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In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato - Uganda's first openly gay man - and his fellow activists work against the clock to defeat the legislation while combating vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one, not even the filmmakers, is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes the movement to its core and sends shock waves around the world. Written by
With the critical acclaim that God Loves Uganda has gotten with talk of an Oscar nomination for it, this film Call Me Kuchu has been somewhat eclipsed. That is a pity because it is a powerful look at the same issue from a different point of view.
God Loves Uganda focuses on the outside help that American evangelicals are having in Africa with the passage of strict draconian type laws or the enforcement of those left by colonial powers. Call Me Kuchu is an examination of the suffering of the Ugandan LGBT community. The term 'Kuchu' is that derogatory term of gay people along the lines 'maricon' in Hispanic cultures and others in English speaking areas.
There are some heartfelt testimonies of gay men and lesbians forced from home and hearth by prejudice stoked by the church. That's a universal story, but in Africa one has far less resources if one is LGBT to draw on than in the USA.
One of the lesbians echoes something I've maintained for years that we owe this to colonialism. Uganda was a British colony and when the British quit they left all their Victorian era laws in place and the attitudes. They've moved on, but the tradition lives and is being fed and refined by rightwing fundamentalist evangelicals.
David Kato figures prominently in this film. After being 'outed' in a Ugandan magazine ironically entitled Rolling Stone, he paid with his life in a brutal attack by home invaders which shocked the world. The movie was being filmed during the Kato homicide and the producers got footage they never bargained for with his funeral being interrupted by religious zealots. Kind of the Ugandan version of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Bishop Christopher Senyonjo who should be getting as much acclaim as Bishop Desmond Tutu is also in the film and still very much in the fight for LGBT equality in Africa. Like Tutu he's in my consideration for a Nobel Peace Prize. Not every person who takes up the ministry of any faith has to be a homophobe.
If you appreciated God Loves Uganda you will feel the same about Call Me Kuchu. And this review is dedicated to Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy whom I met at a political fundraiser. She advised me about this film which she had come across in her own human rights work honoring her late father. Glad I took your advice and saw this.
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