As with Florence Kizza, the judge in charge of his case had decided that John would face no immediate danger if he returned to Uganda, changed his behaviour and moved to a different part of the country to live “discreetly”. This was in spite of the fact that John’s photograph had been printed on the front page of a national newspaper in Uganda only a few weeks before he was deported. Living discreetly was just about the last thing he could do.
Within days of touching down in Kampala, John was arrested. The police threw him into a cell with several other inmates and subjected him to regular beatings. “The beatings are not something you can say you get used to,” he says now. “It’s something you expect.”
None of this should be too surprising to anyone who has been watching the news coming out of Uganda, or at least those who follow the wonderful Rachel Maddow’s interviews on the matter (one of which was so big it had to be cut up into two different parts for YouTube). Still, this sobering piece by Elizabeth Day, profiling a gay man and a lesbian both forced to flee Uganda and their subsequent problems when they arrived in Britain, weaves essential context into heartbreaking narratives. This is essential reading.
If you don’t have the time to read the entire piece, at least look at the sidebar, that lists the absurd number of places where violent homophobia is institutional.