The theme of homophobic African politicians is that gay identity is a perversion imposed on black people by white oppressors. The historical fact is the reverse, of course: Legal prohibitions on homosexuality were originally imposed by white colonial rulers. So it's no small twist in the plot that the new wave of threats to Ugandan gays should be reinforced by American religious extremists.
The proposed legislation places in stark relief the persistence of deadly prejudice. The roots of hatred can be traced to myriad traditions -- indigenous and foreign, white and black. What's more important than identifying the sources of the poison is to find the antidote. The first step is listening to the voices of African lesbians and gay men, and taking our cues from them about how to offer the most effective support.