Toronto has become a refuge for LGBT people fleeing persecution in their home countries. On the eve of WorldPride 2014, The Grid invited local asylum-seekers to share their stories.
At the end of March, 30,000 Ugandans gathered at a stadium in Kampala for a celebration in honour of President Yoweri Museveni. The leader had just passed harsh new laws that require citizens to report gay people to authorities and mandate that “repeat homosexuals” be jailed for life. (The original bill included a death-penalty clause, which was ultimately dropped.) The crowd laughed and sang, waving placards that read “Thank you for saving the future of Uganda” and “Homosexuality = AIDS = 100%.”
The nation is one of the most dangerous in the world for LGBT people, its homophobia fuelled in part by U.S.–funded evangelical churches. In 2011, David Kato, a prominent gay activist, was bludgeoned to death at his home after a newspaper ran photos, names, and addresses of LGBT people in Uganda along with a banner that read “Hang Them.”