Law & Policy

ADVOCACY: Uganda Passes Inhumane Bill Setting Life Imprisonment as Penalty for Gay Sex

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You don’t have to agree with gay marriage, gay sex etc. to know this recent bill passed by UGANDA lawmakers to criminalize and remit life imprisonment for homosexuality makes absolutely NO SENSE and is simply inhumane.

When I read the news yesterday, I took some time to really reflect on the passage of he bill.

Below are my thoughts:

I think the gay community in the West have a responsibility to change the rhetoric and branding of gays, especially since it spills to Africa and the fear and draconian laws passed in some African countries is as a result of these terrible images. The stereotypical images pushed by some gays in the West and the media have become the perceived norm across the globe and has also deepened already deeply rooted fears of the unknown.

First, there has to be a paradigm shift from the focus on how exactly gay people have sex to what it means to be gay . I think how gays have sex is what majority get hung up on.

Second, there has to be a paradigm shift that shows the diversity the gay community has to offer. For example, until I got to law school, I rarely, if ever, came across diverse gay persons. It was always the stereotypical flamboyant/”flaming” gay person. Also, gay discussions, promotions, and community activities shared with me was always about sex with multiple partners in uncommitted relationships. Law school exposed me to the diversity within the gay community. Indeed over the years, America and the world has also seen diverse faces in many industry sectors that are simply not the stereotype including the likes of CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon and many more.

Third, if it is not okay to reduce the value of women to sexual objects (which I strongly believe it is not), the flip side holds true to me as well for both straight and gay men. I fail to see why many give a pass to persons who happen to be homosexuals exhibiting behavior that we deem unacceptable from women and stigmatize women for. We tell Miley Cyrus she is out of control, and tell her to put some clothes on etc. BUT, if a gay boy or man exhibits the same actions, wears skimpy clothes, we excuse it under the umbrella of being gay. Really? What is the difference again? Can someone explain the logic, please?

To me this perpetuates stereotypes and fails to also require accountability from our gay brothers and sisters. Being gay is distinct from the  conduct/actions such person chooses to engage in. Accepting these stereotypes and not insisting on a different paradigm shift has a strong and negative impact on persons who are homosexuals in Africa or other parts of the world where Western culture and consumerism is sold and saturated.

Fourth, I find it very ridiculous when opposing views or voices are suppressed, whatever views they may be, just because they do not agree with a gay lifestyle. Tyranny of the majority or the minority is simply and has always been unacceptable to me. It is indeed what drove me as a child to do what I now do professionally. I don’t need people to agree with my lifestyle. I need them to respect boundary lines, and not harm me whether physically or economically.

A quick example to illustrate my point might help. Back in the days, I was always that lone woman that showed up to the basketball court to play. The fellas would not let me play. They insisted that I was a woman so therefore I was not allowed to play. I knew for a fact that I DID NOT need their permission to play ball. Therefore, being the person I am, I always gave them two options. 1) We can play ball and homie I really got next; or 2) y’all can bounce because if I am not playing NO ONE is playing. I will shut this court down because there is NO WAY I will have next and you tell me some silly excuse that my gender determines whether I get to play ball or not. Sometimes, we had to go there. I did not need their respect or their validation. I wanted to play, I was going to play because I was entitled to play there, especially where it was a school gym, a fitness club and even a public park.  I think the gay movement must move past expecting everyone to agree with their lifestyle and focus on the legal, political, social, physical and economic harm they would like others not to push on them just because they happen to be gay.

Also, women in the West did not get their civil rights and liberation because men said, “sure take it all.” They fought for it BUT they also had men that helped them in the fight whether it was their husbands, brothers, uncles, friends etc. The same holds for blacks and other groups. Blacks had the assistance of whites who also stood alongside them in their struggle and to end the persecution against them in their own civil rights movement.

Granted there is a history of shaming, condemnation and persecution that has been delivered by religious communities against gay people, when the mandate should be to love from those communities. Despite that history, there have been others from the same community that have stood in solidarity in speaking up against violence against others based on their sexual orientation, among other actions taken.

Finally, Africa is not the rest of the world. The current U.S President couldn’t boldly take a stance on gay marriage or gay issues until his VP carelessly shared it with the world, which forced the President to finally address his stance. Currently in the U.S, many states do not agree with gay marriage, albeit there is movement and push towards gay marriage.

To accept the snail pace and decades it has taken for America to get here; and all of a sudden DEMAND that Africa get to where the USA is right now is simply ridiculous. To me, it results in tighter measures driven by deep fear such as we have seen in Nigeria, Uganda and many more countries across Africa. When we have any government criminalizing sexual conduct between two consenting adults of valid legal age, we ought to be worried.

There is a need to demystify what being gay really means and to move the focus from the stereotype of uncommitted sexual activities/relationships to committed relationships.

Also, it is perfectly okay not to agree with the gay lifestyle but still understand that the death penalty or life imprisonment should not be given to persons who in the privacy of their bedrooms engage in sexual activity. It should also not be given because certain people in society display certain qualities we deem to be effeminate.

I am saddened by the passage of this bill and hope it is vetoed by the President. If the goal is to cure homosexuality, why send the same men into a prison system filled with more men?

I’d be curious  to hear your thoughts on this bill. Folks, please stay on point with this issue. I get exhausted with attacks on both sides of the debate. I am not interested in hearing yet another set of attacks on Christians. The White man brought Christian religion to African soil. The same religion is now used to pass draconian laws. Get past that my Western and white people and come up with solutions. On the flip side, for Africans, the people who brought the same religion to your soil say the religion has progressed and at a minimum, you should not be imprisoning people for their sexual orientation, much less giving them the death penalty. Since we are so bent on following and emulating what the White man/West does, don’t you think we should probably listen to how they say the religion manual is supposed to work and the necessary updates it needs.

Sad day for Uganda and Africa.

-Uduak

“Uganda’s parliament has passed an anti-gay law that punishes “aggravated homosexuality” with life imprisonment.

The bill drew wide condemnation when it was first introduced in 2010 and initially included the death penalty, but that was removed from the revised version passed by parliament.

The law passed on Friday sets life imprisonment as the penalty for gay sex involving an HIV-infected person, acts with minors and the disabled, as well as repeated sex offenses among consenting adults, according to the office of a spokeswoman for Uganda’s parliament.

“Now anybody found practising, recruiting for or publicising homosexuality commits a felony,” said Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity.

He added that the law provided for punishments of between two years and life behind bars.

“We will get hold of all those encouraging others to become homosexuals or lesbians. Anybody we find recruiting or using materials to promote homosexuality, we will arrest.”

For the bill to be enacted it must be signed by President Yoweri Museveni. There is currently some speculation as to whether he will sign the bill, which was first introduced to parliament in 2009, in to law.  .  .” – Aljazeera

The View Across Africa and the World About Homosexuals

Recent Press Conference After Passage of the Law

Nigeria’s Same Sex Controversial bill

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