Finally getting the international recognition he deserves after winning an RFK Human Rights award last fall, Ugandan gay activist Frank Mugisha is profiled in the current double issue of The New Yorker. It's another chapter in staff writer Alexis Okeowo's forthcoming book about LGBT Africa. Two weeks ago she compiled a brief list of the 8 Most Fascinating Africans of 2012, mandatory reading for anyone stuck in an all-US/Europe news cycle. Meet Malawi's lady president, Nigerian pop star twin brothers, Cameroon's gay rights lawyer Alice Nkom, and a 19 year-old college girl who, between classes, is a member of Parliament.
Abstract says: "LETTER FROM UGANDA about activist Frank Mugisha. On a breezy October night two years ago, Frank Mugisha was having a beer with friends in Kampala when he was shown a local tabloid called Rolling Stone, which had outed him and ninety-nine other gay Ugandans. The next morning, Mugisha—who leads Sexual Minorities Uganda, orSMUG, the country’s largest gay-rights organization—scanned the article and e-mailed it to other gay-rights activists and lawyers. The fallout had been immediate. David Kato, at that time Uganda’s best-known gay activist, began receiving threats, and was murdered three months later. In 2009, a year before the article was published, David Bahati, a Ugandan politician, had introduced an anti-homosexuality bill to parliament. When the Rolling Stone article came out, LGBT activists, feeling under attack from the bill, which had not yet been put to a vote, decided to sue the paper for defamation and inciting violence. SMUG led the initiative. In the past two years, SMUG has documented more than fifty cases of discrimination, harassment, and violence against LGBTs in Uganda. In May, gay-activist groups, under SMUG’s leadership, opened the country’s first LGBT health clinic. Ugandans have traditionally been indifferent to homosexuality, as long as it stays in the closet. International disapproval of the Bahati bill has allowed Mugisha and his fellow-activists to strengthen the Ugandan gay-rights movement. The efforts of anti-gay advocates like Bahati are partly informed by outside forces—in particular, by American evangelical missionaries."