New Neighbor

Gay Ugandan living in D.C. wins asylum in the U.S.

While the ongoing uncertainty of Uganda’s ”kill the gays” bill – a for-now tabled proposal to radically reinforce Ugandan law, which already criminalizes homosexuality – has Ugandan gays and lesbians fearing for their futures, one gay Ugandan is finally breathing easy. Earlier this month, Kushaba Moses Mworeko, received his official notice that the United States has granted his request for asylum.

Kushaba Moses Mworeko
Kushaba Moses Mworeko
(Photo by Todd Franson)

”The letter says I have asylum status indefinitely,” says Mworeko, who arrived in the U.S. from Uganda in October 2009. ”After one year, I have to apply for permanent residency.”

Coming to the U.S. for an HIV/AIDS conference in Texas, Mworeko knew he would try to stay in America. That determination, aside from prompting his asylum request, brought him to D.C. where he helped Truth Wins Out and the Human Rights Campaign protest the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast. The breakfast organizers, The Fellowship, aka The Family, have reportedly fueled Uganda’s homophobic fires. Initially, the Ugandan parliamentarian who authored the ”kill the gays” bill, David Bahati, had even been invited to the breakfast.

From D.C., Mworeko moved to the San Francisco Bay area to work with another attorney. But with strong indications that his case would reach a successful conclusion, Mworeko returned to D.C. in March.

”I love Washington,” Mworeko says, adding that he hopes to one day visit Uganda without danger. ”This is my home. I will go to school. I will get a job and start working. I want to do a master’s of social work with a concentration in mental health and substance abuse. I feel that’s where I can make a difference.”

He’s already making a difference by working with Get Equal to challenge The Family. To that end, he’s contributing to the ”Venus Plus X” organization’s blog with the component ”Global Sexual Freedom Rights.”

In the meantime, Mworeko is excited to celebrate his second Capital Pride, and notes the contrast between his old home and new in the Capital Pride Parade.

”The encouragement from these leaders – the congresswoman, the police, all these people – being in the front and leading is awesome.”

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.

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