Let’s talk about sex. (And fear and politics and phoney religion too)

“Hey, let’s talk about sex!” I said. I couldn’t help it. It was at the dinner table yesterday evening and Mom wasn’t there and it just sort of tumbled out.  You know, like “Hey, pass the carrots, will ya?” Now, sure, I know my kids are sort of young. But I’ve already had some pretty […]

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Uganda is Gay Ground Zero thanks to fear, politics and misguided religiosity

(The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, March 15, 2014)

KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦Fear is a strange thing, which is why it’s so hard to look into the eyes of another human being that you’re about to gas or bomb or, in the case of Uganda’s gays, throw to the lions.

This is also why President Yoweri Museveni recently refused to meet with Uganda’s gay community – there were repeated requests – before signing Uganda’s infamous anti-gay law.

The new law means even touching with the intent of a homosexual act – try to prove or disprove this one – will get you seven years. Short of jail, a life-sentence for a single homosexual act, there’s obviously also a new chill on the street here.

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Love is our highest calling

(Christian Week – March 12, 2014)

KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ By now you’ve heard plenty about Uganda’s new toughened laws on homosexuality, the news that spread to the West with the fanfare of a dark sporting event.

Even short of jail—terms range from seven years to life—it’s a new day of survival in a horrible state-sanctioned chill.

Several weeks in, like so many things in developing nations, it’s hard to know all that’s happening. Was that murder really a robbery gone bad? And that street beating? Why did she really lose her job? Many things simply don’t make the news here in Uganda.

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I’m a gay Ugandan. Now what?

The talk was this afternoon when I was getting my hair cut. It was on the same topic as it was at this morning’s coffee at my kids’ school. And the same as last night while with a friend outside our Ugandan house. It was about Uganda’s new anti-gay law. Last night, near the house, my 10-year-old daughter came up to

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On anniversaries and a medley of “summer love”

(The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, July 26, 2013)

HAMILTON, CANADA ✦ Love has always been one of those loaded words, one that means everything and nothing at the same time because we can love the latest Bond movie or country music or summer rain, but this has nothing to do with summer love at, say, a July wedding, or the love that shows on the faces of a couple who have sailed through thick and thin.

This is what it was the other day, an anniversary of 55 years. The man smiled and looked me in the eye and told me that he knew from the first time he saw her. “She stepped off the train and I heard a voice: ‘This is the woman you’ll marry.’”

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Where words, mere words, mean trouble

The official charge is ignoring orders of a public official. But the real problem is words. Just words.

You know, words can be enough. Too much, even, when they say this and that; when they’re relevant and lacerating; when they’re passed to others and speak more than anyone even realizes; when they speak truth that isn’t just truth to be understood, but that deeper truth that causes a lump in your throat because you know someone has experienced it with some amount of pain.

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There is no us versus them

(Christian Week – December 10, 2010)

KAMPALA, UGANDA ✦ Two friends. One’s confessing a secret. He’s crying. Blubbering. Hyperventilating. “You’ll be surprised,” he says.

“Don’t worry,” says his friend. “I know about things. Whatever you’ve done, you can tell me.”

“You’ll be surprised,” says the first.

“No, I won’t. Don’t worry. Who is she? What’s happened?”

“You’re making assumptions.”

“It’s okay. Whatever you’ve done to her. Come on. Just tell me.”

“I’m gay.”

Silence. Disbelief. Embarrassment.

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