Must-see morning clip: Uganda has a serious homophobia problem

John Oliver interviews Ugandan LGBT activist Pepe Julian Onziema to discuss the country's anti-gay laws

Prachi Gupta
June 30, 2014 5:02PM (UTC)

While thousands of Americans safely celebrated gay pride in New York on Sunday, it's a different story entirely in 81 countries across the world, where homosexuality is illegal. On "Last Week Tonight," host John Oliver used his comedy to shed a spotlight on Uganda, where the homophobia is so bad, he remarked, that "it's gotten to the point where people from the Dark Ages could build a time machine, travel to 2014 Uganda, step outside and go, 'Ah shit, it didn't work.'"

It turns out that those increasingly marginalized American homophobes are outsourcing their intolerance to Uganda, Oliver observed. "Clearly, US groups recognized the market for homophobia stateside was dwindling, and so tried to sell it somewhere else," he said, soberly adding, "Meaning that Africa isn't just where send our losing team's Super Bowl shirts, it's also where we now send our losing political philosophies. And although the U.S. is now issuing sanctions in reaction to these laws, this is clearly a problem that Uganda is going to have to solve itself."


As if to attempt to undo some of the damage caused by American anti-gay leader Scott Lively and his ilk, Oliver then interviewed Ugandan transgender and LGBT activist Pepe Julian Onziema to discuss the environment of the country. The two discussed America's complicated role in Uganda's increasingly hostile climate, which continued into a fascinating, extended interview available online.


Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

MORE FROM Prachi GuptaFOLLOW prachiguLIKE Prachi Gupta

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •