Film explores LGBT crisis in Uganda, urges support

Congregations have an opportunity to stand against the oppression of LGBT people in Uganda. A new documentary film, God Loves Uganda, which explores a campaign by Western evangelical religious leaders to promote intolerance and punishment for LGBT people in Africa, is available for viewing by congregations. A movie trailer is on the website.

The film follows prominent conservative American and Ugandan religious leaders who are actively attempting to create an African culture based on religious bigotry and Biblical intolerance.

The Rev. Mark Kiyimba, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Kampala, Uganda and who runs a housing program for HIV orphans, homeless LGBT youth and others, is asking UU congregations in North America to raise their voices against this tide of intolerance.

In a video posted on the Standing on the Side of Love website Kiyimba said there are religious leaders and others in Uganda who do support LGBT people, but without backing from North American allies, they are afraid to speak out.

Kiyimba urges congregations to view the film and decide how they could support LGBT people in Uganda. To view the film, fill out an online application. Next to your  congregation’s name on the application add the letters “UUA” to receive a reduced rate of $150 for screening the film.

The film will be shown in theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Congregations in those cities will not be permitted to show the film. They are urged  instead to gather groups to attend one of the movie screenings. Bulk ticket prices will be available. Screenings around the country will be listed on the God Loves Uganda website as they are scheduled.

Congregations are also invited to support a fund created by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the UU United Nations Office, called the UUA/UU-UNO LGBT Uganda Fund, either by direct contributions or by naming it as a Share-the-Plate recipient.

LGBT Ministries office ready to help

The UUA office formerly known as the Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns has a new name and new staff members.

The office is now known as LGBT Ministries and is part of the UUA’s Multicultural Growth & Witness staff group. Delfin Bautista is LGBT Ministries program coordinator and Alex Kapitan is Congregational Justice administrator within that office.

Kapitan and Bautista noted that when the office last changed its name in 1996 (for the fifth time since its founding in 1973) there was no consensus in the larger world about the order of those identity labels. But now there is. “In recent years LGBT has become the dominant acronym, and so we have decided that the UUA should follow suit and speak the language that the most people will be able to identify with,” they reported.

Bautista said, “We welcome questions about the Welcoming Congregation and Living the Welcoming Congregation programs, including ways congregations can expand these efforts beyond the congregation and into the larger community.”

The office can also respond to questions about how to provide education around LGBT issues and how to engage communities of color and people of all ages with these issues—one topic of focus in particular for the office is ministering to LGBT youth. The office can also help with creating worship services and with ways to be involved with legislative efforts around issues such as marriage equality, transgender civil rights, and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Bautista and Kapitan can also offer help in creating lectures, workshops, and other presentations.

The Rev. Keith Kron, former director of the OBGLTC, is now transitions director in the UUA’s Ministries and Faith Development staff group.

Email LGBT Ministries or contact staff members directly at (202-393-2255 x15) or (617-948-6461.