Tourism officials from Uganda — the nation that nearly passed a law condemning gay people to death — say their nation is safe for LGBT travelers.
Members of Uganda Tourism recently met with members with the U.S.-based International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, according to the British website SoSoGay. The meeting was arranged by the Africa Travel Association and took place during an American travel convention. IGLTA president John Tanzella is quoted by SoSoGay as saying, "The delegation said that gay people are welcome. They were very concerned about the perception of Uganda in Western Europe and North America, and claimed that the backlash caught them by surprise. No one thought it would pass. The delegates all pointed out that they have friends and family who are gay."
Uganda passed an "anti-homosexuality" law in February that would have sent some gay people to prison for life; an earlier version condemned some to death. The legislation even included punishments for heterosexual people who help LGBT people.The law was overturned in court this summer, but extreme antigay animus remains in the east African nation, fanned by homophobic politicians and tabloids that promote violence against LGBTs. Kidnappings persist and many live in constant fear. One of the nation's most prominent gay activists, David Kato, was murdered in 2011.
Despite this, Uganda still seeks money from LGBT travelers. Out Traveler actually received an invite to a Ugandan "Travel Update Seminar Dinner" earlier this month in Los Angeles (we didn't attend).
Read about a gay man's journey to Uganda here.