Homophobia, Not Homosexuality, Is The Danger In Uganda

Published: November 13, 2012

"UGANDANS WANT this Bill so it will happen" said Ugandan MP David Bahati, the MP behind the alarming Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda.

Notoriously referred to as the "Kill the Gays" Bill, its resurfacing is a timely reminder of how homophobia remains a threat to human dignity.

This recently re-introduced legislation would enhance the criminal penalties that already exist for people who engage consensual same-sex relationships. This may also include the death penalty for offences that are deemed to be of an "aggravated" nature.

If passed, the legislation would compel HIV testing in some circumstances, and impose life sentences for entering into what is determined to be a same-sex marriage.

Punishment would also extend to people who failed to "denounce" any violations of the Bill’s wide-ranging provisions by not reporting these incidents to the public authorities within 24 hours. The scope also extends to target what it refers to as the "promotion" of homosexuality.

The ongoing refusal by the Ugandan Government to recognise the human rights of sexual minorities has been strengthened by fundamentalist religious conversations appropriated from the US. In 2009, Evangelical Christian leaders from the US spoke to MPs in Uganda opining that homosexuality is a threat to the "cohesion" of African families. The Family Life Network in Uganda has also exacerbated existing prejudices by speaking about homosexuality and pedophilia synonymously.

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