Anti-homosexuality bill may become Ugandan law
Newspaper outing gays adds fuel to the fire
Reports of attacks against homosexual people in Uganda have recently surfaced, after an article ran in the new Ugandan Rolling Stone (no relation to the American magazine) outed 100 Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transgender (LGBT) people, by publishing their names, photos, and even addresses, and called for their hanging.
The article, entitled “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak,” claimed the country’s gay community was trying to “recruit” one million children and that a deadly disease causing “shattered flesh” was spreading because of homosexual behavior.
Brian Nkoyooyo, director of Ice Breakers Uganda, a gay rights organization, says that one gay rights activist had stones thrown at her house while other people have been attacked in bars and in their own houses.
Rolling Stone Editor Giles Muhame said he did not know of any homosexuals had been attacked as a result of his publication, but that if one was killed, it wasn’t his responsibility.
“If you know you are doing something that makes you vulnerable to attack, you leave it,” Muhame said in a phone interview. “If you feel you are going to be lynched, you stop it (the behavior). Even if it happened, it would not be the responsibility of the newspaper. It would be their own mischief that caused the attacks on them.”
The article comes at a time when anti-gay sentiment is at an all-time high in Uganda. The country’s government is coming closer to passing the law that will officially make the act of homosexuality illegal. It is already so in many other African countries.
Ugandan Member of Parliament (MP) David Bahati, who originally submitted the bill in September 2009 told CNN, “We are very confident because this is a piece of legislation that is needed in this country to protect the traditional family here in Africa, and also protect the future of our children.”
If the bill is passed in its current state, it will contain numerous penalties for different levels of homosexual activities including seven years in prison for “an attempt to commit homosexuality;” five years for landlords who knowingly house gays; three years for anyone, including parents, who fail to hand gay children over to the police within 24 hours of discovering their sexuality. Additionally, the law calls for extradition of gay Ugandans living abroad.
Should any gay man or lesbian engage in sexual activity with someone under the age of 18, then that person will be put to death by hanging.
Bahati defended the strict nature of the bill in an ABC News broadcast saying, “Well, it can sound tough to some people, but it’s acceptable to our community here. Remember that here in Uganda, 95 percent of our population does not support homosexuality.”
Suicide is the fate met by many youth across the country who feel unwanted in their communities and schools due to their sexuality.
They go day to day hearing comments about how being gay/lesbian or any deviation from heterosexual is unnatural and wrong. They are particularly vulnerable to suicide, and more susceptible to depression, substance abuse, and homelessness than other youth.
Dissolved R&B group Xscape’s famous song contemplatively asks, “Who can I run to, when I need love?”
Thousands, if not millions, of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) youth in this country are asking themselves that very question, and are being met with the antithesis of love: hate.
The loss of one child due to suicide is senseless, but the loss of nine young people to suicide, because of bullying they experienced as a result of, or being perceived as gay—what sense could it make?
The past few weeks in California have been interesting with the controversy surrounding Proposition 8 and the 14th Amendment. Opening the window for same-sex marriage has been delayed while pro-traditional marriage activists and voters have entered the appeal process of Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision. Where the tide will turn next is up to the courts. In the meantime, it has been an interesting debate as a matter of fact, as we reflect on the words of our experts from last week.
Last week, the state of California went through a whirlwind of change as Vaughn Walker, a federal district court judge who is allegedly gay, overturned voter-approved Proposition 8.
In Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the plaintiff claimed that according to the 14th Amendment, it is against the inalienable rights recognized by the government that the gay community be denied the right to marry their same-sex partner.
The president’s public support of same-sex marriage could either be a boon or a curse for his re-election campaign. It’s too soon to tell, despite the fact that he’s just received a million dollars in campaign contributions. But one thing is certain: the president’s public stance in favor of homosexual marriage has drawn a dividing line among voters. Will it have an effect among African American voters, some members of the clergy think it will.