when he drove onto the grounds of the Federal building in Boise contrary to a statement previously provided to the media by FPS.”

“Because Rice was operating a motor vehicle, he was asked for his drivers’ license, which he refused to provide,” said Ortman. “FPS later determined his drivers’ license was in a suspended status. Had the individual not been driving, the state issued identification card would have been acceptable for entry into the facility.”

KIVI reported conflicts between Homeland Security’s statement and the Boise police report. BPD spokesperson, Lynn Hightower told AISI, “The information that I have in the in the report matches Homeland Security’s. I don’t know where Channel 6 got their information, they did not get it from the PIO office.”

Hightower said Boise Police did not make the arrest. BPD simply transported Rice to the jail and cited him for driving without a license.

KIVI’s Tina Jensen reported that according to Rice’s fiancée, Harmony Black, Rice doesn’t carry a driver’s license because he is a constitutionalists and political activist.”

During a July 2010 traffic stop for a moving violation Rice received a citation that included failure to provide proof of car insurance. Having not obtained insurance since that citation in Dec 2010 the court suspended Rice’s driver’s license.

Lee Arthur Rice II Barack Obama Swastikas Nazi

Rice at the Idaho Statehouse on Constitution Day (Sept. 19, 2010).The portrait of President Obama leaning up against an eight foot replica of the United States Constitution. The “One Sovereign’s story” flyers Rice handed out explaining his art, said he began the drawing in 2007, that he voted for Obama and God led him to a sovereign group. Rice was in federal prison in 2007 and could not have voted. Idaho state law does not consider restoring voting rights to felons while they are still on probation. (Photos: ©2010 May-Chang.com)

Rice refers to himself as “a Sovereign.” The sovereign citizen movement in America has been on the radar of the Southern Poverty Law Center for some time and reported extensively on the movement in their Fall 2010 Intelligence Report.

J.J. MacNab wrote in, ‘Sovereign’ Citizen Kane,

“The sprawling subculture of ‘sovereign citizens’ in America: hundreds of thousands of far-right extremists who believe that they – not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials – get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and who don’t think they should have to pay taxes.”

“Originally, the sovereign citizens movement mostly attracted white supremacists and anti-Semites … many self-identified sovereigns today are black and apparently completely unaware of the racist origins of their ideology.”

“Some start by testing sovereign ideology with small offenses such as driving without a license.”

The security policies at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Boise had already been in place during the time Rice had to enter the building under the terms of his three-year probation. Rice was released from federal prison in August 2008, after serving five years of a seven-year sentence for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and maintaining a place for the purpose of distribution and/or use of control substances. Court records describe those controlled substances as Ecstasy and LSD.

Rice could have entered the federal courthouse using his Idaho State ID card had he walked onto the property. According to law enforcement officials, Rice’s decision to drive without a valid state issued driver’s license and his reaction to officer’s requests to produce one is what prompted police to arrest him.

After being released from Ada County Jail on a $1,000 bond, Rice posted on his Facebook page that he had been, “Maliciously assaulted by Homeland Security” and was “unlawfully” arrested and jailed. “This type of action needs to stop and I plan on doing all I can to bring this to the light of truth,” wrote Rice. He is now soliciting money order donations for his legal defense fund using a storefront mailbox address and organizing a gathering at the Boise federal building on the morning of May 16 at the Appeals Court.

Rice’s pretrial conference is slated for June 20 and trial set for July 14.

URGENT: Please Support UUA LGBT Uganda Fund!

BREAKING UPDATE: 1:00 PM MTDT Sources in Kampala just reported the Ugandan House adjourned today without addressing the AHB. Not able to obtain a quorum with only 35 of the required 80 members to vote, the bill is expected to be on the agenda Friday May 13.

The Unitarian Universalism Association is coordinating an effort over the developing human rights situation in Uganda with the escalated homophobia in light of the looming passage with the Anti-Homosexuality, expected to become law, will jail or execute LGBT Ugandans.

Whether the bill passes or not, the homophobia has escalated since American Evangelicals exported hatred toward LGBT people to such a degree, LGBT Ugandans are in increasing danger of being beaten or killed. If not by the government, by angry mobs.

Unitairian Universalisast United Nationa Office UU-UNO Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill LGBT

The UUA is coordinating with the Unitarian Church in Kampala and extended it’s commitment commitment and support to their congregants and partners. The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) also is pursuing opportunities for coalition work opposing the bill.

And your donation to the UUA/UU-UNO LGBT Uganda Fund will continue to support important LGBT civil rights work in Uganda even if the AHB does not pass – but becomes even more essential if this bill does pass.

TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION HERE NOW!

Amnesty International is urging a letter writing campaign to the Uganda Parliament not to pass the bill in its current or amended form.

Sign the international petition to Stop the “Kill the Gays” Law Now!

Read Related Stories HERE!

Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill Update

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com May. 11, 2011

An Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, thought dead by many, has resurfaced, and LGBT Ugandans and their allies are bracing for the worst with a possibility that the bill could pass any day now. Activists say motivations are not just about homophobia, and that the bill is being used as a political tool.

“There is credible speculation that the AHB is being used to blind the world to the Ugandan government’s failure to address problems of rampant inflation and civil unrest,” said the Rev. Peter Morales of the Unitarian Universalists Association. “Whatever the motivation, it is clear the AHB is an attack not only on LGBT Ugandans but on the basic principles of inclusivity and human rights.”

The church has been coordinating with the Unitarian church in Uganda, whose pastor, the Rev. Mark Kiyimba, was here in Boise in November 2010 speaking about what he said was the extreme homophobia that American evangelicals have exported to his homeland that have resulted in the AHB and increased hate crimes in the country

Ugandan LGBT activist Peter Yiga was attacked in a home invasion after a Ugandan tabloid published names and addresses of known or suspected LGBT Ugandans under the headline, “100 Pictures of Ugandan Top Homo’s Leaked — Hang Them!”

In 2010, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni put the brakes on the AHB because of global pressure, largely from Europe and the United States. It now appears his position has shifted. Despite a petition circulating internationally that has so far collected more than 450,000 signatures all over the globe, President Museveni said on May 10 that he will not back down to foreign pressure, according to Yiga.

“[Museveni] might have devised a way out; he may pass the bill and start arresting us,” Yiga said.

Whether the AHB passes or not, Yiga siad LGBT Ugandans are still is serious danger,

“People are furious,” said Yiga, “They have been saying if Museveni isn’t ready to handle homosexuals, they will do it themselves.”

Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill Story ‘Exporting Homophobia’ Wins Journalism Award

Boise Weekly Deanna Darr Jody May-Chang Rachael Daigle Idaho Press Club Awards Banquet

(left to right) Boise Weekly Features Editor Deanna Darr, yours truly, Boise Weekly Editor-in-Chief Rachael Daigle at the Idaho Press Club awards Sat. April 7, 2011.

My first feature published in the Boise Weekly Sept. 10, 2010, Exporting Homophobia: American far-right conservative churches establish influence on anti-gay policy in Africa won a 2nd place award at the Idaho Press Club’s Best of 2010 banquet category:
Weekly Print Media Watchdog / Investigative Report. Having received such praise from other journalists is very humbling.

Thank you Idaho Press Club and most especially to Rachael Daigle, Deanna Darr and Nathanial Hoffman for believing in my work and providing the opportunity to write for such a great publication!

To start a completely new career at this time in life is a rather scary venture and I am extremely grateful to have such great readers and supporters. I could not have been more blessed to be encouraged, mentored, and at times kicked in the ass, by two of my very special and dearest of friends, John Redding, himself a very talented media professional and my BFF Melinda Moreno.

Nothing could make this a more perfect time than to also be enjoying Mother’s day with our amazing son Cody, and at the same time to be celebrating my 14th wedding anniversary with the love of my life Maria, who has not only loved and supported me unconditionally for more than 15 years, but with whom I cannot imagine a better life.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom, this one is for you!

National Media Watchdog Mag Publishes May-Chang’s
“IDAHOMOPHOBIA”

The May 2011 issue of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR’s) magazine Extra! is now hitting newsstands and includes Idahomophobia; In a conservative media market, anti-LGBT bias still thrives. Idaho independent journalist, Jody May-Chang, explores the most extreme stories where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been misrepresented, vilified and dehumanized by Idaho media.

May-Chang writes:

“Idaho coverage suffers from a lack of diverse sources, unchallenged arguments, sensationalized and even contrived stories that perpetuate LGBT stereotypes and misinform the public. LGBT issues here are generally undercovered, and outspoken homophobes have been given prominent platforms in local media (see The Fischer Files, may-chang.com). But perhaps the most egregious reporting comes when presumed criminality is involved.”

Jody May-Chang Idahomophobia FAIR Extra! May 2011Extra! accepts NO outside advertising–so your support is vital to continuing FAIR’s work of presenting well-documented media criticism.Get a your subscription HERE!

The May 2011 issue will not be fully available online until August 2011. Order your copy HERE! Just $4.95 and includes shipping.

FAIR is a progressive national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. Working to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press, FAIR scrutinizes media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints, exposes neglected news stories and defends working journalists when they are muzzled.

Hear Me! My Name is Catherine!
Legally a Woman, Jailed Among Men

On The Record with Catherine Carlson

Catherine Carlson in Payette Country JailA small and fragile transgender woman sits behind bars in solitary in a men’s section of an Idaho county jail for crimes sparked by years of mental and emotional torture brought on my a malicious parent, cruel state actions, and a savage legal system that refuses to recognize the most personal part of an individual’s identity, gender.

Meet Catherine Carlson, a 56-year-old, on her way to prison after years of what she describes as being terrorized by her family, the State of Idaho and the police.

Read her story and listen to Catherine’s emotional courtroom testimony and exclusive jailhouse interviews of why she says she finally came to the end of her rope and snapped.

On July 11, 2010 she set fire to her home and truck and was later arrested walking down the highway naked.

Convicted of first-degree arson, possession of a hoax destructive devise and indecent exposure, Catherine is facing up to 40 years in prison.

In this compelling and heart-wrenching story about one woman’s quest for simple respect and human dignity, Catherine talks exclusively to investigative journalist, Jody May-Chang from the Payette Country Jail as she awaits sentencing.

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