Showing posts with label Gay Death. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Death. Show all posts

December 27, 2016

George Michael’s Death

 Fadi Fawaz, George Michael’s last partner and it definably shows Michael always had good taste on Men 

New details surrounding George Michael's death have been revealed.

The "Careless Whisper" singer's boyfriend, celebrity hairstylist Fadi Fawaz, announced on Twitter Monday that was the one who discovered the 53-year-old pop icon's dead body in his Oxfordshire home on Christmas Day. "ITs a xmas i will never forget finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first thing in the morning.." Fawaz tweeted. "I will never stop missing you xx."

Fawaz opened up to the U.K.'s The Daily Telegraph Tuesday in his first interview since Michael's passing. "We were supposed to be going for Christmas lunch. I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed," he said. "We don't know what happened yet."

Michael's rep said the singer died of heart failure and passed away "peacefully." Investigators later told E! News there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the pop singer’s death.

May 16, 2016

Famous Barrister Gets Swift Sentence(140hrs) for Supplying Drugs Killed Partner

Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
This story is a follow up of a very well known ‘barrister to the stars’ young gay London lawyer. He supplied the drug that killed his lover in their bed. For all the drugs that were found in his flat or apartment plus a dead body, this rich lawyer got swift…well fast justice.
He was sentenced to community work. Just like in the US just in a lesser stand there are convicts serving in theirs and ours justice and penal system doing so much more for so much less. Still there are people upset that that CNN last week wrote the below story on this tragedy and it talks about the lover that died as not being the victim but the smart young, good looking barrister who lost his career. 
I wont write about that just to include the piece by CNN and the original story we posted here at adamfoxie*.   Original story (Barrister 35 kills)-click here
It could be the plot from a Bret Easton Ellis novel featuring drugs, sex, death, and an almighty fall from grace. But this is no fictional setting. As lovers do, Henry Hendron was sitting up in bed with his boyfriend one night, speaking of the depths of his infatuation. 
“I said to him: 'Miguel, I don't know what I'd do without you,'" said 35-year-old Hendron, a successful lawyer from London. "And he said: 'Oh come on Henners -- which is what he called me -- what if I fell under a bus?'"
A few hours later Miguel Jimenez, an 18-year-old waiter from Colombia, was dead.
"I woke up and turned him over," remembers Hendron of that winter's morning in January last year. "Mouth frozen, blood there, clearly dead."
In desperation, he performed CPR on his boyfriend until the ambulance arrived -- "It must have been four or five minutes I was doing it, it felt like a lifetime."
"At one point blood starts to trickle out of his mouth, and I'm thinking 'he must be alive.' But he's not. I've broken his ribs or something, and moving that blood around."
When the police arrived, Hendron's nightmare only worsened.
Within minutes of being told his boyfriend was dead, Hendron was arrested, handcuffed, and marched to a waiting police van.
At that moment, "my whole world came crumbling down," he said.
Jimenez had overdosed on a cocktail of drugs -- which Hendron admits he supplied.
Hendron pleaded guilty in March to two counts of possession with intent to supply mephedrone and GBL.
Today he was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work, at London's Central Criminal Court.
On the night of his death, Jimenez took GHB (commonly known as "G") and mephedrone (also known as "meow-meow"), according to Hendron. 
GHB is particularly easy to overdose on, and potentially lethal when taken with alcohol -- as Jimenez did on the night he died.  In the past, Hendron said the couple who had been dating for one year, would take these drugs together during group sex sessions -- called "chemsex" or "party and play" in the U.S.
The drugs, along with crystal meth, are often associated with chemsex due to their ability to induce heightened arousal, sexual stamina, and reduce inhibition. 
Sex sessions may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and Hendron estimates he was spending "anything up to £1,000 ($1,400) a weekend" on drugs.
However on the night of Jimenez's death, there was no such party.
Instead, Hendron says his teenage boyfriend took the drugs after dinner, with plenty of wine, at the home they shared in Temple -- an area of central London popular with lawyers, and across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice.
A high-profile barrister who has represented MPs, aristocrats and reality TV stars, Hendron was working the next day, and so didn't take any drugs the night Jimenez died.
His partner's death turned the successful lawyer's world upside down -- "it was the other side of the coin," he said.
"I'd gone from a situation of having everything -- professionally, socially, financially -- to losing the love of your life, losing your career, and where there is no future. Or there is no certain future," he told CNN ahead of his sentencing on May 9.
“And it was only because I chose drugs, and I chose that lifestyle." 
Miguel Jimenez died after taking GHB and mephodrone.
Up until the age of 30, Hendron, who came from a conservative Catholic family and was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year with the prestigious Strand Chambers law firm, had never touched drugs in his life.
But after trying them at a private event, he quickly became hooked, engaging in chemsex sessions most weekends.
He said they offered an escape from a high-pressure job with 18-hour work days -- and he wasn't alone.
"In the London gay chemsex scene, a lot of people that do that are actually doctors," he said. "They're professionals, they're lawyers.
"And a lot of them manage to juggle this lifestyle -- weekends of drugs -- and then they go to work perhaps a bit worn on Monday, but they manage."
Indeed Hendron's mother didn't even know he was gay, much less that he took drugs, until she read about it in the Daily Mail.
Jimenez's mother could not be reached for comment, but Hendron says she, along with his twin brother Richard, also a barrister who has been representing him throughout the trial, have been a source of strength.
Growing up in a well-to-do area of west London, Hendron's dentist father died when the twins were babies. Today Hendron speaks with the cut-glass English accent of a privileged upbringing.
When Hendron talks of the heartache of Jimenez's death, and the deeply personal details of his sex life, it is matter-of-factly. In a manner befitting a barrister.  Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
Hendron says Jimenez's mother, understandably, took a little more time to come round.
"In the beginning she rightly blamed me and couldn't speak to me," he said.
Over time the pair have become close, and Hendron now visits both her, and his former boyfriend's grave, in Colombia once a month.
"We are each other's rock of support for what has been a nightmare over the last 14 months," he said of his relationship with Jimenez's mother. 
At today's sentencing, Judge Richard Marks told Hendron: "I bear in mind the anguish you feel over the death of your partner and the very moving letter from his mother in which far from wanting you to be punished -- she stands by you."
After Jimenez's death, Hendron very nearly died himself, embarking on chemsex binges that at one point saw him overdose on GHB -- and end up in intensive care. 
Today, dressed in a trim navy suit and clutching a folder of papers for his next meeting, Hendron appears to have emerged from his darkest days -- but the weight of them still hang heavy on his thin shoulders.
"I was the older one who should have known better. I was the one that funded those drugs. I should have been the one to say stop," he said.
"And you know, it's me that's taken away my happiness. And he was a core pillar of my happiness. 
"I feel totally responsible."
Hendron says he became addicted to the heightened sexual highs the drugs offered -- and has warned others to carefully consider the risks involved.
"At the time it was quite fun -- you're around other guys, you think this is a good time, you think you're having good sex, and then you become used to it," he said.
"And then that becomes all that you know -- in terms of sex on drugs at the weekend."
The barrister who carved his career in the court room, has now also been judged in the same setting. 
"There isn't much I can do apart from try and move on," he said.
"The pain doesn't become any less. You just become more used to it, more familiar with it."
Do You think justice was done? and Why? Why Not?

April 26, 2016

ISIS Hacks to Death Gay Academic,Activist in Bangladesh

A portrait of Bangladeshi academic Rezaul Karim Siddique.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the murder of a university professor who was hacked to death in Bangladesh, adding to a grisly death toll linked to religious intolerance in the country.
Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, a professor of English at the University of Rajshahi in northwest Bangladesh, was waiting for a bus near his house on Saturday when two men approached on a motorbike and attacked him.
“We don’t even know why Professor Siddique has been killed,” journalist and author Afsan Chowdhury told The Australian yesterday.
“I’ve been talking to Rajshahi University teachers and students. Some could not even recognise Professor Siddique — he was ­almost an invisible person on campus.”
The SITE Intelligence Groupthat monitors jihadist networks says Islamic State claimed to have killed Professor Siddique for “calling to atheism”.
The government of Bangladesh has denied Islamic State has a presence in the country.
The Muslim-majority nation of 160 million has seen a surge in violent attacks in which members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups have been targeted. Five secular bloggers and a publisher have been hacked to death in Bangladesh since ­February last year.
Islamic State has also claimed responsibility for the killings of two foreigners, and attacks on mosques and Christian priests in Bangladesh since September, but police said that local militant group the ­Jamaat-ul-Mujaheddin was behind those attacks. At least five militants have been killed in shootouts since November as ­security forces have stepped up a crackdown on Islamist militants looking to establish a sharia-based Muslim state.
Badiul Alam Majumdar, the director of the Hunger Project in Bangladesh and founder of Citizens for Good Government, said while the government of Bangladesh claimed Islamic State did not exist, “the government has a credibility gap”.
The police had failed to make any credible arrests relating to ­numerous attacks and, while “we would like to believe the government, when they say there is no Islamic State here we are in the dark as to who the real perpetrators are”.
“I am not one to mince my words and have been prepared to speak out,” he told The Australian. “And, yes, I am frightened of what may happen as a result of that.”
He said Professor Siddique had apparently been a quiet, deeply religious Muslim who had wanted to promote traditional Bengali culture and music.
He had founded a music school and edited a literary magazine and his family have said he was not an atheist.
Police said he may have been targeted by extremists because he was involved in cultural activities, particularly music.
Dr Majumdar said if he was targeted for those reasons, “then nobody is safe”.
He said the government did not appear to have any effective strategy to deal with rising Islamist fundamentalism.
“We have lost confidence in the police,” said journalist Afsan Chowdhury. “It’s much more a failure of the police. There are now several murder cases that have never been resolved.”

March 27, 2016

Partying to Death Sexing to the Death because We Are GAY


A night at Trade. Photo courtesy of Trade

On this March 24,  I posted the story of a 36 year old Lawyer to the Stars in London and his boyfriend of just turning 18 and now dead due to the drugs his boyfriend supplied for him.
A very important , conservative man headed for politics acted like there were no rules and no boundaries once he came off the public eye.  Click to see that story Top Barrister 35 kills Young Boy Friend 18  Who OD

I don’t want to judge too harshly nor minimize what gay guys do to each other to hurt us in the name of sex and fun but this a community that has been so demonized and repressed that now that we have more freedoms than before and still very far from the mark sometimes lack the restraint that the new generation of gays will certainly have.

 We see gays dying in ways that are vicious and unnecessary.  It’s so screwed up that many of these guys can still go on hazings, drugs and sex parties.  The more conservative the city or town that offer more strict laws for drugs and public homosexual related conduct, the more of it goes on behind eyes of the community at large and without any sense of what the safe boundaries are. Those are side effects of an intolerant, homophobic society. The pressure buid up has to give somewhere. I know this out of my true experience in finding and dealing with my own sexuality.

I think one has to be gay or very close to gays to understand how it feels to be ostracized even before we know we are gays our selves. [I’ll try to explain it using me for the first time]

I remember being called a f***t by my father and my oldest sister when they got pissed at me which was often. At six I could not understand what was wrong with being a f**** . I went on without care but knew something was wrong with that word. I knew I could not be that because as troublesome as I was as a kid,  stub born and hard to handle,  I knew I was a good kid. I loved my mother with a love unsurpassed by anything or anyone.  I fear god,  I even loved my father and my oldest sister and eventually I became close with my oldest sister.

I loved my friends and my teachers and all of my family even loved my older brothers that abused me physically when drunk or thinking I needed to be slapped around thinking it was time or that Ive done something wrong,  (which brought me close to serious injury once I got older, around 9-10) because now I would use my mouth to repealed every slapped which brought a new one instead. May be I hoped to be injured bad enough for a trip to the hospital and see if it was true that a child could not be abused by someone, even a brother.  I was afraid of pain and afraid of blood but once tasted it did not matter anymore.
My mom never called me that and she would say to not pay attention but to try to be better.

When I came out to myself around 19 I decided I wanted to do sexually everything that could be done (as long as I did not hurt anyone or got hurt myself). I was so repressed about gay sex and such a novice. No one to ask except by trial and error with my sex partners which usually I never saw after the first time. Some said I did just the right thing and others thought I was selfish in sex except I only knew how to do one thing and never knew how well I was doing it for my partner, just concentrated on the inside feeling of a new exciting and forbidden experience. How heavenly, particularly when the guilt could not make me retreat it. I looked to every encounter as a new school. I wanted high marks.

I figured that by the time I got old I would want to remember all those experiences and pick out and choose which ones where the ones for me. How many trips to the Dept of Health venereal disease clinic I made!  I would pick different neighborhoods so I would not be recognize as a frequent flyer. Condoms many times where of no use because sex many times was with not much warning. The testosterone of guys in their late teen early twenty is a volcano that’s  ready to erupt, I think most of us know that.

As I started to experiment,  a look, a glance and a nod of approval would start the conversation or not even much conversation. I would often be asked if I was a cop because I was told, clean cut and conservatively dressed.  I told myself I would stop when I became comfortable in my own skin of who I was always told myself but truly I thought I might not finish my exploration into this forbidden field because of the dangers I encounter. I was afraid of the so called “bears’ and their leather customs and the uniforms made laugh but I would hope to find someone close to me in this zoo of lost humans, I thought. Once in the west v ullage behind the infamous trucks I decided after passing by so many times on foot on car on my dreams. I actually intended this time to walk to the back to where most guys were busy doing what ever they where doing. I had to see it. As I commenced my trek a white casual but “square” dressed man of about 45-50 stop in front of me. He had a hanker-ship and it looked like he had just finished eating fried chicken or may be just drinking milk which spilled down his lips . He said “your first time agh. Welcome to this awful life”   he continue walking out into the street and getting lost in the fog of the night.

Everything I tried confirmed that I was gay not bi (I used to called myself that and I was but I knew I belong with a guy not a girl) Had I been born during this millennial period,  I doubt all that would have happen. I would have searched to meet a guy and I would have stayed with him. I would not have looked in the wrong places.

Sometimes I think that we should be a screw up community and in many ways we are but not more than any other and we have so many excuses to be the worse yet with the exception of many in the community having problems of fidelity,  communication and fairness to each other, we are still better than most. With all the garbage society and religion has imposed on us we usually strive to be better, to find our rainbow or at least white cloud.

In this this beautiful  well to do couple you add drugs and it will be just like me, except I was not well off nor did I partake in drugs. The dangers I encountered were others in which you got the wrong person who wants to make spaghetti out of your brains. Fought many fights and got shot once. Never thought I would live to get old before I found what I was looking for and felt at ease with me. It was like I had to prove to myself how gay I was and more importantly that it was ok no matter if god himself said the opposite.
 Particularly being young and butch without realizing I was,  I slit into a night life of dancing and cruising.  I had to even accept so money once, wanted to know if this was me. I actually envied guys that seemed to have no job and lived with a few roommates.

I worked hard and went to work with a suit and tie. Had my own place,  always had my own apartment.  This alone will keep me from drugs because I wanted to grow in my company or another company. I had  boyfriends coming over and boyfriends that moved in but I always kept my sense of belonging in a sane work.  To say I wish wanting to belong to a straight world but felt inside of me I didn’t because I always had to make up stories about my where a bouts.

 My love for my mother and the security I decided to keep by having a professional life I had and I was not going to fuck it up. I could go to work without sleep and boozed up from the night before but I was there on time and ready to do a job I though. One co worker would tell he knew when I had gone out because he would smell a nice aroma of cologne around my locker.

Had I would have gone down in drugs I would have never come back. A seemingly well off boyfriend I had that was into coke. It was the first time I tasted it and it fucked me up.  Went to work the next day after having breakfast with him. He went to work in the West village and I headed to work midtown.  Not two hours into work I was being rushed in an ambulance to the hospital.  Once was enough I had to leave my boyfriend and keep my goals.  What if I could just turn straight by having enough gay sex to hate it,  it would be great! I thought  but that never happened. Instead I became who I was and that was cool.

Adam for ever
 On the left is my mom and on my right my second mom and main Seminary Teacher
I’m at the center on my 3 yrs Graduation Ceremony,  I was 18. I spent 14-18 at the Seminary working to pay for my studies there.

March 24, 2016

Top Barrister 35, Kills young boy friend18, who OD

Henry Hendron
Henry Hendron has admitted supplying the drugs that killed his teen lover

A barrister to the stars has admitted supplying the drugs that killed his teenage boyfriend during a gay sex and drugs orgy at the country’s most prestigious legal chambers.

Henry Hendron, 35, bought £1,000 of designer drugs including Mephedrone, or ‘meow meow’, from BBC producer Alexander Parkin, 41, to sell on to revellers for a ‘chemsex’ party at his exclusive London flat.

The drugs killed Hendron’s waiter boyfriend Miguel Jimenez, 18, who was found by the sobbing lawyer after the all night bash.

Police found Methodrone, known as meow meow, and GBL at the flat in the Temple, the collection of chambers where Britain’s top lawyers and judges are based.

Hendron, wearing glasses, a smart blue suit, striped shirt and blue and red patterned tie, appeared in the dock at the Old Bailey .

Central NewsAlexander Parkin at the Old Bailey today, pleaded guilty to supplying drugsAlexander Parkin has pleaded guilty to supplying the drugs
He had previously denied a string of drugs charges, but pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing drugs with intent to supply.

His confession may mark the end of a glittering career for the Tory lawyer once tipped to lead the party.
Hendron’s famous clients include MP Nadine Dorries, the Earl of Cardigan and The Apprentice winner Stella English.

Prosecutor Martyn Bowyer said: "It is accepted this defendant bought in bulk for use in what is known as the gay chemsex scene.

"He would be making them available for friends at cost price."

The batch of designer drugs included meow meow
Mr Bowyer added: "The drugs found at the flat were purchased by him for his own and others’ use, others including his then partner, who tragically died as the result of taking those drugs.

"Text messages taken from his iPhone are consistent with him purchasing those drugs for around £1,000."

Hendron, who charges up to £1,750 per day for his services, could now face jail when he is sentenced on 3 May.

Judge Richard Marks QC told him: ‘You know, I am sure if you fail to attend that in itself would be an offence punishable by imprisonment and in all likelihood the court would sentence you in your absence.

‘The fact I am adjourning this matter for a report is no indication.

‘This is obviously a serious matter and all options remain open to the court.’

Parkin also faces jail after admitting two counts of supplying controlled drugs earlier this month.

PACentral Criminal Court, also referred to as the Old BaileyHendron has been warned he faces jail at the Old Bailey
His barrister, Dominic Bell, said after the pleas: "He is 40-years-old, he’s an executive producer at the BBC, he has one caution for possession of Mephedrone - there’s clearly a background to the abuse of narcotics."

Hendron, who was represented by his brother Richard Hendron, acted for Tory MP Nadine Dorries when she was accused of smearing a rival during the 2015 election campaign.

As a 17-year-old schoolboy Hendron addressed the 1998 Conservative Party conference calling for the re-introduction of corporal punishment.

Prosecutor Nathan Miebai said at an earlier hearing at City of London Magistrates’ Court: "The defendant, Mr Hendron, and his partner Mr Jimenez were present at their flat on the evening of January 19 through to January 20, 2015.

"Mr Jimenez was found unresponsive by Mr Hendron on January 20.

"There has been a toxicology analysis which found that Mr Jimenez died of a drug overdose."

Hendron, of 6 Pump Court, Temple, City of London, pleaded guilty to possession of the Class B drug Methedrone and the Class C drug Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) with intent to supply.

Parkin, of Manchester Street, Westminster, admitted supplying the Class B drug Methedrone and the Class C drug Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL).

The ‘chemsex’ phenomena sweeping the gay community has been identified as a major health hazard by the NHS and the BMA.

Participants take drugs for up at a week at a time and have sex with multiple partners often summoned to the orgy on the internet.  

March 27, 2015

He was the global face for gay rights in Cameroon but he was arrested and died alone and in poverty

Disowned by his family for being gay and not hiding in the closet, arrested and died coming out of Prison with nothing but what he was wearing. He knew he was fighting not for himself but for all gays in Cameroon, victimized by their families, their church and their government. This is the fight that played in the US, Canada,Britain and every country that now accepts gays as people that are in need of their civil rights and beyond that, their human rights. The Civil right to walk out of their house without being beaten or bullied. The human right to love another man just like them.
How can any human being of any religion, any decent human being with empathy in their hearts for others not just for themselves and the ones like them not understand this? This is the fight that tragically has to be fought but we know now that this is the fight we will win in every educated moral nation. I wish I could make 350 million framed messages for the door of every american home, giving them the meaning of Morality not as I define it but the way it has always been defined and see if it applies to denying any American or human being for that matter, their civil and human rights. A religion dogma and rules does not trump human rights.
That was for the past ages in which human ate other humans and kill them as sacrifice to their god. What ever the religion says it cannot take away those human rights of loving and making a home together legally and with the same rights marriage affords them. Don’t want them in your church? That is more than fine but you can’t say they be not allowed at city hall to get a marriage license. 
Roger Jean-Claude Mbede was denied all of the rights I mentioned above and lastly he lost his life.
Adam Gonzalez, Publisher

file photo of roger mbede

In this July 2012 photo, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede stands in the home of a friend where he had sought refuge in Yaounde, Cameroon. Mbede, a gay man who was jailed for sending an amorous text message to another man, and who was later declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, died on Jan. 10, 2014. 
Anne Mireille Nzouankeu / AP
In this July 2012 photo, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede stands in the home of a friend where he had sought refuge in Yaounde, Cameroon. Mbede, a gay man who was jailed for sending an amorous text message to another man, and who was later declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, died on Jan. 10, 2014. Anne Mireille Nzouankeu / AP
YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon — On the night of July 16, 2012, Roger Mbede walked out of the central prison in Cameroon’s capital city, having served 16 months of a three-year term for violating the country’s anti-gay law. Though Mbede, then 33, had entered prison a nobody, he was emerging an icon, a man whose story had come to exemplify the challenges facing sexual minorities in Cameroon and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. 

The previous year, Mbede had been arrested and convicted under a penal-code provision imposing prison terms of up to five years for same-sex sexual acts. This in itself was not unusual. Cameroonian officials have carried out waves of arrests targeting sexual minorities for the last decade. According to Human Rights Watch, the country prosecutes more people for homosexuality than any other in sub-Saharan Africa, often on limited or fabricated evidence. 

But the specific claims against Mbede were flimsy even by Cameroonian standards. Instead of being accused of having sex with another man, he was arrested on the basis of three amorous text messages he sent to a government official. One of these messages confessed “an attraction to men,” while another declared, “I’ve fallen in love with you.”

In the years leading up to Mbede’s arrest, activists had struggled to attract much attention to the lack of gay rights in Cameroon. It soon became clear that Mbede’s case provided an opportunity to make up for lost time. Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience, and the organization’s Write for Rights campaign generated up to 500 letters of support a day from all over the world, according to one of his lawyers, Alice Nkom. Human Rights Watch and All Out, a New York-based advocacy group, also took up the cause. 

I pledge to continue to follow his story and do what I can to secure his safety.
David Cicilline
Congressman from Rhode Island
The international pressure likely contributed to the decision to grant Mbede provisional release while his case was appealed. But he soon realized that any attempt to resume his normal life would be complicated by his newfound notoriety. 

Mbede remained the face of gay rights in Cameroon even after he was let out. On the ground, however, in his home village of Ngoumou, he was impoverished and ailing, desperate even for basics such as money for food. 

On Dec. 12, 2013, David Cicilline, the Democratic congressman from Rhode Island, delivered a statement about Mbede in the United States House of Representatives to mark Human Rights Day. “I pledge to continue to follow his story and do what I can to secure his safety,” he said. 

Mbede would die a scant month later, his final weeks shrouded in mystery. The news came as a shock to those who had worked on his case. According to the reports, Mbede was held in his village by his family, who were intentionally depriving him of medical treatment. Speaking to The Associated Press, Nkom said, “His family said he was a curse for them and that we should let him die.”

Cameroonian officials have never properly investigated this claim, and the evidence to support it is thin. But the decision by global campaigners mourning Mbede to focus on the family’s role in his death obscured a less dramatic yet still disturbing story — one of an international activist community that placed a high value on the symbolic utility of Mbede’s case but did very little to help him cope with the price of exposure. While Mbede was clearly a casualty of a hateful, homophobic law, a less obvious truth is that activists probably could have, but failed, to save him.

 Michel Togué

Michel Togué, one of the lawyers for the defense, smiles at the Yaounde court which on July 23, 2013, sentenced a man to two years in prison and handed down a suspended one-year jail sentence to an underage youth for homosexuality
Reinnier Kaze / AFP / Getty Images
Michel Togué, one of the lawyers for the defense, smiles at the Yaounde court which on July 23, 2013, sentenced a man to two years in prison and handed down a suspended one-year jail sentence to an underage youth for homosexualityReinnier Kaze / AFP / Getty Images
Born in Yaoundé in 1979, Mbede never knew his father, and his mother died when he was young. He was raised by an aunt and uncle who had nine children of their own but nonetheless welcomed Mbede into their home on the outskirts of the capital. 

In an interview taped after his release, Mbede said he first realized he was attracted to men when he was around 10. He said he recognized at an early age that homosexuality was widely abhorred and that this prompted him to “fight a battle, a tough battle.” Yet those who knew him, including foreign campaigners and members of the local gay community, say his role as an activist was entirely accidental. No one in the country’s 10 or so active lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations seems to have met him prior to his arrest, which was the first time he’d encountered any trouble related to his sexual orientation.

The official who eventually denounced Mbede to the police worked at the office of Cameroon’s president, and Mbede met him while applying for a job there. After a brief interview, Mbede sent the man a text message: “I feel a desire to sleep with men and I am attracted by your beauty.” After two subsequent messages from Mbede, the official arranged a meeting, then tipped off the police. Two plainclothes officers arrested Mbede not long after he showed up.

Mbede appeared before judicial officials one week after his arrest. “Everyone in the courtroom started to cry out and insult me — even the judge,” he later told Human Rights Watch. He had no lawyer at his trial the following day. “They didn’t ask me questions,” he said. “When I stood up to go to the bar, it was just shouts and insults.”

The case might never have attracted any publicity had it not been for Michel Togué, the only other local lawyer besides Nkom who regularly defends Cameroonians charged under the anti-gay law. Togué happened to be at the court the day Mbede was sentenced. Before Mbede was transferred from the court to the prison, Togué approached him and asked if he wanted to appeal. Mbede said yes, and Togué filed the next day. (Nkom joined Mbede’s team later.) 

It is with eyes filled with tears and a heart completely saddened that I write you this letter. Please go cancel the appeal. I don’t want to suffer any more from constant persecution from my enemies.
Yaoundé’s central prison is by all accounts a rough place, and Mbede fared especially poorly. Inmates familiar with his story refused to share a cell with him, and he was often expelled to the courtyard, exposed to the sun and rain, said Lambert Lamba, a Cameroonian activist who became close with Mbede. Some called him “pédé,” a derogatory slang word derived from “pedophile” or “pederast,” and “diaper wearer,” a slur hurled at gay men based on the belief that anal sex renders them incontinent. Guards did little to protect him from violence, Lamba said. At the time of his release, Mbede had a scar on his brow where, he said, he had been hit with a wooden bench.

Mbede’s correspondence from prison suggests he wasn’t eager to embrace a struggle larger than his own. A letter to Nkom written in February 2012, nearly a year after his arrest, indicates he wanted only to keep his head down until his prison term was over. “It is with eyes filled with tears and a heart completely saddened that I write you this letter,” he began, lamenting that the system seemed stacked against him. “Please go cancel the appeal. I don’t want to suffer any more from constant persecution from my enemies.”

Upon his release, Mbede’s health was his first priority. He underwent badly needed surgery for a testicular hernia, but the procedure was not entirely successful, according to friends and activists. He also tested positive for HIV. It was unclear where he contracted it, and he never got on a treatment plan.

Mbede had been working toward a master’s degree at a local Catholic university, but resuming his studies also proved difficult. The university had become a hostile environment. One friend recalled that someone posted a sign on Mbede’s door that read “Dirty Pédé,” and Amnesty reported that he was later assaulted by four unknown men just off campus. 

Fearing for his safety, Mbede moved in with Lamba for three months and then returned to his village. The relocation indicates that he was still figuring out what kind of life he wanted. Though he was primarily attracted to men, he sometimes slept with women and, about 10 years ago, fathered a son. When he returned to the village, he was accompanied by a woman who identified as a lesbian but, in need of a place to stay, had agreed to pose as Mbede’s girlfriend. Mbede told his family he was no longer gay. The woman, who asked not to be named, would become pregnant with Mbede’s second child inside of six months. 

'A bit of negligence'

In December 2012, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a global federation pushing for sexual-minority rights, held its world conference in Stockholm, Sweden. By this point, most activists were aware of Mbede’s case and concerned for his welfare. Conference organizers decided to invite Mbede as a “special guest,” knowing he would then seek asylum, according to French activist Thomas Fouquet Lapar. The idea was hatched late, however, and it was not possible to process Mbede’s visa application in time, Lapar said. 

On Dec. 17, the day after the conference came to a close, an appeals court upheld Mbede’s verdict. Mbede went into hiding, and his ambiguous legal status complicated subsequent efforts to get him out of Cameroon. 

Jean-Eric Nkurikiye, a former Amnesty campaigner who worked on Mbede’s case, believes Mbede’s conviction made it illegal for him to leave, meaning the organization was in no position to help. But Togué, the appeals lawyer, said Cameroonian authorities would have needed to issue a specific order barring Mbede from traveling if they didn’t want him going anywhere. There is no evidence they did so.

In late 2012, a regional organization, the Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, drew up budgets for two possible escape plans for Mbede, both of which involved overland travel to Chad to avoid altercations with airport authorities, who were more likely than border officers to stop Mbede. From Chad, he would fly either to Europe or the United States. However, Patience Freida, who works on LGBT issues for the organization, said it lost contact with Mbede while the budgets were being approved. “There was a bit of negligence in this case,” she said. Because members had no news of Mbede, she added, “We said to ourselves, ‘He must be out of danger.’” 
In fact, Mbede believed his situation was becoming more precarious. In a January 2013 email to an activist at All Out, he reported having received a letter the previous week — it was apparently “slipped under his door” — that included a threat: “Be very careful and don’t be stupid. You risk losing your life, while those who are encouraging you will remain living.”

Around this time, Lapar, the French activist, turned to Dignity for All, a program run by a consortium of rights organizations that provides emergency assistance to activists and human-rights defenders endangered because of their work on LGBT issues. The program was created in September 2012 and receives significant funding from the U.S. State Department. Generally speaking, while the fund was designed for activists, exceptions for people like Mbede are possible, said senior program officer Mindy Michels. Lapar said Dignity eventually approved Mbede’s case and agreed to provide him with about $5,000, more than enough to pay for his travel, though the money was not disbursed until August 2013. 

The plan then was for Mbede to travel to France. Dignity does not provide help with the visa process, however, and the French embassy in Yaoundé dragged its feet. Lapar, who is based in France, said he found little help on the ground in Cameroon as he tried to get Mbede’s papers in order. Local organizations had few resources and little influence, and international groups failed to coordinate their efforts, wasting valuable time. 

To Lapar, this inability to mobilize at a time when Mbede was perhaps most in need of assistance reflects poorly on the priorities of global activists. “People can say a lot of things — ‘Oh, we’re so indignant about the sentence that he faced’ — but when it’s just about picking up a phone and calling an ambassador of a country to say we need this guy to be out, no one does it,” he said. “And it’s so easy.”

Final days

There are competing versions of how Mbede’s final weeks unfolded. In the most widely accepted account, Mbede’s family removed him from the hospital and held him in the village against his will, waiting for him to die. The source of this information is Lamba, who went to the village in early January, days before Mbede’s death, for a visit that quickly turned chaotic.

Soon after Lamba arrived, dozens of people gathered around as members of Mbede’s family questioned Lamba about their relationship as well as the extensive interest in their relative’s case. Lamba felt threatened. Two of Mbede’s cousins had machetes, he said, adding that they kept him there “for nearly 10 hours.” 

At no point was Lamba permitted to see Mbede. Lamba said he left the village convinced the family had decided to let Mbede die. Several days after Mbede’s death, Lamba told The Associated Press that, during the course of his visit, family members “said they were going to remove the homosexuality which is in him” — a claim that is central for those who say Mbede’s death was the direct result of his family’s homophobia. 

Today, though, Lamba says that because of the general confusion of the scene, he doesn’t remember anyone saying these things in so many words. “Nobody said that explicitly,” he recalled. While his broad claims may be accurate, his version of events appears far from the definitive account activists portray it as being. 
 alice nkom, one of mbede's lawyers

Alice Nkom, a Cameroonian lawyer who was on Roger Mbede's legal team, gestures during an interview in Berlin on March 14, 2014, where she was to receive a human rights prize from Amnesty International.
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images
Alice Nkom, a Cameroonian lawyer who was on Roger Mbede's legal team, gestures during an interview in Berlin on March 14, 2014, where she was to receive a human rights prize from Amnesty International.Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images
Noel, a cousin with whom Mbede was particularly close, provides a different version of what happened. He said he understands why Lamba may have been intimidated during the confrontation. But he said Mbede’s relatives and neighbors were simply trying to understand what was wrong with him to see if there was any way to help. Noel denied his family wanted Mbede dead. To the contrary, he said, they simply couldn’t afford to pay for Mbede’s medical care. 

The woman who was posing as Mbede’s girlfriend might have been able to provide an account of Mbede’s final days. However, she had left the village several weeks before, just four days after delivering their daughter. She said she was trying to find a place where Mbede could recover from his illness, since he seemed to be faring poorly at home.

What she does recall, though, undercuts Noel’s claim that Mbede faced no threat in the village. She said she remembers getting a call from Noel a few days before Mbede’s death, warning her to stay away. She said Noel told her there were certain members of his family who thought Mbede was cursed and might harm him. This woman said she is not surprised Noel neglected to disclose this information himself, citing his apparent wish to protect his family’s reputation.

Given how much time has passed, and the absence of an official investigation, it may prove impossible to ever determine which story — Lamba’s or Noel’s — is closer to the truth.
A painting in memory of Roger Mbede hangs in the office of a Cameroonian LGBT organization.

A painting in memory of Roger Mbede hangs in the office of a Cameroonian LGBT organization. 
Robbie Corey-Boulet

A painting in memory of Roger Mbede hangs in the office of a Cameroonian LGBT organization. 
A painting in memory of Roger Mbede hangs in the office of a Cameroonian LGBT organization. Robbie Corey-Boulet
Mbede was buried hastily in his family’s village, in a makeshift coffin cobbled together with wooden planks. Noel suggested waiting to see if some of Mbede’s international contacts would send money for a proper service, but the family concluded this was unlikely, given what was being said about them, and they were reluctant to pay to continue keeping his body in the morgue. They decided to just get on with it. 

Activists honored him in different ways. All Out organized a “virtual vigil”: a petition calling on world leaders to do away with anti-gay laws. In Cameroon, one LGBT organization has paintings of Mbede hanging in its office. Another named a conference room after him.

These gestures mean little to his relatives and friends, however, one of whom lamented that Mbede was buried “like a dog.” The lack of help on the part of Mbede’s international contacts in honoring someone who attracted so much attention while he was alive is an enduring mystery for the family, Noel said. “The entire world knew my brother. Ambassadors, everyone,” he said. “If they didn’t do anything for his death, well, that really disappointed me.”

Noel said Mbede’s aunt, especially, wonders how someone who became so well-known had, apparently, been forgotten so quickly. “She asks until today, ‘With all the relations he had, with all of his friends, what kind of friends are they?’”


Just today in the NYTimes: Initiative to Execute Gays

January 27, 2015

The Leading Gay Activist in Uganda was Killed but at His Funeral Something Unusual Occurred

Mourners at David Kato's funeral on Jan. 28, 2011.
Photo by Marc Hofer/AFP/Getty Images
On Jan. 28, 2011, two days after he was murdered, mourners arrived for a burial service in the remote village of Nakawala. Down a long dirt road, a hand-painted sign read “Death of David Kato” with an arrow pointing toward a house where the funeral would begin at 2 p.m. Cars and buses lined the road. So, too, did armed policemen.
A bus from the capital had brought his closest friends, each wearing a black T-shirt with David’s face on the front, a rainbow flag on the right sleeve, and the phrase “Aluta Continua” (“the struggle continues”) on the back. As they walked into the yard they made a striking appearance in their identical shirts, but with so many people showing up at once, few of the locals paid the group much attention. Indeed, they were just another curiosity among a swelling crowd that included, impressively, reporters and cameramen from international news agencies, representatives from human rights organizations, embassies, and NGOs, and a host of white, unfamiliar faces the likes of which had never been seen in this typical Ugandan village.
Hundreds filled the yard where several tents had been erected, and people milled about, greeting one another solemnly. Not a few buckled at the sight of the coffin. Two of David’s friends had to hold up a third who collapsed in tears in the viewing line.
Set beneath its own small, blue tent, the white, mid-sized casket had a window in the lid through which mourners could look at David for a last time. He normally wore glasses; they had been removed. His clean-shaven head rested perfectly upright. He was 46 years old; in another two weeks he would have been 47. Although his body wasn’t going to be buried where he had wanted it to be—near his own home about 10 miles away—his well-known attention to detail had been honored: He was beautifully dressed, his body clothed in a dark gray suit, matching pink dress shirt, and tie. Not a wrinkle was visible. Not a hint of the trauma that killed him.
The sun shone brightly.
Almost exactly 48 hours earlier, on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, at about 2 p.m., David had been bludgeoned to death in his home. Authorities believed he had been hit in the back of the head in his living room then dragged to his bedroom, where neighbors discovered him unconscious a few hours later, bleeding on his bed. He died en route to the hospital.
Only three weeks earlier, David had won a seminal right-to-privacy court case that he had filed with friends Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera and Pepe Julian Onziema against a tabloid called Rolling Stone (no relation to the U.S. magazine). Rolling Stonehad reported that homosexuals were targeting Uganda’s children, recruiting hundreds of thousands of them into the homosexual lifestyle. It then printed the names, addresses, and places of employment of numerous people suspected of being homosexual, along with identifying photographs. The front page featured the headline, “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak,” with a picture of David beneath the words “Hang Them.”
In a land in which homosexuality had been illegal since the colonial era, David Kato had been quietly but openly gay, acknowledging his homosexuality in a press conference as far back as 1998. (He was immediately beaten and imprisoned.) As its oldest, most visible member, he was considered the father of the Ugandan gay rights movement. Many of his colleagues affectionately called him the Grandfather of the Kuchus (the Ugandan term for LGBT individuals), while others called him Security, because he was always looking out for the safety of others. His home outside the capital was a sanctuary for those in need, where he provided shelter, food, and even clothing if someone had become homeless or jobless on account of their sexuality. Having been threatened repeatedly, he had recently installed cameras for greater protection.
He knew the court system like the back of his hand, kept records of every local human rights violation based on sexual or gender orientation, advocated for better HIV/AIDS prevention and health care, and had his finger on the pulse of all the gay (and anti-gay) news on the street, in the press, in the church, and especially in the Ugandan parliament. Indeed, he had devoted the last 12 months of his life to figuring out how to defeat a proposed anti-homosexuality bill that had been tabled by a young parliamentarian, David Bahati, and made homosexuality a crime warranting life imprisonment and, in some cases, the death penalty.
With David’s death, his community had lost a pioneering leader, and since his assailant, or assailants, remained at large, several feared the possibility of another murder within the community. Even though authorities had quickly stated that David’s murder had nothing to do with his homosexuality or gay rights activism, none of David’s friends believed that, especially since the police had yet to charge anyone with the crime or properly investigate the murder. Not even anti-gay activists accepted the police’s statement; some claimed David had been killed by an angry ex-lover.
In light of the circumstances surrounding David’s death, the fact that some of his friends were willing to wear distinguishing T-shirts at the funeral—exposing themselves in a way none of them had done before—telegraphed a newfound courage in one of David’s most enduring beliefs: the power of visibility. He believed a person has to step out of the shadows and be seen in order to be recognized as an equal human being. “If we keep on hiding,” he once said of the gay community, “They will say we are not here.”
There was a PA system, and, one by one, David’s friends, colleagues, and members of his family rose to eulogize him. His brave mother, Lydia, and twin brother, John, got up to speak. Some sang. Law professor Sylvia Tamale spoke passionately of the need to end homophobia and respect those so cruelly marginalized as “abali bebisiyaga” or “people who eat garbage.” Her use of that pejorative term for gays and lesbians was shocking to the crowd, creating an audible stir. That Professor Tamale would talk of the rights of homosexuals and use common swear words seemed to many in the audience not only disrespectful but also disturbing.
For all of David’s humanitarian efforts and public activism on behalf of LGBT rights, the irony was that few people outside that world had any idea that he was gay, especially in Nakawala. The villagers didn’t have access to city tabloids like Rolling Stone. They didn’t know the rumors surrounding David’s death—that he might nothave been killed by a random act of violence, but, rather, that he might have been targeted specifically to shut him up. The furthest thing from most people’s minds would have been that David was murdered because of his leadership within the gay community. In truth, few knew that David had been anything other than a schoolteacher.
Yet there was a definite sense that this was no regular service and David no ordinary man. Not a few were amazed when a statement was read from President Barack Obama, praising David for being “a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom.” Villagers wondered how David Kato Kisule from Central Uganda had been important enough to warrant the attention of the president of the United States, but they had little time to wonder before a gust of wind tore through the yard, lifted one of the tents, and hurled it onto the roof of David’s father’s house.
People screamed. Others gasped in horror. Nobody was hurt, but everyone was stunned. In this staunchly Christian community, where David’s late father had been a minister, not a few were shaken by the violence of the wind. Was this a sign of God’s displeasure? If God was angry, who had offended Him?
With the tent still flapping on the nearby roof but safely secured, Father Thomas Musoke, the local Anglican priest, began to give the final homily. It was not the one he had planned on delivering. Listening to Professor Tamale and David’s other colleagues, hearing President Obama’s words, surveying the press and the number of white faces in the audience, he had begun to realize that David Kato had been an abasiyazi. And as Father Musoke looked around at David’s friends, easily recognizable in their black T-shirts with rainbow sleeves, he had realized each one of them was an abasiyazi too.
His conscience would not allow him to bless in Christ’s name an unrepentant sinner who had defied God to the last. Kato was going to hell. Thus Father Musoke believed his obligation now was to try to save the others.
“May the Lord be with you,” he began calmly, holding a Bible in his left hand, the microphone in his right, a bright blue robe distinguishing him as a man of the cloth. “Brothers and sisters in sorrow, Kato is dead. He can’t repent nor change, but from what I have witnessed here and heard in condolences from as far away as Europe and America, [I can tell you] all of those are wasted!” He looked squarely at Kato’s friends. “It’s time for you to repent and return to God.”
By now, others were also beginning to realize that homosexuals were present, and several in the crowd began to chant with approval at the priest’s words.
Father Musoke continued, his words gathering pace. “You should know the truth and recognize man was meant for woman! The world has gone crazy! People are turning away from the Scriptures. They should turn back. They should abandon what they are doing. Jesus came to rescue the sinners … and Jesus came purposely for you sinners I’m seeing here. … You must repent! Even the animals know the difference between a male and a female. How can human beings claim they don’t know the difference between a man and a woman and that the two have different roles?”
Laughter rang out at the thought of people acting like beasts.
“I was informed of Kato’s death. But I wasn’t aware of the work he was doing. Kato is gone. He can’t repent. He can’t change. The Lord is telling you to change! Sexual immorality is too much!” The pastor and some members of the crowd felt a surge of righteousness, and men and women kept looking over at David’s friends who were standing together in a clearing. A group of homosexuals had not been seen in public like this before. Everyone’s face was clearly visible.
Kasha, Pepe, Victor, and the rest instinctively gathered closer together for protection, some mute with horror at what was taking place, some beginning to shake from fear, and still others whispering urgently, “He must be stopped!”
The pastor saw evil in his midst. He saw an evil that would be punished by God, and he shouted a prayer into the microphone that rang out through the speakers to a chorus of cheers, “The prayer we pray is for … the total destruction of your group! Completely! Completely! And every believer, every person that knows God, REPENT!”
Kasha had had it. Tall and thin, her eyes covered with mirrored sunglasses, she walked up to the priest, grabbed the microphone out of his hand, and walked away with it into the crowd. But the priest didn’t stop. He kept on shouting, and Kasha turned around. She walked under a tent, climbed onto a chair, and, as calmly as she could, while shaking a finger in the air, called out, “We have not come here to fight!”
Cameramen swirled their lenses in her direction.
“We have not come here to fight!” she repeated. “We have come to bury our friend. You are not the judge of us! As long as he’s gone to God, his creator, who are we to judge Kato?” Then, unleashing a torrent of pain and anguish—she had helped identify David’s body—and years of pent-up fury with the church and authoritarian figures persecuting her and her friends, she screamed, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
Marching back out onto the grass, she continued calling out, “Enough is enough for goodness’ sake! We came here in peace!”
A few of David’s friends pleaded with the pastor and the crowd, “Let David rest in peace!” but the pastor categorically refused to bury him.
“Do not bless him,” a young man agreed.
The pastor turned to Kasha, “You should repent! God, he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah just because of gays!”
Kasha yelled back, “Let his creator judge him! Not you! Not any of you here!”
Off to the side, tears streamed down Victor Mukasa’s face as he was comforted by a friend who sensed Victor’s terror. “Whatever they are saying, they’ve killed David,” the woman said. “They’ve not killed us. We are still living.”
With the police watching, ready at any moment to step in, scores of people began to converge on Father Musoke and Kasha. In the crush, several men from the village, astounded that they were in the presence of homosexuals, looked variously at the men and women in black T-shirts and questioned aloud, “Even that one? You mean we really have grown people who do such things in Uganda?”
A female voice cried out, “They’re planning to hit us!” while a man exclaimed, “We are not going to promote gays!”
The pastor began to push through the mob to get inside the house, and several policemen helped protect him as he did so. To David’s friends, the message was twofold: Do not touch the priest, and this concludes the service.
His friends were distraught.
“Please,” they cried.
No one would help them. In fact, the villagers refused to have anything to do with David’s body and would not accompany it to the gravesite in the woods behind the house.
“Let’s just take him ourselves,” said someone.
“Get the casket. Let’s go,” said another.
An elderly bishop who had been excommunicated by the Anglican Church for supporting the gay community—and who had been disinvited from saying a few words at the funeral—joined the small procession behind the coffin. Bespectacled and gray, Bishop Christopher Senyonjo still wore his collar, pontifical ring, and pectoral cross, the latter hanging from a chain that rested against his broad chest and swayed ever so slightly as he walked. He had worked closely with David through the years, had known David for a long time, and had himself suffered persecution just for being an ally. At the gravesite, he watched the pallbearers lower David’s coffin into the ground, knowing it would be up to him, a technically silenced bishop, to finish the service in the name of the Lord.
“You may be different from me,” he said in his sharp East African accent, standing amid those who had dared to gather. “Myself, I am straight. I’m not LGBT. But I have known these people who are LGBT. I respect them for what they are, and I believe they are going to Heaven.”
The small group of mourners cheered faintly. Tears streamed down Victor’s face as he looked out from beneath a cap that read “Out & Proud.” Nearby, a man broke down, covering his face with his hands. Kasha stood stoically behind the bishop, her tall figure a pillar of strength, her sunglasses reflecting the scene. Friends leaned against friends. A few threw rose petals onto his coffin. To the side, sitting in a chair that someone had brought for her, Kato’s mother, Lydia, continually tried to catch her breath. She stared at the coffin in pain, her chiseled face worn with interminable grief.
“Like you others, they are going to Heaven!” The bishop continued. “If they don’t believe, that is another matter, but if they are believers, don’t be discouraged. I know people have been discouraged even not going to church, because they are being abused. As I found today, people are abusing them.” He shook his head. “Please don’t be discouraged. God created you. God is on your side. … This is the gospel I am preaching.”
He paused. “My church was not happy with what I said. Because they want me to condemn. But God showed me No, no, no. God showed me that Christ doesn’t discriminate [against] anyone. I am free because I know the truth! And I will stand for that truth. So please, we pray for the soul of David Kato.”
Everyone bowed his or her head. Some closed their eyes.
Bishop Christopher carried on, emotion catching his breath. “I have known him. I have respected him and his love of the human race. And that is the best thing God left us. God loves you, Kato.” His voice cracking, he looked down at the casket and blessed the body with a wave of his right hand. “He knows you. He brought you into the world. And you have done your work. So rest in peace.”
Sunlight filtered down through the trees. Silence held everyone together. Some knelt to touch the casket now draped by a rainbow flag. For a moment the world was still, calm, unbelievably sad, and emptier than it had been a few days before when David—son, brother, teacher, helper, uncle, friend—had been alive. But there was no hatred at the grave, just loss—the kind of loss that comes from having loved.
A messenger arrived. Word was that the homosexuals were going to be stoned in their cars, or worse, if they didn’t leave. This was exactly the kind of thing that David had fought against his whole life—the inability to be recognized as a gay person lest you become attacked for who you are. Such a threat at a funeral seemed unconscionable, but David’s corpse was evidence that no one was safe. And so his friends fled, but as they passed through the yard one last time as a group, there was only one face that the villagers and police saw repeatedly: David’s—going by on all of those T-shirts. As if to remind everyone that a man can be hunted, maligned, cast out, mistreated, and even killed for being different, but his light cannot be extinguished by the actions of others.
David Kato’s legacy was marching on, his presence as strong as ever. Indeed, the final words of the day were not spoken aloud but quietly delivered on the backs of his friends as each one headed for the road. The struggle for freedom that David had lived and died for would continue unabated. Each T-shirt read: Aluta Continua. Aluta Continua. Aluta Continua.
Sources for this account include video footage of the funeral taken by news agencies and individual reporters, local and international news reports, and firsthand accounts from colleagues and friends of David Kato’s.
Also in Outward: Photos of gay life in Kampala, Uganda.
Sarah S. Kilborne is an author, performer, and activist. She is founder of the Kiss for Equality campaign. Her most recent book is American Phoenix.

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