I am shocked by the recent happenings in Uganda. The African country
Uganda is considering a bill that would impose the death penalty on HIV positive men who have committed what is called "aggravated homosexuality," which basically means having gay sex if you are HIV positive. Lemme make this clear: you will be PUT TO DEATH for having sex with someone of the same gender if you test positive for HIV, if this bill becomes law. The punishment for having gay sex in Uganda if you are not HIV positive IS LIFE IMPRISONMENT.
Also, according to this Times Online article, The bill proposes a three-year prison sentence for anyone who is aware of evidence of homosexuality and fails to report it to the police within 24 hours. And it would impose a sentence of up to seven years for anyone who defends the rights of gays and lesbians.
This, my friends, is the most homophobic piece of legislation I have ever heard of in my life. It is scary. It makes me angry. If this bill passes, it would be the largest step back for gay rights in a long time. From this excellent NYT article this morning,
Anti-gay sentiments are one thing, and hardly unique to Uganda. But what seems different here is the level of official, government-sponsored anti-gay hate speech.
"I detest gays in my heart", said Kassiano E. Wadri, a member of Parliament and the chief whip of the opposition. “When I see a gay, I think that person needs psychotherapy. You need to break him."
In the same NYT article, which goes over some personal stories of Ugandan's who have to deal with this on a daily basis, they report this about a trans-man's experience:
A policeman jabbed a finger in his eye, he said, someone threw a beer in his face at a bar, and a security guard at a minimarket pistol-whipped him simply for trying to buy groceries.
I glad that the United States opposes this bill, and I am grateful that I have the freedom to speak out against this bill with out fear of being arrested. We all have this freedom in America, and I think it is our duty to use it. You can write a letter to Obamaurging him to help stop Uganda's dangerously homophobic new bill, but thankfully the White House has issued this statement:
The President strongly opposes efforts, such as the draft law pending in Uganda, that would criminalize homosexuality and move against the tide of history,” (via The Advocate)
You can talk to your friends about this and alert them to the dangers of this new bill. You can donate money (even a very small amount) to groups that have been active in opposing this bill. As activists, we have the freedom to speak out, and let us make sure this legislation does not pass.