Gay Ugandan man seeks asylum in UK; EU group condemns Ugandan homosexuality conference

Gay Without Borders is reporting that John Bosco Nyombi is back in the UK after being returned to Uganda against his will. While there, he was beaten and had to hide from police to avoid detention, according to GWB.
Nyombi’s case made headlines in September of 2008 but little has been reported since. I post this case in light of the recent ex-gay conference in Kampala, Uganda involving Exodus International board member, Don Schmeirer, International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Brundidge and Scott Lively. During this series of meetings, a new anti-gay group was formed, and Scott Lively called for tougher criminal laws and forced therapy of homosexuals.
Bosco claims he was beaten and lived under threat.

He fled to the UK from Uganda where homosexuality is illegal and carries a punishment of life in prison.
His case has attracted publicity in Uganda.
Mr Bosco said in a statement seen by the court that, on his return to his homeland, his circumstances had become “quite desperate”.
He had been beaten up during a period in detention and he had now gone into hiding to avoid being interviewed by the police about his homosexuality.
The judge said the evidence before him made it perfectly plain that Mr Bosco had come to the notice of the authorities, and this had added to the risk of his human rights being breached by reason of his homosexuality.
In rejecting the Home Office’s argument that it was safe to return Mr Bosco to Uganda, the judge said: “I find it impossible to conclude, on the basis of the evidence as it now is, that there is not the real possibility that a judge might find that he is at risk if he is returned (to his homeland) by reason of his homosexuality.”

Elsewhere, a LGBT group affiliated with the European Union blasted the Uganda conference and the American participants by name:

European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights strongly condemns the meeting of 5 March between several Ugandan parliamentarians and Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Stephen Langa of the USA and Uganda-based groups working to diminish human rights of LGBT persons.

In my view, American groups should be condemning the situation in Uganda and not enabling it.

Reparative theory takes center stage at Uganda conference

Yesterday morning I reported that Ugandan officials were considering stronger penalties for homosexuality. In the same meeting, Family Life Network seminar leader Scott Lively promoted further criminalization of homosexuality but added an outrageous consequence — forced therapy. If reports from the conference are accurate, we don’t have to wonder what kind of therapy would be imposed.
Gay Uganda has a description as does IGLHRC. Both accounts feature prominently the theory that homosexuality is father related.
As an example:

An LGBTI activist told me that Caleb was contradicting himself. “First he testified that he didn’t have a good relationship with his father. Later, when a participant noted that there are a lot of homosexuals that she knows that come from great families and have good relationships with their parents, Caleb interjected and said that he had a great relationship with his father. That was contradictory!”

Given the description, I wonder if Mr. Schmierer showed Homosexuality 101.
Here is another meeting report from “a fly on the wall.”

Ugandan ex-gay conference goes political: US presenter suggests law to force gays into therapy

The Ugandan anti-gay seminar now is coming into sharper focus. In this disturbing article from UGPulse, Scott Lively, invited by Family Life Network to speak at a church-based conference on homosexuality, spoke to a government conference and called for the forced therapy of homosexuals.
Here is the article in full:

The Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo has today told a conference organized to discuss the ways to fight Homosexuality that he will soon submit a bill on pornography and homosexuality for discussion in Parliament.
The conference that took place at Parliament was organized by Defend the Family International, an organization in the United States of America that was formed to fight homosexuality.
Buturo says the he will present the bill against pornography first before presenting that against homosexuality though he declines to mention exactly when these bills will be presented to Parliament.
He says pornography is partly a cause of homosexuality since it negatively affects the morals of the victims of pornography and makes them easily susceptible to the vice of homosexuality.
He says the provision in the penal code on homosexuality is too small to cover all concerns in homosexuality.
Buturo says the government will not only end at making laws against homosexuality but will also engage in sensitizing schools and churches in the fight against this vice.
The President of Defend the Family International, Scott Lively says it is good for the government of Uganda to criminalize homosexuality but the government should subject the criminals of homosexuality to a therapy rather than imprisoning them.
Lively says this is aimed at the criminals recovering from homosexuality which is the main objective of those fighting homosexuality and not to punish homosexuals through imprisonment. He says even schools should borrow this idea of therapy in dealing with gay students.

Exodus International and the International Healing Foundation must now come out clearly and make a statement condemning this proposal. This is a chilling development and one which must be addressed. The presence of these ex-gay organizations in this environment most likely sends a message to the Ugandan people and government that such forced “therapy” is plausible and humane. Cell phones and other modern forms of communication exist. If I were Alan Chambers and Richard Cohen, I would be on the phone yesterday to insist that their representatives make public statements distancing themselves from Mr. Lively’s views. And they should come home early.

More on the Ugandan ex-gay conference

Wanting to know more about the Family Life Network ex-gay conference in Uganda (first covered here), I wrote FLN Director and conference organizer, Stephen Langa.
In contrast to rumors that the Ugandan government funded the conference, Langa said that the Family Life Network funded it locally. I asked why he chose the speakers (Schmierer, Brundidge and Lively) and he said, “they each have unique expertise which we feel will address the needs we have in Uganda and Africa in general on the subject of homosexuality.” He noted that the speakers are not being paid for their time.
Regarding the need for the conference, Langa said no prior conferences had provided true information. He believed this conference would offer hope for “recovery and restoration” of homosexuals.
I asked some follow up questions but have not received a reply as yet. As noted in this African news report, I am very skeptical that value will come from the attempt to transplant US ex-gay ideas into a country with such a hostile climate for people who are same-sex attracted.

National Day of Avoidance

The Day of Silence is coming — April 17 to be exact — and some conservative groups are already calling for students to walkout of school on that day.

TINLEY PARK, Ill., Mar. 3 /Christian Newswire/ — A national coalition of pro-family organizations is urging parents to call their children out of school on April 17. This is the day designated for this year’s Day of Silence when students and/or teachers will purposely remain silent during instructional time to protest so-called discrimination and gain sympathy for students who identify as homosexual or transgender.
The Day of Silence is a yearly event sponsored by the partisan political action group, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The implicit purpose is to undermine the belief that homosexuality is immoral. It is the belief of the sponsors of the Walkout that parents should no longer passively accept the political usurpation of taxpayer funded public school classrooms through student silence.

The walkout is a new wrinkle. Last year, these same groups called for parents to keep the kids home. It sounds like the plan this year is to allow students to go to school and then tell them to walk out.
The news release contradicts itself on at least one point. First, it reads:

The DOS requires that teachers either create activities around or exempt silent students from any activity that involves speaking. DOS participants have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom.

And then a little later, says:

Higgins further emphasizes that “The worthy end of eliminating harassment does not justify the means of exploiting instructional time.” The First Amendment already allows DOS participants to wear t-shirts or put up posters, but according to a document co-written by the ACLU and Lambda Legal, a “school can regulate what students say. . . and it can also insist that students respond to questions, make presentations, etc.” Students and teachers should not be allowed to exploit instructional time to advance their socio-political goals.

Note the two sentences in bold print. The release first says the Day of Silence requires that teachers exempt students from speaking and then admits that the DOS does not mandate such exemption. As noted in the release on this blog last year, DOS materials make this clear.
I will again favor the Golden Rule Pledge. Facebookers can join that effort here.

Bullying and the scars

My webmaster, Paul, passed along a link to a poignant story of a dad about his adopted Korean daughter. She was a victim of bullying and has some scars to show for it.
Here is the beginning

Bullying defies stereotypes. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes, from good homes and broken homes, and can be rich or poor. Bullying is not just a metropolitan phenomenon. Bullying can occur in even the smallest rural town. And those who have been bullied struggle with a sense of identity. I Left My Heart focuses on the struggles my family dealt with as a result of bullying in a small Nebraska community.
I hope you will share this article with someone. I doubt I will ever do a more important story. For change to take place it has to occur where our children are. Our schools need to become more sensitive to how much damage bullies can really do and that even someone they might consider as an unlikely candidate to bully may well be among the worst at emotionally or physically bullying someone.
Bullying leaves terrible scars and the healing process can be slow. Though my family found a way to help my daughter heal, she still suffers from what a therapist calls post-traumatic stress. And I still suffer from being unable to protect my daughter.
MY HEART
Labor Day, 1981. “She’s a good baby. She’s a smart baby,” the Korean adoption escort told us as she brought Hyun Soo In, now Amanda Soo Ann Meyer, off the Northwest Airlines plane. Wife Jane’s “labor pains” were over. Amanda cooed and fit perfectly in Jane’s arms. Kindergarten son Matt walked through the terminal carrying a teddy bear bigger than the tiny girl he just met, smiled a perfect smile, and announced to everyone “that’s my baby sister.”
Weeks after Amanda arrived, a bout with Salmonella brought a stay in Omaha’s Children’s Hospital. A much healthier Amanda came home, and she grew and flourished. Snap shots from those years show her crawling and walking, and opening presents at family gatherings. She loved story books and Sesame Street. Amanda was a healthy and happy little girl. The pre-school years were an idyll compared to what awaited us.
Precocious Amanda started school in 1986. She displayed a God-given talent with words, hated math, loved music, and did not care for sports. Amanda was a typical American girl who just happened to be born in Korea. Her grade school days were carefree, but then she entered North Bend Central Junior High School.
Our soldiers receive months of training preparing for war in Iraq. Amanda received no training for her tour of duty. What training could have prepared her for slurs, even physical threats, merely because she looked different than 99% of the students in that school? Nobody escapes adolescence heartache-free, but Amanda’s life was heartbreak after heartbreak. How could children be so cruel? Junior high was open season on Amanda, and scores of students had a license to taunt. Where were the teachers? Can’t they see a girl sobbing in the hallways?

Read the rest here…

Uganda's strange ex-gay conference

I decided to post about this after reading an article about an upcoming (this weekend) conference in Uganda on homosexuality. The article begins:

Parents to train on how to handle homosexuality issues
Family Life Network and other stakeholders in Uganda have organized a three-day seminar to provide what they termed as reliable and up to date information so that people can know how to protect themselves, their children, families from homosexuality.

Reliable and up-to-date information? I doubt it given line-up of presenters (Scott Lively, Don Schmierer and Caleb Brundidge). I have little awareness of Mr. Lively’s work but Mr. Schmeirer and Mr. Brundidge I know more about.
It is ironic that Mr. Schmierer is speaking at a conference for parents. He recently spoke on Family Life Radio which prompted several parents to contact me – not with good feelings, I might add. Some parents who have been through the reparative therapy gauntlet are weary of programming they seek for spiritual support providing misleading information which serves to demoralize them. An portion of Mr. Schmierer’s book, An Ounce of Prevention was provided to parents to help them pick out their pre-gay child.

Signs That an Adolescent May Be Struggling with Gender Issues
Don Schmierer
None of these are clear-cut indications of homosexual tendencies. However, if several of them are evident, the young person may be struggling with gender issues.
1. A sensitive child being forced to feel different because of mocking or downgrading by peers or family
2. A young boy who hangs out with girls exclusively; history of playing with girls instead of boys prior to puberty
3. Effeminate behavior/appearance in boys or extreme macho behavior; mannish style and “butch” posturing in girls (not to be confused with simply being athletic)
4. Unnatural friendship that is compulsive, secretive, or inseparable developing between siblings, cousins, relatives, or neighbors—especially in merged families or foster families
5. Exaggerated rejection by same sex parent
6. Fatherless home or emotionally unavailable father
7. Dominant mother
8. Youngest male child
9. Young girls with much older female “best friend” in a relationship that excludes others of the girl’s own age
10. Anger—often manifested in sarcasm, cynicism, or withdrawal
11. Frail, deformed, deaf, or otherwise “outcast”; physical appearance not socially acceptable; “slow”
12. Comments, “I must be gay,” or “I guess I’m bisexual.”
13. Loner, preoccupied with self
14. Boys may avoid fights/physical altercations

I don’t know where to start with this list. More to the point, I don’t know what a parent would do with a list like this. Take number 3: “Ok, son, time to tone down the machismo, you might be gay.” or “Son, how about being a little more macho, you might be gay.” I am trying to imagine how this list will go over in Uganda.
Mr. Brundidge, I featured here in the post just prior to this one. He divides his time between fringe groups – Extreme Prophetic and the International Healing Foundation. Here is another YouTube video of Mr. Brundidge when he was a pupil of Mr. Cohen. At least, it appears he was still a client in this video. With Mr. Cohen, you can be a client and staffer so maybe he was both. Embedding is disabled so you have to watch to about a minute into the video to see Mr. Brundidge and then again at 18:31. I wonder if he will demonstrate the tennis raquet technique in Uganda.
BrundidgeRaquet
Overall, I am surprised that an Exodus board member would go to a conference like this in a country where criminalization of homosexuality is still an issue. My impression is that Exodus had no position on such things or if there was a position it was that homosexuality should not be considered a crime. For a change, I agree with Exgaywatch that it sends the wrong message for these people to go where the agenda is not simply congruence with religious teaching but also on state intervention in private behavior.
PS – Here is an article describing some of the attitudes in Uganda. This conference will be aiding and abetting this kind of thinking, I fear.