Freedom House to present LGBT film at Wright Museum

By Steve Thorpe

Legal News
Oppression based on gender preference knows no borders and, in some places, can turn violent with that violence sometimes sanctioned by government.
Freedom House and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will present the film, “Call Me Kuchu,” and host a panel discussion on the plight of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) individuals around the world on Thursday, Feb. 20. The free event starts at 6:30 p.m. at The Wright Museum, 315 E. Warren Ave., in Detroit.

The film profiles four openly LGBT individuals in Uganda, including the late David Kato, an openly gay man. Kato dared to publicly protest state-sanctioned homophobia. A year into filming and three weeks after a landmark legal victory, Kato was brutally murdered in his home. 

Frank Mugisha, Ugandan LGBT rights activist, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (2011) recipient, will be a guest. 

“Freedom House is proud to organize and host this important event,” said Freedom House Program Assistant and Case Manager, Thomas “TJ” Rogers. “It will not only highlight the reality faced by people around the globe in the plight for equality and freedom, but it is also meant to serve as a message to all those working to secure the respect of human rights that they are not alone.” 

Panelists joining Mugisha will include Freedom House Senior Attorney, Kelly AuBuchon; ACCESS Program Manager for Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture and Refugees, Husam Abdulkhaleq LPC; KICK - The Agency for LGBT African-Americans Development Coordinator, Jamiil M. Gaston; and Amnesty International USA LGBT Human Rights Specialist, Donald Bierer.  The moderator will be Allida Black, Managing Director, the Allenswood Group and senior fellow, Women’s Research and Education Institute.

Freedom House is a temporary home for survivors of persecution from around the world who seek legal shelter in the United States or Canada. Its describes its mission upholding a fundamental American principle, one inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, providing safety for those “yearning to breathe free.” 

“Freedom House has long served LGBT asylum seekers; therefore, I have personally witnessed their struggles — both mental and physical — as a result of their trauma.,” said Rogers. “Mugisha’s visit acknowledges their struggle and their courage.”

The event is co-sponsored by Amnesty International USA, KICK-The Agency for LGBT African-Americans, and the Stonewall Bar Association of Michigan. Tickets are available for a reception benefiting Freedom House for $25 each. The reception is sponsored by New York State United Teachers. For more information about Freedom House and to purchase tickets, contact Thomas “TJ” Rogers at or call (313) 964-4320, ext. 18.


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