Welcome to Uganda, the country where the “Kill the Gays” bill of 2009 will become law as a “Christmas Gift to the population” (according to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga)
The bill has been written to allow the death penalty in cases of what is defined in the text as “aggravated homosexuality”. The Offence of Homosexuality will still be punished with life imprisonment. Aggravated Homosexuality is defined as: homosexual acts committed by a person who is HIV-positive, is a parent or authority figure, or who administers intoxicating substances, homosexual acts committed on minors or people with disabilities, and repeat offenders. The offence of homosexuality involves engaging in same-sex intercourse and same-sex marriage, as well as working for or volunteering for LGBT organizations.
The scariest part to me, and the one which we can all do something about is the extradition clause. Yes. If they find out that you’re involved in any kind of gay relationship, or otherwise they can extradite a Ugandan back home to be tried and punished – which could mean the death penalty depending on the offense.
Being gay is not a crime against humanity. Neither is being HIV positive. Neither is, for that matter being a gay parent. Yes, pedophilia is a crime, but it is a crime no matter what your sexuality indicates as a preference in terms of gender.
I find it particularly terrifying to think of being a child whose parent was executed for having a gay parent. In fact, having had a gay HIV positive parent means that I already know what that feels like, and adding a possible government sanctioned criminal offense to the pile of trauma is enough to leave me sitting at my computer not knowing whether to cry or laugh at the absurdity.
Instead, I’m asking you to consider doing something about it. If and when this is made a law, consider writing your governmental authorities about the notion of denying extradition to Uganda under this law. That you as a citizen feel it is wrong to extradite someone on the basis of their sexuality.
There’s another thing you can do, too. You can write those same government officials and you can tell them that they should start speaking to the Ugandan Government now. That the United States, or Canada, or Great Britain or France does not support the actions of a state in killing those whose sexual preference is different from the majority.
The fact that Speaker Kadaga has referred to this as a Christmas gift to her people horrifies me, not just because she refers to the extermination and imprisonment of LGBT people as a gift, but because those same LGBT people are her constituents too – and for them this isn’t a gift at all. It’s a condemnation of their rights as human beings in their home country, and proof that their own government does not believe in their right to freedom.
Things may be getting better in the United States, but we have a long way until it is safe to be gay in the world and we cannot be complacent about execution, even if it isn’t happening in our backyard.