Amid ‘Kill the Gays’ bill uproar, Ugandan LGBTQ activist is killed

Ugandan LGBTQ activist Brian Wasswa died on Oct. 5, one day after the 28-year-old was attacked at home amid rising tensions in the east African nation over its beleaguered lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. Sexual Minorities Uganda, a local advocacy group, said Wasswa’s death was the fourth LGBTQ-related murder there in three months.

The death of Wasswa, who was gay and gender-nonconforming, comes as human rights advocates have been sounding the alarm that the Ugandan government is ramping up pressure on the country’s LGBTQ community by threatening to reconsider the infamous 2014 “Kill the Gays” bill that increased the penalty for homosexuality from life in prison to death.

“When politicians, members of Parliament call for laws, the reintroduction of the ‘anti-gay’ law, they are responsible for this increase in vulnerability in the LGBT community,” Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, stated in a press release announcing Wasswa’s death.

Uganda is highly conservative and a dangerous place to be openly gay. In 2010, the local tabloid The Rolling Stone published a list of “top homos,” and soon after, activist David Kato was killed. Many LGBTQ Ugandans have fled the country to seek asylum and refuge elsewhere.

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