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The Joint Uganda Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Press Statement against the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Kampala 09 March 2023

The lesbian gay bisexual transgender and queer community of Uganda gravely opposes the Anti- Homosexuality Bill, 2023 that has been introduced for its first reading today the 09th of March 2023.

According to the Memorandum of the Bill, the proposed legislation is intended to, ‘establish a comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect the traditional family’, by ‘strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional, heterosexual family’ and ‘protecting the cherished culture of the people of Uganda’. The Memorandum further indicates that the Bill is intended to address the fact that the Penal Code Act’s prohibition of same-sex sexual conduct is insufficient. In his submissions, the mover of the bill further alleges that homosexuality is a ‘cancer’ eating up the world and a human wrong that that needs to be addressed through legislation.

The tabling of this bill follows a period of heightened debate on homosexuality in Uganda, evidently documented by various print publication, online engagements, public demonstrations and press conferences by fundamentalist religious groups and politicians. The disinformation and misinformation have public dialogues have led to vitriolic physical, verbal, and digital harassment, attacks and violations of the LGBTQ+ community.

“This bill is based on conspiracy theories aimed at erasing the lives of LGBTQ Ugandans. It has created more hatred and violence on an already vulnerable community, and sadly unprecedented harm.” said Dr. Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda.

This bill is a duplication of the nullified 2014 Act with expansion of the offence of homosexuality by making it an offence for one to identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, queer ‘or any other sexual or gender identity/expression that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female.’ The Bill further reintroduces the offence of promotion of homosexuality which includes producing, procuring, marketing, broadcasting, disseminating pro-LGBT information, funding, and offering premises and other related fixed or moveable assets for purposes of homosexuality – directly targeting LGBTQ focused organizing.

“We are already experiencing denial of health-care services including HIV care and preventation, evictions, family rejections, arbitrary arrests, blackmail, online abuse and calls for the murder of known and/or perceived LGBTQ+ persons.” said a gay man.

As Ugandan citizens of conscience, we reject discrimination and stigmatisation of the LGBTQ persons. We condemn in the strongest terms sexual violence against all persons including children and we firmly believe that the existing legislation comprehensively protects them, if enforced. The proposed bill is unconstitutional and regressive in nature and if passed it will curtail public health services, access to justice, housing, association, and conscience among others.

We urge the Parliament of Uganda to uphold the principles of non-discrimination and desist from legislating hatred towards any group based on propaganda, myths and personal baises.