It’s baaaack! Thanks to my friend Jennifer Carey for inspiring me to write this story. Sadly, Uganda may finally pass its toxic anti-gay legislation. First proposed in 2009, the bill has sat in three successive legislatures without final action. That may be about to change.
David Bahati, a member of Uganda’s parliament, not content to merely criminalize homosexuality as many sub-Saharan nations do, created this bill to “protect the cherished culture of the people of Uganda, legal, religious, and traditional family values of the people of Uganda against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Uganda.” If that language sounds familiar, it should. Bahati had help from a number of far-right U.S. evangelicals — including the notorious Scott Lively — helped craft the bill, imposing yet another layer of colonization.
The original bill called for the death penalty for any acts of “aggravated homosexuality”, which includes the broad categories of homosexual behavior by a person impacted by HIV, is a parent or authority figure, or who administers intoxicating substances, homosexual acts committed on minors or people with disabilities, and repeat offenders. The mere “offence” of homosexuality incurs life imprisonment. After an outcry by human rights groups and the threat of the loss of foreign aid — including from the U.S., where President Obama has called the bill “odious” — the death penalty was lowered to life imprisonment for most offences. Isn’t that lovely?
All the debate and international pressure have left the bill’s final fate uncertain — until this week. The Charm Free Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, has said that she will ensure its passage before the end of the year as a <wait for it> CHRISTMAS GIFT to her people! Hey Jesus, who do you want imprisoned as your birthday gift this year?
Kadaga insists that the people of Uganda are demanding that the law be passed to “protect the children” and curb the “destructive behavior.” Sounds like more hate speech imported by Mr. Lively and his minions, doesn’t it? It seems likely that the parliament will pass the bill. That will leave things up to President Museveni, who could veto it. He has strong ties to Lively’s group, the Fellowship, but is also concerned about international reaction. We must stand in solidarity with our LGBT brothers and sisters in Uganda–take action now! Let President Museveni know this is a crime against humanity!
p.s. I’m pretty sure David Bahati was on RuPaul’s Drag Race.