David Kato Uganda

January 29, 2011

8×10″. Graphite, Chinograph and Conte pencils.

We grieve over the loss of David Kato. We know that being gay is anathema to Family, Church and State, and increasingly The Media, since it surpasses the State in its power over society. There is tangible proof of this War on Gays on a daily basis everywhere we look. The persecution never lets up. There was scope to include in this sketch, with a great deal of irony, a backdrop of Uganda’s flag. Rather incredulously it is made up of yellow, black and red: yellow being Africa’s sunshine, black being Africa’s peoples and red for the blood of Africans. Typical of The State to glorfiy the assassination of its citizens! In the end I chose not to have him allied to The State in this way. Ironically too, this week’s theme for “Illustration Friday”, a weekly thematic challenge for visual artists, is Surrender.

David Kato Kisule (1968-2011), Ugandan teacher and LGBT rights activist, considered a father of Uganda’s gay rights movement, serving as an advocacy offier for Sexual Minorities Uganda..

Role of The State. Not long after returning from South Africa during its transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy, Kato was held in police custody due to his activism. At the time of his assassination, he was working on overturning the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The USA Secretary of State saw fit to condemn the murder, yet her Department issues passport to fundamentalist Christian pastors who whip up hatred among the Ugandan population; how this is different from governments sympathetic to jihad providing passports to Moslem terrorists to cause mayhem in other countries escapes me entirely. Those pastors are public figures in the US, known to us all.

Role of The Church and The Family. The Christian preacher at his funeral preached against the gays and lesbians present, making comparisons to Sodom and Gomorrah. An unidentified female activist angrily exclaimed, “Who are you to judge others?” and villagers sided with the preacher as scuffles broke out during the proceedings. The preacher fled to hide in the Kato family home. Villagers refused to bury Kato at his burial place, the task being then undertaken by his friends and co-workers, most of whom were gay.

Role of The Media.  Kato was murdered shortly aftere winning a lawsuit against Rolling Stone which had published his name and photograph, identifying him as gay and calling for him to be executed. The editor’s response to the assassination was that they had no regrets about the story and that were merely exposing people who were doing wrong.


One Response to “David Kato Uganda”

  1. […] Kato. Its unfinished quality conveys the sense of a life cut short. Byatt posted it on his blog **gasp!** (Gay Artists’ Sketchbook Project) with a reflection that begins, “We grieve over the loss of David Kato. We know that being gay is […]

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