An American Gay in Uganda: Visiting Earth's Most Homophobic Place

7.30.2013

By Clark Harding

Clark Harding tell us why he visited Uganda, possibly the world's most inhospitable place for gay people.

Out writer and adventurer Clark Harding has always wanted to see gorillas in the mist, so a few years back he decided to visit the world's best place for primate sighting: Uganda. What he didn't realize until right before he departed was the African nation was becoming engulfed in antigay hysteria, much of it stoked by American evangelical leaders; the parliament has long considered legislation that could include a death sentence for some homosexual acts. Clark recalls his African adventure below and tells us how he managed to realize his dreams and stay safe.

November 2009

“Did you hear the news?” My friend Kristin’s voice was aflutter. I put my vintage iPhone 3G on speaker and closed my office door.

“War?” I asked nervously sitting back at my desk.

“Worse,” she responded.

“Genocide?” I bit my nails.

“Wrong country dumbass,” She snarked. “Uganda just announced its plans to pass a bill…executing homosexuals.”

“Well that’s clever,” I said after a moment, “Seeing as we’re going there, like, tomorrow.”

“Should we cancel?” Kristin asked.

“Hell no,” I stated nobly. “Nothing will stop me from having my Sigourney moment.”

January 2010

The chimp in the tree had a massive erection. He made serious eye contact as he started to stroke it. I blushed, put my binoculars down and turned away. I was looking to have a nature nerd’s wet dream, but this was ridiculous. I mean, I’ve had dogs hump my legs before, but I was certainly caught off guard, standing at the bottom of Uganda’s Kyambura Gorge; the site of such evolutionary significance. A bagillion years ago these playful primates crawled out of this ravine, stood up, and moseyed their way through geologic time in to chatty homo-sapiens like me. “Oh, that is definitely your closest ancestor,” said Kristin with a smirk. “I bet all the boys back home approach you that way.” We shared a giggle.

“Are you married?” Asked our Tracker from behind us. Kristin and I stopped dead and turned to face him. We both realized we weren’t wearing wedding rings and Kristin totally just cracked a gay joke, loudly. Oops. Our Tracker was a tall African man in a Park uniform…with a gun (Because, when searching for chimps in the wild it’s important to carry an automatic weapon, obviously). “Um…we’re good friends,” said Kristin playing up her Catholic School Girl innocence. The Tracker nodded politely but the concept of a man and woman traveling together, unmarried, seemed confusing to him. We both let out a sigh of relief when he decided not to push the topic further. He plodded farther down the gorge. Before following, I caught one last glimpse of my pervy little wanker in the tree, and wondered how far we’ve evolved at all…

Tags: Features, Uganda

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