Posts Tagged ‘amnesty international’

How to Build Community.

February 2, 2010

Currently, I am living in the middle of the bible belt in Southern California. There isn’t really any place to go to meet people – as alternative/counterculture doesn’t really exist out here. I’ve been trying to change that. I’ve been working on organizing a handful of groups to find like-minded people. I started a veggie group, a queer group, and am also working on trying to form a chapter of Amnesty International.

How do you organize without having a central place to organize? The answer is the internet. The internet is a great tool for connecting with people. One of my favorite websites to network is meetup.com. I’ve had mix results with meetup.com – I’ve had some groups that no one showed up and had other groups that people did. I think my biggest problem was trying to organize in New York City. There is so much going on there, that it’s hard to connect. I’ve had more success out here just because there isn’t anything else around.

Another way to connect with people on the internet is forums. Forums are a great way to find people who share a common interest with you. I go to a couple of forums and have made some great internet pals. Some I am hoping to meet in person eventually.

I had a meetup on Saturday for the LGBT group and about five people came. It was a good first meeting. Everyone was a little nervous. Or at least I was, I was shaking a little bit. I am hoping the people will come to another meeting so we can get a core group going. It was nice to meet some other queers!

I am trying to get active again after a few months of inactivity. I still have no idea where to move to that would be a place I’d like. So, for now, I’ll try to make the best out of what I go. We’ll see what happens.

Advertisements

What do you think about the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill?

January 13, 2010

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be a violation of humans rights. The spirit of the bill is undemocratic and would be a blow to the progress of democracy in Uganda. It also isn’t a bill just against homosexuals – it’s a bill against everyone. A new draft bill includes a provision that could lead to the imprisonment for up to three years of anyone, including heterosexual people, who fails to report within 24 hours the identities of everyone they know who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or who supports human rights for people who are.

The existing law, Section 140 of the Ugandan penal code, penalizes “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” with imprisonment of up to 14 years. This legacy of British colonialism was introduced to punish local practices of what the colonial powers deemed to be “unnatural sex.” The laws stand as proof that same-sex sexual practices and gender diversity are, and always have been, part of Ugandan culture. The draft bill tabled today seeks to imprison anyone convicted of “the offense of homosexuality” for life.

Paragraph 3 of the draft bill sets out provisions on what it names as “aggravated homosexuality,” which will incur the death penalty, contradicting the global trend toward a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

The final section of the bill provides for Uganda to nullify any of its international or regional commitments that it deems “contradictory to the spirit and provisions enshrined in this Act.” As both the African Commission and the UN Human Rights Committee have held, a state cannot, through its domestic law, negate its international human rights obligations.

Over recent months, there has been increased campaigning against homosexuality in Uganda, led by churches and anti-gay groups. The media have joined this campaign, and have publicly pointed to individuals they accuse of being gay or lesbian.

People suspected of being gay have faced death threats and been physically assaulted. Many have been ostracized by their families or faced discrimination, including dismissal from their place of employment.

“This inflammatory bill will be taken as further confirmation that it is OK to attack or even kill people perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” said Victor Mukasa, of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. “It is the government’s responsibility to immediately withdraw this dangerous proposal.”

It is a dangerous proposal for everyone. It will affect the lives of everyone of every sexuality because anyone can be accused. It’s like a war on human nature – it’s perfectly natural to be homosexual. They might as well outlaw breathing. I am appalled that in 2010 – this is even an issue.

What can you do to help? You can take action by going to the Amnesty International web page and send a email to your representatives to stop this violation of human rights.