Playwright Faces Jail for Staging Pro-Gay Play in Uganda
The British playwright who bravely produced a show about a young gay man in Uganda, a country that had considered a "kill the gays" bill, is facing jail time and appeared in court for the first time Thursday.
The Associated Press reports that David Cecil faces two years in jail if convicted of "disobeying lawful orders" — a charge he faces for allegedly performing the play without the needed government authorization. After being arrested, Cecil was placed in jail, where he remains, according to The Guardian.
Uganda's ethics minister told The Guardian the play wasn't approved for staging because of its pro-gay message. "This play is justifying the promotion of homosexuality in Uganda, and Uganda does not accommodate homosexual causes," Simon Lokodo told The Guardian. "We will put pressure on anyone saying that this abomination is acceptable."
The River and the Mountain played at a theater in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and tells the story of a young businessman who comes out only to be murdered by his employees. On his WeFund page, Cecil acknowledged the danger LGBT people still face in the country, saying that despite the "kill the gays" bill stalling in Parliament, "Ugandan homosexuals are still forced into secrecy and activists regularly receive death threats." He expected his play to help inspire change.
"We feel that this will engage even the most critical conservative, in a country that is in a state of rapid transformation," Cecil wrote.