Dear Parents, We Are Also Concerned.

By Bana Mwesige

The anti-gay movement and their friends have woken up from their long slumber and are faking a hangover in the wake of the World Bank’s decision to halt new funding for loans as a result of Uganda’s recently passed anti-homosexuality law. Of particular note is the recent letter titled “Parental NATIONAL Response to the Threat by the International Community on the Issue of Homosexuality” sent out by “concerned” parents led by one Stephen Langa, claiming to speak for all parents and families in Uganda.

Let me turn my attention to Stephen Langa for a moment. He is a well-known anti-gay activist who has allied with all manner of charlatans and fraudsters such as the infamous Martin Ssempa (who once projected really graphic gay pornography in church for some reason) and the perplexed/confused ex-gay known as Mukisa (who also had a proclivity for showing graphic gay pornography on Twitter/X as a way of “fighting” homosexuality). That aside, for Langa to say he’s a concerned parent when this has been his life’s work is at best a lie and more or less a way to gaslight Ugandans. His involvement in this movement is more about his paycheck than any real “concern” about the issue of homosexuality. He benefits financially from being an anti-gay activist, so his concern is simply for his paycheck. As someone who claims to be deeply invested in the issue of homosexuality, his impeccable timing raises eyebrows. He seems to conveniently appear whenever there’s an opportunity to grab media attention and bask in the glory of being hailed as a hero. Let’s not forget the financial aspect of it all – press conferences, running organizations, and activism in general require a significant amount of money. It’s clear that this is all about the paycheck. However, the public is not blind to his motives and will soon see through his facade, just like it did with the many who came before him.

Although Langa’s motives are questionable, the act of impersonating all the parents of Uganda is a remarkable flex, even if the motive here is financial gain. The individuals who claim to be “concerned” appear to share a uniform perspective on homosexuality, the World Bank’s statement, and the advantages of this legislation. Such conformity is absurd, if not preposterous, and reminiscent of a cult.

These actions remind me of another group of “concerned” parents in the USA who call themselves “One Million Moms” and describe themselves as “the most powerful tool you have to stand against the immorality, violence, vulgarity, and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at your children”—and they spend their time writing angry articles and petitions about things like the lesbians in Toy Story 4, the gay character in the live-action Beauty and the Beast, and children’s books that reference a kid’s same-sex parents.”

Its basically the same grift and it bears a striking resemblance to the one being attempted by Langa, who seeks to amplify his influence by overstating his reach. For instance, the group “One Million Moms” purports to represent a million individuals, despite estimates suggesting that their actual membership is nowhere near that figure. Similarly, Langa’s “concerned parents” claim to speak on behalf of all parents in Uganda, despite the fact that even the most “concerned” parents are unfamiliar with Langa or what he does. These groups are also financially supported by the typical right-wing and religious backers, such as Family Watch International for Langa and the fundamentalist Christian American Family Association for “One Million Moms.” Furthermore, they are often not so eager to disclose the identities of these funders.

So, where does this leave us who are not “concerned”? Are we not citizens? Does our opinion not matter? What about the parents of LGBTQ+ Children? Do they not exist? Or do their opinions take a back seat to those of Langa?

Unfortunately (and I am under no illusions), it’s no secret that Uganda is a very homophobic country, and there are definitely some parents who share Langa’s views. However, it’s interesting to note that he’s the only one who has put his name to these statements.

We should be concerned. In fact, we are concerned. We are concerned about someone speaking for all parents. We are concerned that you feel so concerned about our lives, our parents, and our children, like you don’t have your own to look after. We are concerned that the best person you can get to represent you is just your old-school anti-gay activist with a history of allying with people who are into sharing graphic gay porn on Twitter and in church in an attempt to somehow fight homosexuality. In fact, we would argue that the only “concerned” parent here is Langa. And it’s not about homosexuality but his paycheck. Which he gets by pretending to be “concerned” by homosexuality. How concerning!