As a native Ugandan and life-long LGBTQ activist, it broke my heart to learn that the Ugandan Parliament is poised to once again consider a bill known as the “Kill the Gays Bill” or the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” that proposes jail terms for LGBTQ individuals, including a life sentence or even the death penalty in some circumstances. The bill is likely to pass the Parliament if it comes up for a vote, leaving President Yoweri Museveni’s veto as the only remaining hope that this hate-filled bill will not become law.
Please speak out against this terrible bill. Sign the petition and ask President Museveni to veto the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
About 10 years ago, when I first came out to my guardian and, later, to my closest colleagues at the Daily Monitor newspaper in Uganda, I was nothing short of terrified of losing both family and friends. As I had anticipated, declaring my love for fellow women got me my own share of homelessness, verbal abuse, and alienation, even from people I trusted the most. Abandoned as a teenager and forced into maturity at a tender age, I always believed in the transformative power of truth, because the truth, as they say, sets us free. My “coming out” story as a Pentecostal-raised Ugandan lesbian woman mirrors the stories of dozens of other LGBTQ activists in Uganda.
This draconian legislation places LGBTQ Ugandans in grave danger in a country where having an LGBTQ identity is already illegal. In addition to the death penalty, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill requires parents to report their own children and doctors to report their own patients to the authorities or risk jail time. It also undermines the strides that Uganda has made in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention over the last decade. Originally proposed in 2009, this bill has been delayed numerous times due to the brave advocacy of Ugandan LGBTQ activists and international allies. I pray that love will once again win out over hate.
I have been involved with LGBTQ community organizing in Uganda long enough to observe how far we have come and what we have managed to achieve amidst very difficult circumstances. Earlier this year, activists held Uganda’s first Pride parade—may we continue on this path toward justice and equality for LGBTQ Ugandans. Please sign the petition today.
Ugandan LGBTQ Rights Activist
PS: A similar bill criminalizing LGBTQ people was recently introduced in Nigeria. Click here to take action and ask President Goodluck Jonathan to veto Nigeria’s bill too.
The message above went out on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.