Uganda Saturday Monitor: Anti-gay meeting flops

The Saturday Monitor reports today on a meeting in Kampala hosted by Martin Ssempa last Tuesday.

Pastor Martin Ssempa on Tuesday plumbed the depths of notoriety when he offered graphic images of gay sex as proof of the need for tough penalties against homosexuals.

In the immediate aftermath of the presentation, which ended prematurely, Pastor Ssempa said he did not regret his actions. The press conference, the latest in a series of events he is holding in support of the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill, had been called to unveil two Ugandans, a man and a woman, who say their homosexuality has been rehabilitated.

One man, who was part of a group of American students invited to the press conference by Rubaga North MP Beti Kamya, was seen crying, his colleagues consoling him as the group left the National Theatre.

But midway through his presentation, saved on a computer, most of his audience walked out, some visibly disturbed, leaving him to wonder if he had done anything wrong. The cleric seemed genuinely rattled when he asked: “Why should I be traumatised?”

The effect of such efforts are apparent in the report of the American group who left early. Trying to shock people to your position by stigmatizing an entire group with the behavior of a fringe element rarely succeeds. Skeptical or undecided viewers often associate their revulsion with the presenter of the information and not the group targeted. In this case, people who are already convinced that all gays do the things Ssempa presented might very well be strengthened in that belief. However, people who are unsure or undecided might very well see the clear effort to stigmatize. Efforts in the US to stigmatize gays have not worked well, even when presented with the appearance of science (e.g., Family Research Institute). Too many people know someone who is gay for the extreme presentations to make sense. They know that whatever excesses might be true of some are not of necessity true of all, or even of the class of people.
The rest of the article is here.