Emerson Rensink | The Anti-Media
In a gutsy move, California-based activist and entrepreneur Neal Gottlieb trolled the government of Uganda with a bold display of gay pride.
Gottlieb, also an accomplished mountaineer, planted a rainbow flag on the highest peak in Uganda, the summit of Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley, at an elevation of over 16 thousand feet. He then wrote a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni challenging him “to climb up and take it down” if he “doesn’t like it.”
Gottlieb’s actions came in response to the legislation enacted earlier this year that puts a life sentence on homosexuality in Uganda.
It also mandates that homosexual acts be reported by citizens.
For his reasoning when signing the bill into law, President Museveni said, “I cannot understand why a man can’t be attracted to a beautiful woman and instead get attracted to a fellow man.” He also stated his hope that scientists would be able to rehabilitate the country’s homosexuals, despite research showing that “ex-gaying” techniques are both harmful and ineffective.
A 2012 press release by the World Health Organization opened by stating: “Services that purport to ‘cure’ people with non-heterosexual sexual orientation lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people.”
The paper went on to quote Pan American Health Organization Director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago: “These practices are unjustifiable and should be denounced and subject to sanctions and penalties under national legislation. These supposed conversion therapies constitute a violation of the ethical principles of health care and violate human rights that are protected by international and regional agreements.”
The seriousness of Uganda’s new anti-gay law prompted Gottlieb to claim Uganda’s highest point for the country’s gay.
“Your country’s highest point is no longer its soil, its snow or a summit marker, but rather a gay pride flag waving brilliantly, shining down from above as a sign of protest and hope behalf of the many thousands of Ugandans that you seek to repress and the many more that understand the hideous nature of your repressive legislation.”
The full letter can be read at The Bilerico Project here.
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Emerson Rensink is an Olympia-trans*planted activist, organizer and citizen journalist. He helped organize the global March Against Monsanto in May 2013. In addition to writing for The Anti-Media, Emerson’s work can be found at Center for a Stateless Society. In his free time, Emerson likes to watch depressing documentaries and find funny, pointless things on the Internet.
Follow Emerson on Twitter: @emersonrensink
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