By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com April 25 2014 4:08 PM ET
A California activist and business owner just took Uganda's LGBT pride to new heights — literally.
Neal Gottlieb, the founder and owner of San Rafael-based Three Twins Ice Cream, planted a rainbow flag atop Uganda's highest peak last week to protest the East African country's recent passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which calls for life imprisonment for many LGBT people and criminalizes the so-called promotion of homosexuality.
Gottlieb, a former Peace Corps volunteer and graduate of Cornell University, published the photo of his prideful summit on Facebook Wednesday and shared a copy of the letter he sent to Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni.
"On April 16, 2014, after a 6-day climb, I summited your country’s tallest peak, Mount Stanley’s 16,753 foot tall Margherita Peak, and mounted a gay pride flag at its summit in protest of your country’s criminalization of homosexuality," writes Gottlieb, "Your country’s highest point is no longer its soil, its snow or a summit marker, but rather a gay pride flag waving brilliantly, shining down from above as a sign of protest and hope behalf of the many thousands of Ugandans that you seek to repress and the many more that understand the hideous nature of your repressive legislation."
After calling on the Ugandan president to consider the implications of the draconian law on his own loved ones, were they LGBT, Gottlieb goes on to challenges the 69-year-old president, who has been in office since Uganda gained its independence in 1986, to summit the peak himself and remove the flag.
"If you don’t like said flag on your highest peak, I urge you to climb up and take it down," writes Gottlieb. "However, you are an old man and surely the 6-day climb through the steep muddy bogs and up the mountain’s glaciers is well beyond your physical ability. Your days are more limited than most. Do you want your remaining days to be yet another blight on the history of your nation or will you find the strength to reverse your actions and allow all Ugandans to be free?"