Commemorating the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is a constant reminder of the hurdles that we have to work hard to overcome as LGBTIQ identifying persons. This particular year finds Uganda’s LGBTIQ community in an even more uncertain place with the recent passing of the Sexual Offences bill.
The 2021 IDAHOBIT theme, “Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!” couldn’t have been more fitting as we recognize the need to hold each other’s hands as we navigate and hopefully conquer these uncertain times and discriminatory laws that continue to be imposed against us simply for being who we are.
Therefore, as we join the rest of the world to mark the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), the LGBTIQ community in Uganda calls upon the President H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni not to assent to the Sexual Offenses Bill that criminalizes LGBTIQ people in Uganda.
The sexual Offenses Bill particularly Clause 11 is against:
- Performing a sexual act contrary to the order of nature. If convicted this “crime” carries a maximum penalty of 10 years.
- Attempt to commit unnatural offence carries a maximum penalty is 5 years if convicted.
“As the world marks IDAHOBIT, we call upon our friends and allies to continue calling out African governments that rule with impunity to violate the human rights of LGBTIQ persons”, Kuchu Times Media Group Executive Director and feminist Kasha Jaqueline Nabagesera shares her plea to the international community on this day of commemoration.
Dr. Frank Mugisha the Executive Director Sexual Minorities Uganda also stresses the importance of individually pledging to create a safe space for LGBTIQ people to exist.
Uganda is not the only African nation suffering at the hands of unjust laws. Lately African governments have been taking on a barbaric stance to stifle LGBTIQ human rights. In Cameroon, two transgender women were convicted of attempted homosexuality because of the clothes they wore to a restaurant; this is something that cuts across the continent with several Transgender women being paraded before the media and accused of impersonation.
South Africa has registered at least 8 series of brutal hate crimes against LGBTIQ people with few arrests and prosecutions. In Ghana when LGBTIQ activists opened up a support center, they were forced to shut it down just a month later and the founders were forced into hiding. According to a survey by the Center for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), about 87% of Ghanaians are against LGBTIQ people.
Spaces for LGBTIQ people to exist continue to shrink and today we stand tall and call for representation and recognition within all sectors. We are deserving and our sexual orientations and gender identities should not define how we are treated.