05 Sep

Article: MPs start process to re-table gay Bill

 “Parliament yesterday officially allowed the start of a process which will see the reintroduction of a much stricter law against homosexuality.”

MPs start process to re-table gay Bill
Posted Wednesday, September 3 2014 at 01:00 – Daily Monitor

Read the article here:


05 Sep

Violence Against LGBT People in Uganda – an addendum

Diane Dicranian, Ministry and Council Rep to NEYM – New England Yearly Meeting (Quakers) and the Vassalboro Quarterly Meeting wrote to David Zarembka,  Coordinator of  the African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams for information about the situation in Uganda regarding LGBT people and related to the work of FNUR (Friends New Underground Railroad) because Diane was interested in asking her Meeting and Quarter and NEYM to support the work of FNUR.

David’s reply which we have his and Diane’s permission to publish on the FNUR website – is posted at the bottom of our FAQs page, here: http://friendsugandansafetransport.org/faqs/#FAQSaddendum

Thank you both!
Gabi Clayton
co-manager of Friends New Underground Railroad

02 Sep

Statement of a FNUR Conductor, xxxxx aka “Katende Sam (Mr.)”

We, Quakers of Olympia Friends Meeting’s Friends New Underground Railroad project, have accepted the responsibility to be conduits for the voices of those that are at great risk who cannot safely speak openly. Our major concern and our mission is to get LGBT folks out who choose to leave Uganda, and to support the Ugandan activist conductors risking their lives to save others.

In light of our absolute commitment to reducing harm and providing trauma-informed support, we release these voices at the request of those who speak.

Thus, we are releasing this statement, “Never say Never” by xxxxxx aka Katende Sam (Mr.) in PDF format. Note that it has been redacted to protect sensitive identities who might otherwise be at risk.

Please support the continuing work of the brave Ugandan conductors with your donation! See our donation page for how.

Thank you,
Gabi Clayton and Talcott Broadhead
co-managers of Friends New Underground Railroad


28 Aug

Radio Broadcast Detailing the August 4th Buyende District, Uganda Killing of Six LGBT People

Friends New Underground Railroad has received evidence in the form of an mp3 of a KBS Radio show from Uganda that discusses the stoning murder of six LGBT Ugandans (three gay men, two lesbians and a transperson) in Itukira, Buyende District that occurred on August 04, 2014. Included in the broadcast are the names of the victims (which FNUR had previously provided to some reporters and LGBT and human rights organizations in Kampala) and a description and discussion of the events.

Listen to the 12:45 recording here. (Note: the speaking will begin in about 25 seconds and is mostly in English):

This evidence corroborates the three independent reports of these murders that Friends New Underground Railroad released previously – “Six LGBT Murders by Stoning Reported in Rural Uganda…

Additional evidence of these murders will be released when Friends New Underground Railroad receives permission from the Ugandan Railroad conductors to do so.

Gabi Clayton, co-manager of FNUR said:

“Please do not let this distract from the very real threats that LGBT people in Uganda continue to face. We are still receiving reports of people being evicted from their homes, fired from their jobs, expelled from schools, experiencing mob violence and more – all very real reasons why some people feel they must flee to survive. While we have so far supported the conductors in assisting 457 people to leave Uganda, there are more waiting for help.

“Statements from and interviews with those who have escaped via the Underground Railroad will be forthcoming.”

Talcott Broadhead, co-manager of FNUR said:

“We at Friends New Underground Railroad appreciate the continuing efforts of the LGBT and human rights organizations in Kampala to stem the tide of hate that has swept over Uganda. Unfortunately for many, the future success of these efforts will come too late. We look forward to a time when both their and our efforts are no longer needed.

 “Friends New Underground Railroad’s singular goal is to support Ugandans who are assisting LGBT Ugandans who want to flee to do so. We don’t judge any individual’s choice to leave, nor do we impart judgment on those who stay. This is an effort designed entirely to mitigate the immediate effects of the volatile institutional and cultural homophobic violence in Uganda.“

Please remember, all decisions about how funds we raise are used (and how much is needed), who gets to ride and in what order, the pathways out, the use of safe houses, modes of transportation, interim destinations and what information we can release are made by the Ugandan conductors– not the FNUR project team.

To contact Friends New Underground Railroad, email Gabi Clayton, co-clerk of the Olympia Friends Meeting’s Peace and Social Justice Committee  and co-manager of the Railroad project at gabiclayton@friendsnewundergroundrailroad.org or call US (360) 888-5291; and email Talcott Broadhead, FNUR co-manager at talcottbroadhead@friendsnewundergroundrailroad.org.

23 Aug

Regarding the 08/21/14 article on BuzzFeed about Friends New Underground Railroad

Needless to say, we – the Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR) project team – have seen J. Lester Feder’s 08/21/14 article, “American Organizations Sought Thousands Off Unsubstantiated Story Of Stoning Of LGBT Ugandans” on BuzzFeed. FNUR values transparency and we wish to respond in order to clarify concerns raised.

#1: As we told Lester in writing, as of today (08/22/14 updated totals), since FNUR’s inception on April 13, 2014, we have taken in $43,860.79, and have spent $45,463.30. All of the funds have gone to support the work of the Ugandan conductors who, to date, have moved 457 LGBT Ugandans and their allies out of Uganda. This includes five children (as young as age 2), 33 people who identify as transgender, and the rest roughly split between men and women. We have supported two difficult medical evacuations and some medical expenses related to the severe beatings of two conductors who were outed and several passengers who were too sick to travel, one cellphone replacement when security was compromised, and some interim lodging expenses for people who couldn’t immediately get out. We have signed and dated receipts for both hospitals and for lodgings, as well as signed receipts for transportation.

All decisions about how funds are used (and how much is needed), who gets to ride and in what order, the pathways out, the use of safe houses, modes of transportation, and interim destinations are made by the Ugandan conductors – not the FNUR project team.

We don’t make decisions on behalf of the rural LGBT Ugandans fleeing for their lives because we are not Ugandans and we can’t possibly know what they need or how to best secure their safe passage. What we do know is that the Ugandan conductors have firsthand experience with rural living, LGBT persecution and social work. All of these create the conditions for the success of the railroad we have seen to date. To be sure the Railroad would not be operational without the support of our donors who come from around the world, but the US activists coordinating the funding of the Railroad take no credit for conducting the life-threatening work on the ground.

Our only requirement from here is that none of the passengers will end up in refugee camps, none will apply or receive assistance from UNHCR, and that there are arrangements for housing, food, medical, psychosocial, legal, and visa support at the interim countries. None of these arrangements are paid for by the Friends New Underground Railroad.

We have the names of all passengers who have been on the Railroad. To date, we can confirm approximately 175 people have reached their final destinations, in the following countries: South Africa, Sweden, Canada, Rwanda, Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany, and Norway. There are more, but these are the ones we can confirm at this time.

#2: No one from the Friends New Underground Railroad has received even one penny or one shilling from its operations. In fact, one of its members has donated all the postage stamps, and another the envelopes we use; the “thank you” cards we use are printed for free and donated; and the hosting, design, maintenance and updating of this website was donated as well.

No Ugandan conductor has received even a single Ugandan shilling in compensation for his/her work; not even for transportation. One conductor did receive a replacement cellphone when security was breached. We have paid some resettlement expenses for a conductor with a wife and three young children who was outed, directly threatened with death (in an area where there were prior reported killings), and his wife and daughter threatened with gang rape. We expect to have a statement from him, and be able to set up media interviews with him soon.

#3: Contrary to what Mr. Feder wrote, less than $1,000 was raised in our last appeal. (We wish it was more! As you can see from the above, we are slightly in the red, and we have some very frightened people waiting – as of today, 13 women who have been forced into hiding under horrific attacks.)

#4: We stand fully behind the reports given to us of the seven murders. In one case, we have photos of the attack – one of which we know has been posted on the web, and a statement by one of the conductors who was involved in the initial rescue, and then burying the body of the murdered man.

In the case of the six who were stoned, we have three independent accounts – from two of the conductors and from a local resident, including reports of accounts on radio stations. We have been told that there are now photographs of the killing location – taken at great risk. We have been told they will be shared with us, and yet we have no plans to publish such photos. We want to be clear that these are not our reports, but those of Ugandans, and some very courageous ones, who gained absolutely nothing from these reports, either for themselves, or for anyone else.

#5: We are working on setting up interviews with passengers who have escaped with reporters from various media, some of whom we have been communicating with since before the report of these murders. That is not as easy as it might seem. A very large number of the passengers have some form of PTSD and need time to heal. Many of them are struggling in the midst of that to set up new lives in totally foreign locations. Remember: the Railroad does not currently operate in Kampala and most of the passengers are from areas of rural Uganda. A relatively large number of them are in transit and have little access to phones or the Internet. From the conductors’ perspective, they need to ensure that none of the interviews or reports will compromise security of this ongoing operation. We are in contact with some who are ready to speak publicly, and are working on the proper venues.

Please be patient – these decisions are NOT up to us, but to the conductors. They understand the need for disclosure and transparency, but they also understand the very real threats under which they undertake their dangerous and courageous work.

Thank you for your continued support.
Gabi Clayton, FNUR co-manager

19 Aug

Six LGBT Murders by Stoning Reported in Rural Uganda. Others Flee Vigilante Backlash to Repeal of Antigay Law

For Immediate Release
August 18, 2014

Uganda — Over the past week, Ugandan activists have reported the horrific murders of six LGBT individuals in a rural zone of the country: three gay men, two lesbians and a transperson. “They were killed by stoning. One who survived (still breathing after stoning) was burnt alive using kerosene/paraffin and a match box,” stated a witness and source to the Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR), a grassroots Quaker solidarity initiative helping LGBT people in Uganda.

A seventh gay man was reported to have been attacked by a mob and died a day later from head injuries. According to the source, a rural vigilant mob attacked the 28-year-old gay man on August 5th. “I went to the scene,” wrote the eyewitness in an email. “I saved [____] when I lied to the mob that let me take him to the police.” Instead he put him on a boda boda, (motorcycle) and rescued him. The victim was later denied medical care, because he lacked funds. Documentary evidence of the attack was provided to FNUR, including pictures of the young gay man who died of his injuries on Monday, August 11 and buried two days later. Pictures provided from the scene show a young man sitting on the ground in a public street, his face and neck covered in blood. The sources have other details supporting the claim.

The reports come from several Ugandan activists, including those who helped rescue the head trauma victim. The reports were shared with Olympia, Washington-based FNUR (referred to as the ‘Railroad’) and then the Safe Passage Fund, a fund set up to help LGBT victims of persecution. The names, identities, and location of the victims and the witnesses are not being publicly disclosed by the FNUR for security reasons at this time. Local sources for the stonings say local radio stations in the zone have been broadcasting information about ongoing antigay incidents.

65 Evacuated Out of Uganda This Week

Over the past 24 hours, 65 LGBT individuals – including a Railroad “conductor,” his wife and three children – were evacuated to safety across the border, according to FNUR’s Gabi Clayton, co-manager of the Railroad project. Since the Railroad’s debut in April, a total of 455 Ugandan LGBT individuals who sought help to leave Uganda were successfully helped with funding from Quaker groups, The Safe Passage Fund, churches, nonprofits and individual donors. Ally advocates have freely provided critical transitional safe housing, food, healthcare, legal aid, and other services for asylum seekers transited by the Railroad who generally have sought resettlement in third party countries. A growing number are now notably resettled in South Africa, Rwanda, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Ireland, Denmark, and Germany. None are in refugee camps.

The new reports of antigay killings follow the recent repeal of Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) by a Ugandan 5-judge court that deemed it unconstitutional on technical grounds, because Parliament had failed to collect a requisite minimal quorum vote (a third of MPs) last December. Christian evangelical leaders have in turn stepped up antigay messages on local radio stations that carry religious programming. Uganda’s Attorney General, who publicly supports the antigay law, has since filed a motion to appeal the constitutional court decision.

“While the repeal of the law is wonderful, it has made it more dangerous for many LGBT people,” stated Clayton. “It has also confused some potential donors who may think that things are better and the work of the Railroad is not needed – and that is far from true.”

While LGBT rights groups are concentrated in the capital, Kampala, FNUR operates in rural areas where there is less media attention and fewer resources for LGBT people. The LGBT individuals being helped by the Ugandan conductors have not received assistance to flee the country from LGBT groups in Kampala – some saying they have asked and not been helped, others saying they have never heard of the organizations, say FNUR sources. They contact the conductors by word of mouth.

In recent weeks, the identities of two conductors of the Railroad were uncovered and they were brutally assaulted by mobs in separate incident, stated Clayton. The FNUR supported their medical evacuation for treatment in a third country and paid a portion of their medical bills.

Clayton says her project will not release names and details of sources and victims to the media in order to protect the security of field teams in the affected zones. While her team acknowledges such details can help others independently verify alleged incidents – and pressure authorities to respond, the decision comes at the behest of Railroad field agents. “Friends New Underground Railroad totally supports this decision,” stated Clayton. “We don’t believe that this will have a big impact on our donors because those who are giving to support this work are doing so with the understanding that this is an extremely dangerous situation for LGBT people in Uganda, and that is the whole point of our involvement.” Still, she agreed, “Yes, it’s important that these attacks be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. We want that to happen – but not at the price of anyone’s safety.”

Asked if she is aware that “many people are reporting that there is no truth to the claims made about the murders,” Clayton responds, “It is unclear to us if they are calling us liars who are conning people, or dupes who have been conned and don’t realize it. Or both. It really doesn’t matter. We are not doing this for those people’s approval. We – the Quakers in Olympia, WA and the activists we support in Uganda –understand the importance of corroborating the work they are doing. FNUR reports as much information as we can and operates this project as transparently as we are able – while protecting the identities of those whose work we support. They are on the ground working to save others. The safety and well-being of the activists/conductors and their passengers is our reason for creating FNUR and it is our only consideration. We respect and follow what the security team and others we work with in Uganda ask us to reveal or not to media folks and others.”

Religious Groups Target Catholic Students

In recent months, students attending Ugandan Catholic and Christian universities, colleges and other schools have also been major targets of the national antigay witch hunt being coordinated by Ugandan evangelical bishops and clergy. They have demanded that Catholic educational institutions identify and expel any students suspected of being LGBT. Dozens of students have recently been “outed” and expelled at three universities, some then evicted by their families, their names and details of their private lives, including names of friends, have been broadcast on community radio stations. Attacks and threats have followed.

From May thru July, 22 gay male seminary students, over two dozen self-identified lesbians, and several trans students at three different Catholic universities were outed, went into hiding, and were provided successful safe passage out of Uganda. The 22 seminarians have been granted asylum and are now resettled in European countries. Several of the lesbian and transgender students are also in the process of being permanently resettled. Currently, 13 lesbian university students at another university are in hiding and hope to leave after being outed, according to FNUR sources.

Earlier tragedies: Reported LGBT suicides and desecrations

More suicides: In mid-April one of the conductors reported that a 25-year-old gay man “lost hope” and committed suicide after his group of 13 LGBT individuals ran out of food and water after 10 days of hiding in the bush. The 12 others were transported safely outside Uganda two days later. The Railroad also reported two suicides in rural Uganda involving a lesbian and a transperson. They allegedly killed themselves after their latest hiding place was discovered and a mob sought them out. Compounding these tragedies, the families of the two suicides allegedly refused to accept their bodies for burial. The bodies were dumped in the street, burned and desecrated by a mob, claimed a source who told the FNUR he went to retrieve the bodies after learning of the suicides. Four other suicides had been reported since the antigay bill in “From Torment to Tyranny,” the May 2014 report by Uganda’s national LGBT advocacy group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). http://www.sexualminoritiesuganda.com/Torment%20to%20Tyranny%2009-05-2014%20FINAL.pdf

Arson and Evictions

Activists have also reported arson attempts, including an attack on three LGBT people inside a rural home that was set on fire by unidentified assailants in their community. The victims were treated for burn injuries by an outside religious charity. SMUG also reported on arson attacks against LGBT households in their May 2014 report. The arson attacks, coupled with a wave of ongoing evictions by landlords of LGBT persons, has fueled homelessness in rural areas.

The Urgent Need: $5500

Friends New Underground Railroad seeks $5500 today to cover the cost of safe transit for the 60 individuals who were in such a dangerous position that they were moved out of Uganda this week on borrowed money and credit that must be repaid immediately to generous individuals.

HELPING THE HERO(es): Safe Passage Fund joins FNUR in an additional fundraising appeal to support a heroic conductor – a straight ally married man with three children. “He has been a true hero” stated Clayton of her colleague, who personally helped to rescue, shelter, and transit more than 100 rural LGBT people to safety since April 2014. His identity was discovered in recent days by anti-gay forces and he faced immediate death threats, while his wife and 5-year old were threatened with gang rape. On Thursday, a Railroad team successfully moved this family out of Uganda. They are now in the process of resettling to a third country for asylum. $1920 is sought urgently to cover the evacuation and transitional resettlement expenses. For details, see: http://friendsnewundergroundrailroad.org/please-help-us-save-one-of-our-conductors-anappeal/

Beyond these known individuals, more LGBT individuals remain in Uganda who are seeking assistance from the conductors to relocate inside and outside the country. Every request, along with reported threats and incidents are vetted and documented by local field teams working in strict confidentiality within a hostile environment. The activists/conductors respond to evacuation requests as soon as they can and move people as resources/funds are available. They have a remarkable track record to date, despite the very underground nature of this emergency work. Once those leaving are outside Uganda, other ally groups and individuals provide transitional safe housing, food, healthcare and legal support and more for those seeking asylum.

We are seeking small or large donations $10. $20. $50, $100 or more many hands to help.

If you have given to the Quaker Railroad or this Fund before, you can take pride in our collective success in helping so many rural LGBT in Uganda – and straight allies – escape danger. Please give again if you are able, and please ask others to donate as well. All donations are tax exempt. The Quaker-supported Railroad effort is an all-volunteer global solidarity initiative. All monies raised go only toward emergency transit costs – no admin or overhead.


Further details about allegations, attacks and incidents discussed in this alert will be made public at the FNUR website as security issues are addressed.

To contact Friends New Underground Railroad, email Gabi Clayton, co-clerk of the Olympia Friends Meeting’s Peace and Social Justice Committee and co-manager of the Railroad project at gabiclayton@friendsnewundergroundrailroad.org or call US (360) 888-5291; or email Talcott Broadhead, FNUR co-manager at talcottbroadhead@friendsnewundergroundrailroad.org.

Anne-christine d’Adesky is founder of FNUR partner, Safe Passage Fund. The Fund is collecting funds under the fiscal umbrella of the Olympia Friends Meeting, a US 501(c)3 nonprofit religious organization. For information about the Safe Passage Fund, or to inquire about emergency grant requests, contact: talktothefuture@gmail.com. Attn: Administrator. Note: Safe Passage Fund published a different version of this statement.

On the web:

Friends New Underground Railroad: http://friendsnewundergroundrailroad.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FriendsNewUndergroundRailroad
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FrNewUndergrRR

Olympia Friends Meeting: http://olympiafriends.org
“Regarding Uganda’s Passage of A Law Targeting Its LGBTQ Population” (Minute approved on April 13, 2014): http://olympiafriends.org/about-us/minutes-and-statements/regarding-ugandas-passage-of-a-law-targeting-its-lgbtq-population


This statement is available in PDF format here: SixLGBTMurdersByStoningReportedInRuralUganda-OthersFleeVigilanteBacklashToRepealOfAntigayLaw-FriendsNewUndergroundRailroad-08-18-14



29 Jul

Gabi Clayton Interviewed about FNUR on ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Gabi Clayton, FNUR co-manager, was just  interviewed on the ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) radio show about Friends New Underground Railroad by Andrew West with thanks also to Scott Spark.

The ten minute interview will be broadcast at midnight Pacific time in the US from their website: http://www.abc.net.au/religion/ and a podcast will be available soon after.

25 Jul

Listen to Today’s KAOS Radio Interview with Talcott Broadhead and Gabi Clayton About Friends New Underground Railroad

At noon today, 07-24-14, Talcott Broadhead and Gabi Clayton – co-managers of Friends New Underground Railroad – were interviewed on Kim Dobson’s Parallel University Radio Show on KAOS Community Radio, based at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Thanks Kim for a great interview, and to John Ford for sending us the audio file so we can share it!

Listen to the 35:44 minute interview by clicking this arrow:

22 Jul

Uganda Gay On Move’s Leaders, Living in The Netherlands, Tell Their Stories

Friends New Underground Railroad is hoping to soon able to share the stories of some of the people the conductors we support have assisted out of Uganda.

In the meantime, to help you understand what some LGBTQ people have been dealing with, we found this – the leaders of  “Uganda Gay On Move (UGOM)” who are now living in The Netherlands, tell their stories including, “What is it like to live as an LGBT in Uganda?” and more. Read their stories:

Moses Walusimbi, Founder & Chairman
Julius Matovu, Founder & Vice Chairman
Rhoma Bugembe, Secretary
Robert Katende, Spokesperson / Media Coordinator
Jude Kasangaki
Isabella Atwine, Treasurer


26 Jun

High Alert: Homophobia in Uganda peaks

In the wake of anti-gay legislation and escalating violence, activists show unimaginable courage

By KEVIN NAULLS – NOW | June 26-July 3, 2014

“… Not everyone on this side of the Atlantic is comfortable just watching the news. Trans Quaker activist Talcott Broadhead co-runs the New Underground Railroad out of Olympia, Washington. …”

Read and share this article: http://goo.gl/LGKvV2