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‘Clock is ticking’ for queer Ugandans: Have you spoken out?

Canada has to keep the pressure on Uganda to withdraw anti-gay bill, says NDP MP Bill Siksay

George Ssemukuutu of Toronto's Pride Uganda Alliance International. Credit: Xtra Files

The clock is ticking for queer Ugandans, says George Ssemukuutu, the main voice behind Toronto’s Pride Uganda Alliance International.

Pride Uganda sprung into action last year after a Ugandan MP introduced a brutal anti-gay bill. In December, Pride Uganda organized a community forum at The 519 to protest the anti-gay bill. Hundreds attended.

On Feb 23, about 60 people came out to a Toronto event to raise funds for queer Ugandan refugees. Those speaking at the event had a clear message for Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Canada must keep up the pressure on Uganda to withdraw the bill.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has heard from international leaders, including Harper, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

“It’s been good first steps. It’s good that the Prime Minister has raised it at the highest level,” says gay NDP MP Bill Siksay of Harper’s private meeting with Museveni in November. “But we have to keep the pressure on.”

Siksay says it’s “absolutely important” that Canadians contact their MP and encourage more action to stop Uganda’s anti-gay bill (find your local MP here). Siksay also points to the online petition at avaaz.org, which has more than 400,000 signatures.

For more on Pride Uganda, join their Facebook group.

Read
our reports from Uganda, via Xtra freelance reporter Kaj Hasselriis.

Check out our video report from the Feb 23 Pride Uganda fundraiser: