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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Will the UK Deport Brenda Namigadde to Uganda Where She Faces Prison for Being a Lesbian?

By Michael A. Jones -

It's no secret that Uganda is one of the harshest countries in the world for LGBT people, with their legislature still debating a bill that would criminalize homosexuality with the death penalty or life in prison. One Member of Parliament behind the bill, David Bahati, even brags about how his country should keep LGBT people out of sight, and wants countries around the world to send LGBT Ugandans back to Uganda, where they can be locked up for good.
Looks like Theresa May, the Equality Minister in the UK, is in lockstep with Bahati. As notes -- as well as LGBT Asylum News, Lez Get Real, and TIGRO -- a lesbian in the UK faces being deported to Uganda, despite the fact that she faces almost certain prison time solely for her sexual orientation in the country. And Theresa May seems totally OK with that.
"Uganda-born student, Brenda Namigadde, 29, is currently detained in Yarl's Wood immigration removal center and has a removal order for this Friday, 28 January. Asylum has been refused on grounds she is not believed to be lesbian and she has been placed in fast track. A fresh claim for asylum with new evidence was put in yesterday," writes Paul Canning at LGBT Asylum News.
Interesting that the UK government doesn't believe Namigadde is actually a lesbian. Why's that? Because David Bahati has taken a grand interest in Namigadde's case, and really wants her deported back to Uganda where she can face punishment.
As Lez Get Real's Melanie Nathan notes in a post that went up last night, where she recounts a conversation she had with Bahati: "He told me that Brenda should stop bad mouthing Uganda; that she would be welcome back to Uganda if she renounced her homosexuality and if she 'repented.' I asked him if he based this ideal upon religious beliefs and he said 'yes' that he did. I asked what if Brenda did not have the same belief as he did?  I asked what if she did not believe that she could repent?  He affirmed then she would be tried as a criminal."
So Bahati is basically admitting that Namigadde, if she's sent back to Uganda, will have to repent her homosexuality, or face a criminal trial. And Theresa May isn't persuaded by this?
Cue the folks at, a new international group working for LGBT equality. They've got an online letter that folks can sign onto, calling on Theresa May to review Namigadde's case, and offer her asylum in the UK.
"With Ugandan politician and author of the notorious 'Kill the Gays' legislation taking an interest in her case, Brenda faces clear and present danger if she’s forced to return," the organizers at AllOut write. That's why they want Namigadde's scheduled deportation to be halted, and their calling on Theresa May to exercise her authority and do just that.
Will she? May hasn't racked up the cleanest record on LGBT equality. This week alone she's been criticized for welcoming the appointment of a doctor who believes in ex-gay therapy to sit on a government board. And now the case of Namigadde.

Head on over to and lend your name to their letter. This is a campaign we can win and must win.


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