Rev. Mark Kiyimba, a vocal opponent of the Ugandan government’s anti-homosexuality bill will make severa upcomingl visits in the greater Hartford area.
Kiyimba will speak on Thursday, (Sept. 20) at the Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford at 7 p.m.; Sunday, (Sept. 23) at the Unitarian Universalist Society: East in Manchester at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m; and Monday, (Sept. 24) at UConn's Rainbow Center at noon.
He will speak about the draconian attempts of the Ugandan government to imprison or—in some cases—impose the death penalty on any homosexual person, and his quest to oppose those measures.
The Bahati bill, named after its author, David Bahati in Uganda's parliament, was introduced into the Ugandan Parliament in 2009, calling for life imprisonment or death for homosexuals. The recent re-emergence of the bill has brought rebuke from Western donor nations, according to the PBS Newshour but not enough to bring its demise.
Kiyimba, 36, is visiting the United States to gain further support against the bill and to put pressure on the Ugandan government to change its ways. U.S Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton recently stated: “The president has directed all U.S. government agencies engaged overseas to combat the criminalization of LGBT status and conduct, to enhance efforts to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, to ensure that our foreign assistance promotes the protection of LGBT rights.” Kiyimba hopes to build on that directive by broadening international support for abolishing the Bahati bill.
Minister of the New Life Kampala Unitarian Universalist Church, Kiyimba also runs a school for 150 orphans who have lost their parents to HIV and AIDS; and an orphanage for children infected with the virus. Earlier this year, he was presented with the National Education Association’s “Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights,” an award given to a nominee whose activities in human rights significantly impact education and the achievement of equal opportunity for those facing discrimination due to their sexual orientation.
His New Life Unitarian Universalist Church of Kampala is one of the only congregations in Uganda that has publically announced that its doors are open to sexual minorities and gender non-conforming people. For this openness . Kiyimba has received hundreds of death threats. But he remains undaunted.
Connecticut’s Unitarian Universalist clergy are honored to call him a colleague and will do whatever we can to support his life-saving work in Uganda.
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