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Louie Crew
377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu

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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


12/21/1974
 
9/23/2009


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Sexuality in Uganda




In 1995 as I was about to depart for a meeting at Kanuga attended by
numerous Ugandans and others from Africa, a Ugandan called to counsel me.

"You are my friend and I want to share with you my perspective before you
make this trip.   You will understand why I can never publish this, because
it might dramatically diminish any influence that I might have in The
Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Church in Uganda.

"Many Ugandan Christians have never accepted the sexual mores of European
Christians. We are not interested in arguing with them: we know that many do
not respect us anyhow.  About sex we think they are wrong, yet we're not
about to give them details that would reduce even further their regard for
us.  But you need to know this before you go to face the kinds of criticism
that will likely be heaped on you.

"For many of us, sex is what one horney person on a palate does with the
horney person on the next palate.  For many, it does not matter whether the
person on the next palate is of the same or of an opposite gender, nor for
many, whether the person is married or single.   Sexuality for many of us is
not an identity thing, but a behavior thing.   In no way does that diminish
our commitment to our spouses and our families.   In fact, one of the major
problems you and Ernest pose as persons in an openly acknowledged gay
commitment is that you have cut yourselves off from having children and from
the many other family obligations most of us Africans  treasure."

In their book "Boy-Wives and Female Husbands: Studies of African
Homosexualities" anthropologists  Will Roscoe and Stephen O. Murray
gathered many essays that document my Ugandan counselor's point of view.
When Christians arrived in Africa they were horrified at the wide-spread
acceptance of many sexual behaviors that were taboo for Europeans.   As they
gained power in African communities, the Christian missionaries often
influenced not so much a change of behavior, but a loss of candor about it.
They were masters at teaching hypocrisy European style.

In Februraty 2001, I was with a group in Kampala that met with most of the
bishops of the Sudan and most of those of Uganda.    During our time there,
we stayed at the Speke Hotel, opposite the site of the palace of the former
dictator Idi Amin.   (A huge mural in the hotel depicts explorer Speke
"discovering" the source of the Nile, as if it were really of no importance
when only Africans knew about it!)   My room was on the ground level, and
opened to the outside, not to a hallway.  The walkway in front led to a bar
of the hotel.   Several times I was approached by Ugandans offering 
sexual favors, many of them obviously bright young men.

If the only homosexual persons to whom I were exposed were sexual tourists
or the sons of my neighbors cavorting with them at the Speke Hotel, I would
be as opposed to homosexuality as Archbishop Peter Orombi is.

In addition to the fear of gay demons  that Gordon Gritter discusses,
ecclesiastical and legal decisions are much complicated by a widespread
secrecy about the actual behaviors of Ugandans.  That's true in several
other African countries as well.  In Zimbabwe, dictater Robert Mugabe has
demonstrated the polical capital that can be made by scape-goating gay
people.

Into this darkness, let there be light!

Louie, L1 Newark





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