Kushaba Moses Mworeko
Kushaba Moses Mworeko (b. 1 February 1979 in Kagonge, Bushenyi) is a Ugandan LGBT rights activist, combat medic and blogger. Mworeko, who is gay, was involved in a U.S. asylum case following an interview he gave to an LGBT newspaper in the U.S. (Metro Weekly) which published the interview in 2010 along with his picture and full identity—effectively outing him. Following that publication, a Ugandan tabloid saw the interview and reprinted portions of it along with his picture with the headline: "[This] Gay Monster Raped Boys in School but Failed to Bonk Wife" – effectively distorting the content of that interview and putting his life in danger in a country like Uganda where homosexuality is illegal and where at the time Ugandan Member of Parliament (MP) David Bahati has introduced his "Kill the Gays Bill". According to a 28 September 2010 issue published on Box Turtle Bulletin and authored by writer Jim Burroway, Burroway accused the Ugandan tabloid (Red Pepper) of "gay-baiting and gay-bashing journalism" and for "grossly distorting that same interview in its write-up."
Early life[edit | edit source]
Mworeko was born on 1 February 1979 in Kagonge, Bushenyi District, Uganda to a "well-to-do family." His father was a business man. Although born in Kagonge, he didn't live there, but attended boarding school from the age of 7 in the district. Mworeko also lived with his dad in Ishaka. Both of his parents are dead. His dad died when he was finishing elementary school, and his mom died when he was 15 years old - in junior school. Both of his parents died from AIDS–related illnesses. Mworeko, who is the firstborn has two brothers and three sisters.
Outing and asylum[edit | edit source]
In October 2009, around the same time Ugandan politician David Bahati was introducing his "Kill the Gays" Bill, Mworeko, who usually goes by his middle name "Moses", made his first trip to the United States. The official purpose of his visit was to participate in an HIV/AIDS conference on South Padre Island, Texas. Although that conference was the official purpose given for such a visit, Mworeko had also hoped of "finding a U.S. port to shelter him from the homophobic storm back in Uganda." As a gay Ugandan living in the closet in his home country, he was unable to disclose that fact from his country of origin in-light of the political and social climate in Uganda relating to LGBT issues.
In November of that year, Mworeko's visa ran-out, but he chose to remain in the U.S. in fear of going back home. From Texas, Mworeko traveled to Washington, D.C., where he participated in a press conference organised by LGBT rights campaign groups such as the Human Rights Campaign, Truth Wins Out, GLAAD, Americans United and others in order to oppose the February 2010 National Prayer Breakfast organised by the Christian organisation The Fellowship Foundation. According to the U.S. based LGBT Magazine Metro Weekly: "The Fellowship" (aka "The Family"), are reported to have ties to Bahati and other homophobic elements in Uganda. Bahati was even initially invited to the breakfast." As a result of that, Mworeko joined forces with Truth Wins Out and others in their event "The American Prayer" in order to protest the ties between The Fellowship and the supporters of the "draconian" Kill the Gays Bill introduced to Uganda's House of Parliament by Bahati. Although Mworeko spoke at the press conference, he only identified himself by his middle name, and also had a bag over his head to conceal his identity – fearing of being outed back home and his life put in danger.
In July 2010 (five months after the event), Mworeko gave his first interview to Will O’Bryan of Metro Weekly in which he revealed his full identity. In that 2010 interview, Mworeko told O’Bryan that he was in the United States to attend a HIV/AIDS conference - the same time the "Kill the Gays Bill" was being introduced in Uganda. He also relayed to O’Bryan that, in-light of the political and social climate in his country pertaining to LGBT issues, he feared for his life and decided to overstay his visa and sought political asylum in the United States. Mworeko's original application for asylum was denied by the U.S. authorities, to which he later appealed.
With both his parents dead due to AIDS–related illnesses, and impelled to flee Uganda due its Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Mworeko's interview with the Washington D.C.'s lesbian and gay Metro Weekly magazine was published with his full identity and picture on the cover of their magazine with the headline "The Promised Land" — in reference to his legal asylum in the U.S. The Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper saw the U.S. interview Mworeko gave and reprinted portions of it in its 24 September 2010 issue with the headline (including his picture): "[This] Gay Monster Raped Boys in School but Failed to Bonk Wife", and then went on to publish the following distorted version of the U.S. interview Mworeko gave to Metro Weekly:
- "Today we expose Moses Kushaba Mworeko a gay monster who has confessed to viciously raping kids in primary school and setting off a sex craze that swept throughout the school like wildfire. ... He made his disgusting confession in The Metro Weekly a Newspaper in the US.
- In his sordid interview Mworeko, 31, brags how he started bonking his primary school boyfriend and how his act of bonking a fellow boy was copied by all the boys in his dormitory."
Following that write-up by the Ugandan-based tabloid, Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin wrote a piece in which he criticised Red Pepper of "gay-baiting and gay-bashing journalism" and for "grossly distorting that same interview in its write-up."
In response to the distorted version provided in the Red Pepper write-up, Wayne Besen, activist and Founding Executive Director of Truth Wins Out accused Red Pepper of "sparking anti-gay witch-hunts"; "a vile smear campaign"; and called for the paper to be closed with the following criticism:
- "In all my years of activism, this has got to be the most disgusting, immoral, vile, smear campaign that I have ever witnessed. The Red Pepper should be immediately shut down for its libelous reporting and slimy journalism. This hit piece shows that we must redouble our efforts to stop the hate campaign that has infected Uganda and other nations in Africa. We must ensure that U.S. evangelicals stop spreading their special brand of murderous love on this continent.
- Clearly, Moses’ life is in grave danger. The United States government should put Moses on the fast-track to citizenship to keep him from being slaughtered."
Courted by the U.S. media following that exposé which has garnered attention both in the U.S. and Uganda, Mworeko gave an interview to KPFA's journalist Ann Garrison about his predicament and the situation for LGBT Ugandans back home. In that interview, published in OpEdNews on 28 November 2010, Mworeko reiterated the danger on his life if he is to ever return to Uganda. He went on to state that certain newspapers such as "Red Pepper, Uganda's Rolling Stone, and the Onion, which published pictures and addresses of those they called Uganda's Top Homos" are known for outing those they suspect to be gay and putting their lives in danger. Even heterosexual advocates for LGBT rights such as Bishop Senyonjo have been wrongly labeled as gay just because he supports LGBT rights, and these "witch hunting tabloids in Uganda" have kept asking the government to hang the gays.
Facing incarceration and possible death, Mworeko remained in the U.S.–appealing his asylum. In May 2011, Mworeko was granted asylum by the U.S. after his first application was denied. He resides in Washington, D.C. As of July 2013, Mworeko was completing his U.S. National Guard training as a combat medic at Fort Sam Houston.
Now a U.S. citizen, Mworeko professed his love for Washington. In another interview with Metro Weekly published on 3 July 2013, Mworeko told Will O'Bryan (Metro Weekly's reporter):
- "I love Washington, D.C.," [...] "It’s home. It’s taken care of me. Washingtonians have sheltered me. I can never thank Washingtonians enough."
Others articles of the Topic LGBT : Bandy Kiki, Snatch Game, The Boys in the Band (2020 film), Sullivan's Gulch Bar & Grill, Nina West, Pride High, Oregon Women's Land Trust
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References[edit | edit source]
- Metro Weekly Magazine, Spc. Kushaba Moses Mworeko by Will O'Bryan (July 3, 2013). For his date of birth, see:
- "A winding, asylum-seeking path took Mworeko to D.C., where he landed three months later, on his 31st birthday, Feb. 1, 2010."  (Retrieved 31 March 2019).
- Note that the above link is Metro Weekly's July 2013 issue about Mworeko. For its original 2010 issue which outed Mworeko (and also contained information about his birth day) to the Ugandan tabloids, see: Metro Weekly, The Promised Land : Kushaba Moses Mworeko left Uganda to seek asylum in America, but now he's living in limbo, by Will O'Bryan (July 28, 2010) (Retrieved 31 March 2019)
- Metro Weekly Magazine, The Promised Land : Kushaba Moses Mworeko left Uganda to seek asylum in America, but now he's living in limbo, by Will O'Bryan (July 28, 2010) (Retrieved 31 March 2019)
- Truth Wins Out (TWO), ‘Newspaper’ Seeks Revenge On Ugandan LGBT Hero Moses Mworeko After He Appears In TWO Video, by Wayne Besen (September 27, 2010)  (Retrieved 31 March 2019)
- Truth Wins Out, Ugandan Civil Rights Leader, Moses, Unmasked: ‘Let My People Go’, by Wayne Besen (July 29, 2010)  (Retrieved 31 March 2019)
- KPFA's journalist Ann Garrison interview with Kushaba Moses Mworeko [in] OpEdNews, KPFA News: Gay Rights, Uganda and San Francisco, on the 32nd Anniversary of the Assassination of Harvey Milk (11/28/2010)  (Retrieved 31 March 2019)
- KPFA interview of Mworeko by Ann Garrison [in] Black Star News, Kushaba Moses Mworeko on Unganda homophobia, November 27, 2010  (Retrieved 31 March 2019)
- Huffpost, Jim Burroway (profile) 
- CNN, Therapy to change 'feminine' boy created a troubled man, family says, by Scott Bronstein and Jessi Joseph (CNN) (June 10, 2011)  - cached version (Retrieved 31 March 2019)
- Mworeko profile, "Ugandan Tabloid Grossly Distorts An American Paper's Interview With Gay Asylum Seeker" by Jim Burroway. Box Turtle Bulletin. September 28, 2010.
- Metro Weekly, New Neighbor: Gay Ugandan living in D.C. wins asylum in the U.S., by Will O’Bryan (May 26, 2011)  (Retrieved 31 March 2019)
- Politico, 10 big asylum cases in the U.S. : 7. Kushaba Moses Mworeko, by Tal Kopan (08/01/2013) (Retrieved 31 March 2019)
- "LEZ GET IDEAS - The Pillar of Information". LEZ GET IDEAS. Archived from the original on 2012-01-19. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
[edit | edit source]
- Official Truth Wins Out YouTube Channel: Moses Offers A Message of Hope To LGBT Ugandans, published on 23 Aug 2010. In this video, Mworeko's face is not hidden.
- Official Truth Wins Out YouTube Channel: Help TWO's Relaunch to Fight for Equality and Against Right Wing Extremism. In this video, we see a still picture of Mworeko covering his head with a brown paper bag (from timeline 0:24). This video was published on 14 Nov 2018
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