GLAAD, God Loves Uganda, and faith leaders look overseas

The status of LGBT equality wildly vacillates from country to country. While England celebrates the passage of marriage equality, a leading LGBT advocate in Cameroon was brutally tortured and murdered. And with the patchwork of LGBT protections across the United States, sometimes stories from other countries can slip under our radar.

One challenge is to make an American audience aware of international LGBT news. One way is to grab onto a news hook, like encouraging the media to explore how Russia's harsh anti-gay laws will impact LGBT and allies participants at the 2014 Winter Olympics. A similar situation occurred in 2011 when Ugandan LGBT advocate, David Kato was murdered while that country was considering the "kill the gays" bill.

Another challenge is to connect the dots between what happens overseas and the role of US anti-gay leaders. This has been especially important when reporting on the "kill the gays" bill in Uganda. If the American public can understand the US-based roots of the anti-gay legislation, then they have the ability to stop it.

To address that challenge, GLAAD partnered with God Loves Uganda to hold a conversation with Southern California faith leaders about how to stop the export of homophobia overseas. God Loves Uganda is a feature-length documentary by Roger Ross Williams that highlights the US roots of the "kill the gays" bill. He interviews anti-gay activist Lou Engle, who's International House of Prayer has launched missionaries to go home to home, in order to sell a version of Christianity that persecutes LGBT people. He also interviews anti-gay activist Scott Lively, who is being sued by Ugandan LGBT advocates for inciting violence.

The conversation discussed how films like God Loves Uganda can be used as tools to help people question where their missionary or humanitarian money is going. Faith leaders expressed interest in ways in which to screen the film for their own communities and create discussion about how to generate a pro-LGBT religious voice overseas. They also discussed ways in which to mobilize all Americans, and people of faith in particular, to oppose the export of homophobia before that export has taken place.

GLAAD has been committed to bringing the story of issues facing LGBT people in Uganda to the American public. We will continue to shine a light on the words and actions of anti-gay activists through the Commentator Accountability Project, whether they be in the US or abroad. And we will continue to support films that highlight the connections between anti-gay activists in the US and homophobia overseas.