January 27, 2011 | Assassination of Ugandan LGBTQ activist David Kato

Those in the LGBTQ communities have had it hard enough over the millennia without having to deal with hate-inspired killings.

Those in the LGBTQ communities have had it hard enough over the millennia without having to deal with hate-inspired killings.

It has to be hard being a gay person. So many societies have rules or beliefs that condemn homosexual and lesbian behaviours and on many occasions individuals who have these inclinations are shunned in the best case scenario (or maybe that should be ‘least worst’).

Things appear to be getting a little better. There is a growing acceptance/tolerance – if not embrace – of LGBTQ people in many Western countries. Gone, for the most part, are the days where this was seen as a ‘weakness’. In my former world of security intelligence being gay was seen as a vulnerability, one that could be exploited by enemy powers to gain insider access.

In some faiths, however, gays are still condemned. The Catholic Church was none too keen on the LGBTQ. Islam was not very friendly either. Terrorist groups like Islamic State (ISIS) used to throw homosexuals off buildings.

Assassination of Ugandan LGBTQ activist David Kato

For many ‘religious’ people homosexuality is an ‘abomination’ in the creator’s eyes. Some Christians still maintain that God created Adam and Eve (not Adam and ‘Steve’) and that is just the way it is.

LGBTQ people are subject to hate and violence in many countries to this day. In some states there are still laws against same sex relationships: in others crimes against gays are ignored. On some occasions gays are killed in what must be called an act of terrorism (or at a minimum an act of hate).

On this day in 2011 David Kato, known as the most outspoken gay rights advocate in Uganda, was beaten to death with a hammer in his neighbourhood. Ugandan police were quick to say the motive was robbery, but members of the small and increasingly besieged gay community in Uganda suspected otherwise.

His friends say that Mr. Kato had received a stream of death threats. A few months earlier, a Ugandan newspaper had run an anti-gay diatribe with Mr. Kato’s picture on the front page under a banner saying “Hang Them”. For its part, the Ugandan Parliament once considered a bill to execute gay people.

“How to turn gay people straight”…

The chairwoman of one of Uganda’s gay rights groups stated that “the Ugandan government and the so-called US evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood.” Apparently, in March 2009 a group of American Christian extremists held rallies and workshops in Uganda discussing how to turn gay people straight, how gay men sodomised teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” intended to “defeat the marriage-based society.”

This atmosphere of hatred and intolerance led to Mr. Kato’s brutal death. I have no hesitation to call his murder what it was: an act of terrorism inspired my medieval extremist ideology.

What century is this? How can we allow primeval religious ideology to condone a man because we don’t like his choice of sexual partner?

Are we not better than this?

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

Leave a Reply