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Help Defeat Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Philippe Leroyer

Time: 
20 minutes

The piece of legislation that has become known as Uganda’s anti-gay bill is slated to come before the Ugandan parliament in late February or early March. If the legislation passes, it would not only reinforce the criminalization of homosexuality in Uganda but it could punish homosexuals with life imprisonment or even death.

The current version of the bill also mandates jail sentences for those who protect gay individuals or who fail to report them to the authorities—a provision which would further increase fear and vigilantism towards gays and lesbians.

The introduction of this legislation is not just a tragedy for Uganda’s gay and lesbian citizens, but a tragedy for the entire world. World Pulse correspondent Gertrude Pswarayi has reported on the effect the proposed Ugandan legislation has had on her own country of Zimbabwe and on the entire African continent. “As a Zimbabwean advocate for the rights of sexual minorities,” she writes, “I have witnessed how the Uganda legislative threats have created panic and despondence among sexual minorities.”

Several heads of state and international leaders, along with ordinary citizens from around the world, have lent their voices to condemn this legislation. “To criminalize people on the basis of color or gender is now unthinkable in most countries,” declared the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay. “The same should apply to an individual's sexual orientation."

Thankfully, there have been some signs of hope that Ugandan leaders are feeling the pressure from the international community to reject the bill. You can help keep the pressure on!

World Pulse has launched an Action Blogging Campaign to add volume to the outpouring of international support for Uganda’s sexual minorities.

You can learn more about the issue by reading Pswarayi’s article Legalizing Homophobia, Setting a Precedent in Africa.

Next, join the conversation on Pulsewire and we will send your message directly to the President of Uganda.

Comments

I have been working on condemning the ANti homosexuality bill tabled in Uganda last year with my fellow activists from all over the world,we have published press releases,called on international solidarity and even supported a delegation to visit Uganda and engage the Authorities there in dialogue on the irrational foundation this bill is based on,First,when Bahati talks about upholding the family unit,i am lost at which family unit he is talking about; because as An african, i know from living it and learning from my own family that we share, we believe in having enough for everyone and your neighbour being your own sister-we live in homesteads and not apartments(until civilization was forced onto us/or taught ) We till the land together and prepare the meals together....and together here stands for my immediate nuclear family and the whole extended family that exists from our bonds...aunties,cousins,friends, homeless people and everyone else who will invite themselves over for our shared meal because they know for sure-there is enough for all of us...so when |Bahati says family unit with a father mother two children and a dog image in his head,i wonder which part of africa he grew up in thus whose voice he represents.

Then we also hear them say that it is ungodly/unchristian...and it triggers fury in me,before the introduction of missionaries in my continent we all had our different ways of worship that respected every other form of worship-some of us prayed facing Mt Kenya,some of us shared our wealth and some of us just lived knowing that the greatest thing in our lives is family and love...then all this religious believes were brought into Africa and suddenly we had to exclude women from the pulpit and pray in a certain way and believe in a dictated god....we distances ourselves from the positive traits of our history (unity) where difference was not used to divide but rather that diversity made us a stronger continent,and the introduction of a similar god who was seen as male and white defeated our faith in goddesses that brought richness and rain and bounty harvest and those that identified third genders and intersex persons to be a link with our spiritual world...then this god also decided that there were going to be people who were better off/or of a different class or who should receive lesser from the abundant universe as according to the intepretation of his book-and if we were searching for love and unity,shouldn't we question these same believes that advocate separation and rule frameworks?

And even worse Bahati choses the most vulnerable group to fight against,why would anyone be put in prison for loving another ...or knowing someone else who might not necessarily fit into societal prescription of safe and sane?or killed for simply being who they are-One thing we must emphasisze on is we are working as a community to ensure that sexual violence is defined and criminalised,the predators of innocent beings are dettered from preying on any one of us and especially children-rape is a hideous and degrading crime and must be addressed in all forums,defining rape and sexual violence clearly should revolve around consent-and a no means exactly that NO,and coercion and force into sexual activity is rape.But when two adults who are aware of what is going on and have consented to being sexually active with each other,how then is the state in a position to dictate what is right or wrong for both of them when it is clearly their private business?LGBTI persons have been by far the most affected by sexual violence in our societies-from lesbian curative rape,to transgendered persons being raped just to humiliate them,and gender benders being forced into certain gender roles or marriages to cure them,why would Bahati equate LGB TI people to the smae perpetrators of violence on them?
It is good news that the president will not veto the bill,but that will not be enough to save the blood of all queer persons living in Uganda and Africa by extension....the increased number of arbitrary arrests and detention,torture, murder ,rape, and discrimination on queer africans needs to be addressed! we need more awareness on sexuality issues to be able to distance ourselves from the heterosexism that has been a huge point of reference for homophobes

Pouline Kimani
"Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.

I have written an article on "Cambodia Bloggers discuss LGBT issues."
http://globalvoicesonline.org/2010/01/14/cambodia-bloggers-discuss-lgbt-...

This article was actually inspired by my recent debate with facebook community who spark a so-called discrimination on LGBT. This matter have been discussed, though not widely, but comprehensively in Cambodia. Even our former King, Norodom Sihanouk expressed his support for respect the rights of LGBT based on the Buddhism and Human Rights philosophy.

I believe if the world are trying to reach the global human rights respect, any marginalized community or group should not be discriminated or exempt from the rights.

From my research, I think the way to increase the respect on LGBT is by open more space or platform on LGBT. In Cambodia, a leading example is Gay Khmer group, a website which was established to create a public platform for gay issues. Also, there are many bloggers have started to voice their opinion and awareness raising on the LGBT. Also, another campaign is through Film or Novel production. Last year Cambodia celebrated its first ever Cambodian lesbian film, “Who Am I?” directed by Mrs. Phoan Phuong Bopha, whose movie attracted an estimated 4,000 viewers, which AFP called as a blockbuster for the country's tiny movie industry. This film is part of an awareness raising campaign against lesbian discrimination in the country. This year, another LGBT film will be shown soon: “High School Love Story.” The film's story centers on a gay love affair.

I believe a great change can start when people start dialogue and understand each other.

Regards,
Sopheap

"When you blame others, you give up your power to change"
******************************************
CHAK Sopheap (Ms)
Blog: www.sopheapfocus.com

Starland's picture

dignity and rights

"Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justcie and peace in the world. " (UHR Preamble) Does not "all members
of the human family" include our gay brothers and sisters?

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscious and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." (UHNR PREAMBLE) There are NO exceptions here to be noted against our homosexual brothers and sisters.

Dignity violations include: (1) Not being seen and (2) you don't exist and (3)we will lump you into a group so no individual alone is important. Do not our gay brothers and sisters have the same right to life and dignity as "all human beings"? Would not a negative vote in Uganda amount to another form of genocide? (4)Denying personal space in a crowded prison is a dignity violation. (5) Humiliation for being "different", "untrustworthy" "being label a criminal for ones sexual orientation" is a Human Rights dignity and rights violation.

THE RESULTANT SUPRESSION OF HOMOSEXUALS ANYWHERE IN MASS DESCRIMINATION AND TORTURE AMOUNTS TO GENOCIDE AND MAY BE PUNISHABLE THROUGH THE INTERNATIONAL COURTS AS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.

K-lee Starland, Ph.D.

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