Rowan Williams and Gay Asylum Seekers
How does one identify a lesbian? Do they look different? Do they dress, walk, speak, smile, frown or somehow deport themselves in a recognisably “lesbian” fashion? Do they use Chanel 666?
Archbishop Rowan Williams, speaking from the Dublin Summit of Anglican Archbishops, gave a welcome urging to the UK Government to protect gay and lesbian asylum seekers rather than send them back to their countries to face death. He was speaking after the killing in Kampala of David Kato, a well-known Ugandan gay rights activist. Brenda Namigadde, a Ugandan citizen, is being held at Yarl’s Wood detention centre having had her asylum claim rejected. The grounds for rejection were that there was insufficient evidence that she is a lesbian. She had fled Uganda in 2003 after receiving threats of violence. Her partner is Canadian.
One wonders what evidence might be sufficient. How does one identify a lesbian? Do they look “different”? Do they dress, walk, speak, smile, frown or somehow deport themselves in a recognisably “lesbian” fashion? Is it something to do with how they react to men? Are their heads (or eyes or ears or noses) bigger or smaller than “normal” people’s? Do they have a specifically lesbian smell? Chanel 666? (“666” is the mark of the beast for those not acquainted with the more esoteric “Christian” interpretations of the Revelation of St John).
Lest anyone think that this blogger is over-egging the proverbial pudding, just read the comments made by the Anglican Pastor officiating at David Kato’s funeral. The pastor gave a homophobic tirade before being escorted away by police. An excommunicated pastor completed the funeral service. Excommunicated? He spoke out in defence of homosexuals. Church leaders in Uganda, including the Most Rev Henry Orombi the Anglican Archbishop, claim that homosexuality is incompatible with the word of God. He refused the invitation to the Dublin meeting because the female head of the Episcopal Church of the USA would be present. Worse that being a woman, she is a supporter of the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. The Ugandan Parliament is about to debate a bill proposing that homosexuals be imprisoned for life.
Areas of Uganda suffer from drought and their inhabitants from malnutrition. Doubtless the Ugandan churches are actively working to alleviate the sufferings of their compatriots. Would that they had the same compassion for their compatriots whose sexual orientation, written in their DNA and not a whim of the moment, leads them to be brutalised, even killed.
What has happened to “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”?