As we continue to mourn for Orlando, it’s important to not lose sight of homophobia’s status as a global problem. Offering some depressing perspective on that note is a story out of Uganda—which remains a horrific place for LGBT people and where homosexual activity is illegal— via KuchuTimes, “Africa’s first collective online radio, television and news platform focusing on LGBTI issues in Africa,” according to its Twitter. Reportedly, several students have been expelled from western Uganda’s boys-only Mbarara High School after being shamed and tortured by fellow students for being gay. Reports KuchuTimes:
It is reported that around 2am on the morning of Sunday 12th 2016, three students in their senior three were caught viewing pictures on gay dating sites on their smart phones. Before they knew what was happening, they were surrounded by a gang of their fellow students who started shouting, “homosexuals, homosexuals!” The noise alarmed the rest of the student’s community who gathered and started beating the three.
The victims were battered severely and forced to divulge names of other students involved in homosexuality. In fear of being tortured further, they named a number of students; one of whom was the Head boy.
The Police intervened and rescued the victims from the lynching mob before escorting them to their homes. Reports further indicate that as of Tuesday afternoon, management had a list of over 20 students who were being accused of engaging in same sex relationships and had resolved to suspend them indefinitely.
Three injured students are reportedly in the hospital.
Ugandan gay activist Frank Mugisha reported a version of the story on his Twitter yesterday:
Uganda:7 students have been suspended from Mbarara high school & 1 in hospital after severe attacks on over 20 students suspected to be gay— Dr. Frank Mugisha (@frankmugisha) June 14, 2016
Last year, Mbarara High School copy-and-pasted a news report on its Facebook regarding the closing of Ntare School after two students were accused of being gay and a “rampage” by their fellow students ensued. “Teachers however, and other administrators came in time to save the two from being attacked. They also cautioned the students to keep the matter secret for the school’s reputation,” says the post. “This however did not go well with the student community, who on Tuesday night launched a violent strike after night studies.”
Gawker reached out to Mbarara High School via its Facebook page and will update this post if and when we hear back.