Cutting aid to Africa won’t help gay rights

First published in the Boston Globe on Saturday, 11 February, 2012

David Bahati reintroduced anti-gay legislation in the Uganda parliament, to a standing ovation. Photo image: Ronald Kabuubi/Associated Press

WHEN Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Geneva at the International Human Rights Day last year, she sent a strong warning to countries passing anti-homosexuality bills that US foreign aid would be tied to tolerance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The message was received with both anger and jubilation.

For the LGBT community, it was an outcome of months of lobbying. Within African countries that abhor the idea of gay rights, it was viewed as another imposition of the United States’ continued policing of sovereign countries. Homosexuality is banned in 37 African countries.

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Recognising Women of Courage

L-R: Parisa Hafezi from Iran, Chiranuch Premchaiporn from Thailand, Adela Navarro Bello from Mexico and the Lifetime Achievement Award to Katie Adie from UK at the Courage in Journalism Awards ceremony on 27 October 2011(Photo image: IWMF)

The Courage in Journalism Awards were in a couple of hours. Rosie and I got dressed to go to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It was raining so I wore pants instead of the skirt I had  planned to wear. I took out my Kenneth Cole shoes, a good find in a thrift store, where I had gone to buy sweaters and couldn’t resist adding the shoes to my shopping cart.  We thought that we would make it on time. We got out and ran into Grand Central Station. Rosie was running ahead of me. I could not keep up. The Kenneth Cole shoes were not made for fast running and the Dr Scholl in-sole padding I bought for the heels are actually bogus. I felt my feet getting sore.  Note to self: don’t buy additional in-sole whatever stuff they advertise on TV. Continue reading