Ugandans Fight Back Against Anti-Gay Laws
1 year ago
If you think LGBTQ Africans are taking homophobic legislation lying down, think again
Mac McClelland reports for Mother Jones from Uganda where their legal penal code outlaws homosexuality, otherwise known as "unnatural offences," as spelled out since 1950. In 2009, Ugandan lawmakers took it a step further and introduced the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" otherwise known as the "Kill the Gays Bill" because it prescribes a death sentence for certain homoerotic sex acts. These bills enjoy the support of some American legislators.
With such homophobic and homo-hating laws you'd think that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer Ugandans would be hiding and pushed in the closet. But many are not. They're hanging out at Sappho Islands, the country's lone gay bar, being as gay as they want to be, with little fear of Ugandan forces coming into go gay-bashing.
McClelland talks with Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, a lesbian Ugandan who owns Sappho's and also cofounded the organization Freedom and Roam Uganda to protect the human rights of LGBTQ countrymen and women. She also speaks with Dennis Mawejje, programs manager for a grassroots organization called Icebreakers that does AIDS testing and youth advocacy. He also runs a blog where he advocates aggressively for gay rights protection.
"Ugandans take situations as they come," Mawejje told Mother Jones. "If they see a transgender person and they want to beat them up, they will, whether the bill exists or not."
Read more here.