Merry Christmas, Uganda
Once more, momentum for Uganda’s controversial ‘kill the gays bill’ is gathering pace. But this time, there’s a little less global outrage, observes a furious Nicky Bryson.
As I sit here typing this column, I am filled with a deep crawling horror. At this very moment Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is up for debate and could even have been voted on by the time you read these words.
“Anti-homosexuality Bill.” It sounds almost rational, doesn’t it? Discriminatory and backward, yes, but not actually evil. I prefer the term given to this hateful little piece of proposed legislature by the media: the “kill the gays bill”.
This bill is evil and it is advocating genocide. Please don’t think I use that word lightly, I am more than aware of the shadows of the Holocaust that come with the word genocide and I use it with exactly the same force. This bill is intended to destroy the Ugandan homosexual population.
Homosexuality is already a criminal act in Uganda, punishable by up to 14 years in prison. This bill seeks to broaden that criminalistion to include a charge of “aggravated homosexuality” that carries with it the death penalty. If it is passed, new laws will also come into play that require parents to denounce their gay children, teachers to report gay pupils and even landlords will be prevented from renting to gay tenants. Those who defied would be jailed.
The “kill the gays bill” contravenes Uganda’s constitution and violates international human rights law but instead of worldwide outrage, there is a bit of a rumble.
How could a campaign as clearly calculating as Kony 2012 gain global traction but a bill that will result in capital punishment for homosexuality go largely unnoticed?
The only publications where this is front-page news are the gay papers. US President Barack Obama has spoken out against the bill, labeling it “odious” but I just don’t think that is a strong enough condemnation.
While some E.U. countries have threatened to withhold aid, that doesn’t seem like it will really happen. The Ugandan government has the world over a barrel on that one, don’t they? No one wants to see children starving, or wars raging unchecked for the sake the gay minority. In the larger scheme of things it seems as though homosexuals are a little bit disposable.
Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of Ugandan Parliament, has become a happy face for this draconian bill, promising to bring a vote on the proposed laws as a “Christmas gift” to the people of Uganda. A quick scroll through her Facebook page reveals how many Ugandans see her as a hero who is upholding their cultural and moral values.
The only light I see at the end of this dark tunnel is that this bill has been proposed and defeated once before, thanks to the millions of activists who stood up and protested. It’s time to do that again, it’s time for us all to raise our voices and stand to protect the vulnerable homosexual community of Uganda. I urge you to get on board with AllOut (an amazing LGBT activist group); sign their petition and share it with everyone you know. Unlike the slactivism of pressing ‘like’ for Kony 2012, adding your support to this campaign actually will make a difference.