The rotten roots of Uganda’s anti-gay celebration

The rotten roots of Uganda’s anti-gay celebration

by Colin Stewart

 

Marchers support the country's harsh new anti-gay law on March 31, 2014, during a Parade and Thanksgiving Celebration.

Marchers support the country’s harsh new anti-gay law on March 31, 2014, during a Parade and Thanksgiving Celebration.

LGBT rights activists in Uganda were rattled by the display of widespread anti-gay sentiment and the ill-informed homophobic speech given by President Yoweri Museveni during today’s Parade and Thanksgiving Celebration for the enactment of the country’s harsh new Anti-Homosexuality Act.

In his speech, Museveni disregarded the broad scientific consensus that homosexuality is a natural phenomenon, focusing instead on a minority opinion presented to him by his advisers, who falsified information in a report  by Ugandan medical and psychological experts.

“Homosexuality is not nature, but nurture,” he said, as reported by the Daily Monitor.

 

Is this marcher blaming homosexuals for AIDS, even though heterosexual sexual relations are the predominant form of transmission of the HIV virus?

Is this marcher blaming homosexuals for AIDS, even though heterosexual sexual relations are the predominant form of transmission of the HIV virus?

Although homosexuality has long been a recognized part of African culture, including at least 21 traditional African varieties of same-sex relationships, Museveni repeated the claim that it is a Western import.

“Youth should not be lured to foreign culture,” he said.

He claimed not to care whether Western government cut aid to Uganda in response to the new law.

“We don’t need aid in the first place. Uganda is one of the richest countries on earth,” he said.

 

Anti-gay pastor Martin Ssempa took part in the march, of course.

Anti-gay pastor Martin Ssempa took part in the march, of course.

He alleged that many forms of sexual relations other than heterosexual intercourse are unhealthy and also that they had to be explained to him.  He claimed that he was unaware of the existence of anal intercourse, which he called “going to the wrong address.” He said:

“There are even some terrible things. There is what they call oral sex. The mouth is for eating. …

“Why do you go to the wrong address? Initially i did not know where they were going. I had to ask. …

“I came to learn that homosexuality was very unhealthy. This is because they go to the wrong address.”

One observer on Facebook reported being punched in her face as she took photos of the event:

“I have never paid as dearly as today for taking photos for my fieldwork research. My face was punched by a red-top military policeman who insisted that I stop taking photos of the celebrants at the 2014 Parade and Thanksgiving Celebration held at Kololo Airstrip today. Violence, just!

“Traffic policemen dressed in white, police officers dressed in white and blue and others in khaki, military policemen dressed in green and brown, red-top military policemen with their dirty-green clothes and red berets, army men in green on foot, in lines, in groups atop pick-up trucks, in buses and in packed lorries were everywhere alongside the marchers who carried interesting placards.

 

Students were among the marchers in the anti-gay parade in support of the Anti-Homosexuality Act on March 31, 2014..

Students were among the marchers in the anti-gay parade in support of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

“As a parent who pays school fees for my children, I was horrified to watch bus-fulls of pupils and students dressed in all sorts of uniforms being ferried into the Kololo Airstrip grounds on a school day. The violence that this rally represents is much worse than the violent physical blow to my face! “

An activist with the Come Out Post-Test Club, which fights AIDS and supports HIV-positive LGBT people in Kampala’s slums, said the rally should serve as a reminder to supporters of the great need for financial assistance to LGBT rights organizations in Uganda:

“Let the anti-gay rally of today be a lesson to all LGBT groups, international allies and partners, as well as donors and embassies, not to sleep with their support — mostly funds. This is the time we need it more, mostly to do advocacy as well in area of community sensitization, awareness programs and dissemination of materials on LGBT issues. … It’s what our enemies are using on radio, television and newspapers to spread their anti-gay propaganda to the public, [while LGBT rights organizations cannot].

Small fund-raising efforts for LGBT groups in Uganda include:

  • Save Transgenders And MSM Living with AIDS Uganda — Come Out Post Test club works with HIV positive LGBT persons in Uganda
  • All Out Uganda — Please donate today to help us ensure safety of the Ugandan LGBT community (Youth on Rock Foundation)
  • Roof LGBT Uganda — After The Passing Of The Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law In Uganda, Many Young men especially Transgenders have become homeless. (Spectrum Uganda)
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