Ugandan lawmakers are again initiating a vicious battle against sexual minorities by introducing a new law that might make it illegal to proclaim as gay, lesbian, or transgender.
On Tuesday, the Ugandan parliament permitted the introduction of a revised and even more despicable version of the previously invalidated 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act.
It came after months of hostile rhetoric against sexual and gender minorities by public figures and an increased government crackdown on human rights organizations, including those defending the rights of Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) people.
Touching another person to commit the act of homosexuality or promote homosexuality is illegal under the new proposed law. Additionally, it effectively considers all same-sex behavior to be non-consensual.
The newly proposed legislation would also make it illegal to take part in a same-sex marriage ceremony and penalize sexual and gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female. In Uganda, LGBTQ people face a lot of risks.
The lawmakers proposed the new law against the LGBTQ community as a follow-up to the arrest of a lesbian teacher in Jinja city, Uganda.
On Monday, a female teacher at the PMM Girls School in Jinja City was detained by the police on suspicion of advocating homosexuality. According to police, the teacher is now being questioned as part of the investigation.
The police claimed that the teacher was arrested due to her alleged partner’s complaint to the authorities that she was neglecting her and enlisting young girls in their vice.
The 30-year-old alleged lesbian partner of the teacher turned herself into the police and they both are now under the care of the police. According to reports, the partner had complained that the teacher had been cheating on her and neglecting to meet her basic needs.
The teacher stated that she rented a house for her partner and established her timber company; she refuted claims of not providing her supposed lesbian partner’s basic requirements.
The two homosexuals will be charged with sexual harassment in court when the case completes.
The arrest and other allegations happened the day after hundreds of parents protested outside PMM Girls’ School in Jinja City over the supposed presence of a teacher who was encouraging homosexuality and lesbianism.
After multiple social media posts accused the teacher of spoiling their girls, the angry parents demanded the release of their kids from the dorms. One of the parents, Ms. Edith Mutesi, claimed that she enrolled her daughter in school for academic purposes rather than lesbianism.
Ms. Rose Kalembe, the chairperson of the old girls’ school organization, said the teacher should be suspended from school because she is disgracing their image.
Parents are said to have spoken with the school authorities about the issue, but their apparent inaction caused the parents to take further action.
When they approached, the school administration declined to comment on the situation. Mr. Haruna Mulopa, the Jinja City Education Officer, stated that the matter had been turned over to the police.
As already mentioned, living in Uganda as a person from the LGBTQ community is quite risky.
Besides raiding homeless shelters for LGBTQ youngsters and abusing and detaining occupants, the government has made two rounds of mass arrests of persons based on their presumptive sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Uganda government forbade the well-known LGBTQ rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in August 2022. It was because it had not been properly registered, even though the same authorities had previously prevented the organization from registering.
The chance to uphold the freedoms of expression, association and privacy guaranteed by the nation’s constitution was missed by the Constitutional Court when it invalidated the former Anti-Homosexuality Act on procedural grounds.
Ugandan Officials should declare that all Ugandans, particularly vulnerable minorities, have access to these fundamental human rights rather than isolating LGBTQ individuals.
Earlier this year, many government authorities claimed that the schools in Uganda had been targets of LGBTQ activists seeking acceptability in the country.
Local NGO Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has been charged with encouraging homosexuality in school environments.
In a video released in February this year, a child described how he had been recruited and promised between $1000 and $1500 to film gay porn in a wealthy Kampala suburb where people lived and worked.
In January 2023, investigations occurred following the complaints of homosexuality against some staff members and teachers at King’s College Budo.
A parent took to social media that a teacher from King’s College Budo has been abusing his son for four years. Similar cases of this type of sexual abuse were reported in other schools at the same time.
Homosexuality is prohibited in Uganda. The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 was declared illegal by the Constitutional Court in 2016 due to procedural issues. So far, the Criminal Code Act continues to define homosexuality as a crime against morality.
This means that those who practice homosexuality may still face legal consequences. There is a group of people who believe that the scandals regarding homosexuality in the news may have a secret agenda.
LGBTQ persons in Uganda continue to experience severe discrimination, which is fostered by political and religious authorities. LGBTQ persons frequently experience violent and cruel attacks, which are frequently carried out by governmental agents.
The same legal protections afforded to opposite-sex couples do not apply to households headed by same-sex couples. Since 205, same-sex marriages have been prohibited by the constitution.
The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed in 2013 and repealed in 2014. For aggravated homosexuality, the Act contained a sentence of life in prison.
As a result of the law, which brought Uganda to worldwide attention and incited controversy, numerous governments decided to stop giving Uganda any more help. The retiring parliament approved legislation criminalizing sex labor and same-sex relationships in May 2021.
The government of Uganda has not explicitly forbidden Ugandan citizens from trying to change public policies and attitudes towards LGBTQ individuals, despite the criminal legislation and prevalent sentiments.
It is difficult to survive in Uganda as a person from the LGBTQ community. Due to the fierce law that the nation has, several people, hide their sexual orientations and live in the binary category of gender, male, and female.