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Frank Mugisha, Ugandan human rights defender, to visit San Diego

SAN DIEGO – Frank Mugisha, one of Uganda’s leading LGBT activists, will be coming to America’s Finest City next month to talk about the daily life-and-death struggle for gays and lesbians in his homeland.

Mugisha is the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, known as SMUG. Mugisha worked closely with LGBT activist David Kato, who was murdered this year in Uganda.

Each day in Uganda is fraught with danger for LGBT people like Mugisha. This African nation is considered the line in the sand over gay rights, and legislator David Bahati has proposed a “Kill the Gays” bill that has drawn worldwide condemnation. That bill, which was shelved last year after significant international pressure including from the U.S., the United Nations and the European Union, is about to be debated once again in Parliament.

Mugisha is among the brave souls like Kato who stood up against Bahati and the nation’s rampant homophobia, and that has put them in an uncomfortable spotlight.

Last October, a homophobic tabloid in Uganda called Rolling Stone published an article titled “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak,” listing names, addresses and hangouts of dozens of gays and lesbians. Another headline declared: "Hang Them!" Photos included those of Kato and Mugisha and even Bishop Christopher Senyojo, a straight ally who is outspoken in his support for LGBT and human rights in Uganda.

Months later, Kato is killed in his home, and Uganda authorities are claiming it wasn't an anti-gay hate crime. A suspect in the murder is scheduled to go on trial today in Uganda.

The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle of San Diego, who works closely with Bishop Christopher and Mugisha through St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, calls Mugisha “the most courageous gay man I know.” Read his commentary on Mugisha.

St. Paul’s Foundation has arranged a cocktail reception for Mugisha from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, at the Park Manor Hotel. San Diegans who want to hear Mugisha's story and support the cause of LGBT rights are encouraged to attend.

RSVP for the reception to the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle at aogle@stpaulsfoundation.com or by calling (949) 338-8830.