Activists prepare to take action on Uganda’s anti-gay bill

Photo credit: The Guardian

Photo credit: The Guardian

Ugandan lawmakers have threatened to pass a so-called “Kill the Gays” bill for years. In December, they finally succeeded—and the bill now awaits approval or rejection from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Calling for life imprisonment for homosexual acts, the bill is poised to create serious penalties for LGBT people and anyone who advocates for their rights. If the bill becomes law, simply discussing homosexuality in Uganda—without simultaneously condemning it—could lead to a prison term.

Contrary to many international media reports, a recent letter Museveni wrote about the bill does not amount to a legal rejection of it. In the letter, Museveni described LGBT people as “abnormal” and lesbians in particular as suffering from “sexual starvation,” but he also said they should not be jailed or killed for their “deviant” behavior.

“The letter was offensive no matter what side you are coming from,” Caroline,* AJWS’s Ugandan country consultant, explained. Museveni still has weeks to sign the bill or reject it.

Photo credit: The New York Times

Photo credit: The New York Times

Some LGBT activists in Uganda are reconsidering whether they feel safe mobilizing opposition to the bill. A few human rights organizations in Uganda have “backed off,” Caroline said. “If we’re all out there [advocating] now, it could come back to haunt us,” she explained. “[Human rights NGOs] already have so many challenges in dealing with the government.”

But many Ugandan LGBT activists —including several AJWS grantees in the country—continue to bear the potential risks of speaking out. On Monday, Feb. 10, Ugandan activists are launching a “Global Day of Action,” working with advocates inside the country and throughout the world to oppose the anti-homosexuality bill and the hatred it represents. AJWS is joining with our partners to take action at this critical time.

After years of brainstorming ways to halt the bill’s progress, Ugandan LGBT rights advocates are also coming up with legal strategies for challenging its constitutionality, should it become law. Caroline said the bill has not created the anti-LGBT movement in Uganda that its masterminds intended.

“It’s been positive in a strange way,” Caroline said. She cited the way human rights groups and activists from Uganda and across the globe have consistently worked together to fight the bill. “I think the discussions that have happened never would have happened otherwise.”

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TAKE ACTION: Speak out against Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill and join the Global Day of Action on Feb. 10. 

*Last name excluded to protect Ugandan staff from any potential government retribution.

Elizabeth Daube is a communications officer for American Jewish World Service.

This entry was posted in Human Rights, LGBTI Rights, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Activists prepare to take action on Uganda’s anti-gay bill

  1. iAm says:

    Amber Michele Pierce of San Diego California. I am the granddaughter of (Laura Gene Bellfield)and Cecil Pierce from Roanoke Rapids North Carolina, Cecil Pierce served in the navy and lauras brother David Bellfield (deceased)served in the Army. As well as Granddaughter of Van Justin Walker,who is the son of Van Walker and Helen Meeks Walker of the Cherokee Tribe. My Pierce grandparents now reside in San Diego. An my grandfather is deceased from Redondo Beach but was in San Diego and Louisiana in his years prior. My reason for contacting the Army is because a series of misfortunate events with Government San Diego County offices continues to punish, fine, jail and prohibit me from living, and I am feeling scared, profiled, and victimized for trusts, heritages, and my children. I have been jailed several times in 2 months totaling 200,000 in bail, on false charges, failure to appears on cases not submitted by the DA. I was served warrants falsely, Im harassed by the city transit officers, CPS has takin away my children and are requiring me to do narcotic classes for METH Addiction and forcing me to be treated for mental psychosis based SOLELY on the alligations of my Mother Brenda Walker and my Father Michael Pierce. Yet they have no actual documentation that shows meth in my system, nor that I have been diagnosed with mental psychosis. Cps also sent my 2 youngest sons to another state with their Father Justin Swanson, who deserted our kids and I for 18 months until the CPS case, and provided me with no contact information besides an email. I have only a criminal history as far as driving infractions and I feel I am being targeted and violated in means to make sure I fail, and be placed in a whole as far down as possible that I have no way to survive, get my children back or be able to access any information or documents that proves my children and I are in slavery, and used in a malicious way to cover up history. I am scared of the courts, the officers, and any county office. I am now diagnosed with depression seven months after the removal of my kids, and continuous arrests and harassment. I have a court case on the 20th and I am scared to death of whats going to happen to me. My mother does have a fraudulent criminal history. She also denies our eligibility to the Cherokee tribe when I am more than sure we are and the courts took her word. I have seen over 25 trusts accounts with name similarities and exact birthdate information for myself. The one fact that makes me feel like the most racially discriminated person in the history of time is, I am the only person in the fourth generation to have All 4 fore fathers with the nationalities of the Belfield, Pierce, Walker and Meeks family. I have a hemoglobin C trait which only 7percent of people in the whole world as well as my kids. Yet, I am being continually told by my family, the courts, and county records office my grandparents aren’t from any important blood lines and Im not the first. Im always aware of extreme important documents that are missing or falsified. This all began after it became known that I have power of attorney over Barbara Gene Bittner who I was living with and instructed to leave with no allowance of me collecting my clothes, documents or anything of that matter, by Coronado Police. I am aware that Barbara’s son Brad Bittner is a great part of society with all of San Diegos city officials. I feel like I am going to be the Please Im begging you to please help me. I have been stripped down to where Im trapped, defenseless and Im loosing hope and slowly dying emotionally. I beg you PLEASE HELP ME. Im not perfect but this just cant be right. I hope all of America isn’t like San Diego, because Im living a nightmare in what used to be the land that I love. I have no phones because wallets, purses and phones come up missing continuously. Please, I hope there is a way I can be allowed a free life. I truly believe slavery is still very will because I am being forced to be a nobody and my bloodline doesn’t represent that at all… thank you for your very precious and important time.

    thank you,

    iAm Amber Pierce

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