Thank you for your inspiring words to the international community as we celebrate LGBT Pride around the world this month. There have been many examples of support and assistance given by your staff and the government of the United States to the struggling LGBT community in 76 countries where it is illegal to be LGBT. This stigma and persecution is also often transferred to LGBT allies.
While visiting the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda last week and accompanied by a delegation of LGBT service providers who are in need of PEPFAR and USAID resources, I met the retired Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi, as he was exiting the compound. He was either meeting with U.S. officials to discuss funding for his $15 million new Orombi Foundation or seeking a visa to return to the USA where he will raise money from American taxpayers and faith communities for his work in Uganda and throughout Africa.
While the LGBT community globally struggles to find funds for basic human services and HIV prevention we are discovering disturbing trends in the allocation of PEPFAR and USAID funds to Christian fundamentalist organizations that are often in the front lines of encouraging the further criminalization of homosexuality. My recent visit to Uganda also uncovered a disturbing trend among religious NGO’s who have agreed to serve most vulnerable populations including LGBT and men who have sex with men (MSM), signed contracts with the U.S. government but define their own vulnerable populations excluding these two target populations. There is no recourse when these contracts are not fulfilled. A recent report from amfAR shows how this problem is affecting eight southern African countries and may be systemic in many of the countries we are supporting with PEPFAR and USAID funds.
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