Uganda: Where being gay is a heroism

In this post I wanted to talk about the Circuit Festival that reunites about 50 thousand gays in Barcelona for a fortnight. But reality struck back again when some sources reported that on the 16th of August six LGBT people were killed in Uganda. According to the association Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR) and reported by some Ugandan activists, three gay men ,two lesbians and a transsexual were murdered by stoning. “One who survived was burnt alive using kerosene and a match box”, stated a witness and source to the FNUR.ugandagay

Kill the gays- it is a law 

I’m having a hard time writing this. I mean, just try to put myself on their skin for a while. What? Why? Who? What’s in some Ug

andan’s minds? The most terrific fact is that these things occurred after the Anti Homosexuality Act was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court of Uganda. While some people were celebrating a breath of fresh air in such an oppressive country, some others went to take the (horrible) law into their own hands.

david bahati anti-homosexualityact
David Bahati

Let’s remember: The law, also known as “Kill the gays bill”, was introduced in 2009 by David Bahati, member of the Parliament, in order to increase the grade of criminalization of same-sex relationships in Uganda and introduce the death penalty to serial offenders, HIV-positive people who engaged sexual acti vity with people of the same sex and persons who had same-sex acts under 18 years. In addition, individuals or companies that promote LGBT would be fined or imprisoned. Can you imagine? To be incarcerated for your sexual orientation? For being who you are? When I come to think about it, I just feel depressed.

90% are against homosexuality

The law received a lot of public attention, and many people around the world criticized it. But in Uganda, where according to some surveys circa 90% of the people is against homosexuality, the proposition kept progressing. Even though the international pressure, the law was approved on the 20th of December of 2013 the Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, while the president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni signed the bill into law on 24th of February.

Yoweri Museveni President of Uganda

There was one change: There wasn’t death penalty, but life imprisonment for those who committed some certain acts of the “worse” category. Disgusting, isn’t it? According to the government, the decision was based on a report by “medical experts” who said that “homosexuality is not genetic but a social behavior”. Therefore, if it had been a genetic matter, it would not have been punishable, but it was a social conduct. An report in May released by the Uganda’s national LGBT advocacy group Sexual Minorities in Uganda (SMUG) found a 750% increase in attacks to LGBT community. Coincidence? Or an open door to homophobic people to act with impunity? And after that? Some common sense.

Deathpanalty on beeing gay

On the 1st of August, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled the law invalid as it hadn’t passed with the required quorum. It was an international victory for the gay community, but in Uganda it wasn’t much celebrated: Bahati, who proposed the law, has already announced that the decision will be appealed. And in the meantime, six people have been cruelly killed. Six innocent men and women who had committed one solely sin: love people of their same sex. Is this even real? As it is reported by the FNUR, during the last week 58 LGBT people were evacuated out of Uganda with this project, where they give ‘safe passages’, usually risking their own lives, to help people get out of the country. “Since the Railroad’s debut in April, a total of 448 Ugandan LGBT individuals who sought help to leave Uganda were successfully helped” by groups and foundations like NGO’s, churches and individual honors, informed the press released.

One opportunity-Escape to survive

A growing number are now resettled in third party countries, notably South Africa, Rwanda, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Ireland, Denmark and Germany. Initially, it is encouraging to see that all these people are being helped and welcomed in a country where they will live free for once. But I put on their skin for a while and I tremble. Ugandan’s LGBT community is discriminated by their own people. Hated, prosecuted and abandoned. They have to escape from their motherland. Physiologically destroyed and trying to figure out their fate. They are refugees, but not of a civil war or an ecological disaster. They are refugees of loving and feeling different from the majority. And, for me, this is even more macabre. This is way too sad.

By Mtí Q.


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