To close out a musical year of 2010, check out my year in reviews for the following categories. . . . .
Looking forward to what's in store for music in 2011. . . Happy New Year!!
Their group is just six months old, but members of the LGBTQ Presidents In Higher Education are presenting a strong front in support of gay and lesbian university community members.
LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education mission is to advance effective leadership in the realm of post-secondary education, supports professional development of LGBTQ leaders in that sector, and provides education and advocacy regarding LGBTQ issues within the global academy and for the public at large.
The second Meeting of the LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education took place in Los Angeles on the AULA campus on November 21 and 22, 2010. President Neal King was especially pleased to host the distinguished group of educational leaders.
“Pioneers and progressives by nature and history, and long an extremely LGBTQ affirmative university, AULA was honored to host this august group of courageous men and women who walk their talk and provide needed and impactful leadership in American Higher Education in the area of LGBTQ rights, scholarship, and advocacy,” commented Dr. King.
The aim of this year’s meeting was to make preparations for a panel presentation at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Council of Education (ACE) to be held March 5-8, 2011. Over the course of the two-day meeting, the presidents’ presentation addressed the issue of diversity and leadership in higher education. As a participant in the ACE conference, the LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education will contribute a unique voice to the conference agenda.
Joining the ranks of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, the group sat together -- some with their partners -- to share their challenges and triumphs as openly gay university leaders. Watch below.
Thousands of children demonstrate against homosexuality in Uganda's capital, Kampala, in January. A bill being considered by the Ugandan Parliament would increase penalties for homosexual conduct and criminalize many related activities.
In October, a tabloid called Rolling Stone — no relation to the American magazine — published an article headlined "100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak." The article listed names, addresses and hangouts of gay men and lesbians.
Frank Mugisha saw his photo. Then he noticed the subhead: "Hang them."
"I was shaken up. I was freaked out. I was scared," says Mugisha, who heads up the group Sexual Minorities Uganda. "I'm like, hang them? What is the general Ugandan community going to do to us if the media is calling for us to be hanged?"
On Tuesday, a judge in Uganda is expected to decide whether Rolling Stone may continue to publish the names of gay men and lesbians. Gay activists say that outing them puts them in danger. For example, a couple of days after his name and photo were printed, Mugisha received a text message from a university student.
"It said, 'We don't like homosexuals in Uganda and you guys should be executed. We know where you live, we know who you hang out with, we know who your friends are and we shall come and deal with you as the youth of Uganda.'"
Mugisha was not physically attacked. But others were, says Christopher Senyojo, a retired Anglican bishop who works with gays in Uganda.
"I know a girl whose house was stoned [and] had to run away for some time from that neighborhood," he says. "I've known people who have been attacked, because after this publication, bad elements started to hunt them down."
Across Africa, gay men and lesbians have been targeted for punishment or violent attacks in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Senegal and Cameroon. But Mugisha says, in Uganda, there's an American connection.
"Homophobia has always existed in Uganda," he says. "But I would say it's greatly increased over the past two years, ever since American evangelicals came to Uganda."
Specifically, he's referring to a conference in March 2009, when three Americans spoke to hundreds of people in Kampala about homosexuality. One of them was Scott Lively, who told the group: "The gay movement is an evil institution. The goal of the gay movement is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity."
Lively, who declined an interview, heads Abiding Truth Ministries, a conservative evangelical group in Massachusetts that claims people can be healed from homosexuality. On that same trip, Lively met with members of Uganda's Parliament, and a few months later, Parliament member David Bahati introduced a bill that would impose the death penalty on gays.
"I am trying to make sure there is a way to protect our children and make sure our traditional family, the culture that we believe in, is not polluted," Bahati said in an interview. He spoke to NPR while he was in Washington to attend an economic conference, but was prohibited from entering the building where the conference was held after the organizers learned of his bill.
Bahati says the vast majority of Ugandans oppose homosexuality, and he's just representing their views.
"There has been an impression that maybe Bahati is another Hitler, is another Saddam Hussein, is another Idi Amin of Uganda," he said. "I'm not that. I love people. I love gays, but we disagree on how we should approach this issue."
Bahati's bill — which will be considered as early as February — would exact the death penalty for consenting gay adults who are "serial offenders." It would give life imprisonment for touching someone of the same gender in a sexual way, and jail time for anyone — including friends and family — who doesn't turn gay people in.
"If it was passed, it would be terrible," says Senyojo. He believes what the law doesn't do, vigilantes would.
"The mob could definitely attack anybody who they said was a homosexual," he says.
The Obama administration has warned Uganda that this is a bad idea. Bahati says America should mind its own business.
"As God-fearing people, we know that man and woman were created to have a union, and we are very, very, very strong about this," he says. "This is our own view. We respect America for what they believe in. They should also respect Uganda for what they believe in."
Bahati says because of international pressure, he would consider removing the death penalty provisions. He adds that his bill has overwhelming support in the Parliament. But even if it fails, the current law barring "carnal knowledge against the order of nature" carries a penalty of life in prison.