KAMPALA, 21 March. On Tuesday, the Ugandan parliament enacted a law making it illegal to identify as LGBTQ. This gave the government vast authority to target Ugandan gay people, who already experience legal discrimination and mob violence.
Uganda is among the more than 30 African nations that currently forbid same-sex relationships. Human Rights Watch claims that the new law looks to be the first to ban just identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ).
Advocates of the new law argue that it is necessary to criminalize a wider range of LGBTQ acts in order to protect the country’s traditional values, which are conservative and religious.
The legislation forbids same-sex relationships as well as aiding and abetting homosexual behavior as well as conspiring to participate in homosexual activity.
The law imposes harsh punishments for violations, such as the death penalty for ‘aggravated’ homosexuality and life in jail for gay sex. According to the legislation, aggravated homosexuality includes, among other things, having gay intercourse with minors or when the offender has HIV.
“God, our creator, is pleased with what is occurring. I am in favor of the legislation to safeguard our kids’ future “David Bahati, a politician, said during the bill’s discussion.
“This is about the sovereignty of our country. Nobody should threaten or blackmail us.”
President Yoweri Museveni will receive the measure to be signed into law.
A well-known Gay activist from Uganda, Frank Mugisha, criticized the law as being oppressive.
“This law is quite severe and draconian… it criminalizes being an LGBTQ person, but they are also aiming to eradicate any Gay Ugandan from existence,” he said.
Museveni has not responded to the present proposal, but he has always opposed LGBTQ rights. In 2013, he approved a bill that was decried by Western nations before being overturned by a domestic court on procedural grounds.
After allegations from religious leaders and politicians that pupils were being enticed into homosexuality in schools, Ugandan authorities have cracked down on LGBTQ persons in recent weeks.
On suspicion of “grooming of young girls into deviant sex practices,” officials in the Jinja area of eastern Uganda detained a secondary school teacher last month.
She is currently incarcerated while awaiting trial after being charged with gross obscenity.
The police said on Monday they had detained six persons accused of running a network that was “actively involved in the grooming of young boys into acts of sodomy”.