Anti-LGBTQ sentiments run deep as the east African country Uganda passes the “Anti-homosexuality Bill, 2023″ with a near-unanimous majority. The bill had left the LGBTQ community in great shock and dismay as it will trigger mass arrests of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) persons and mob violence toward LGBTQ communities. They will fear going to health centres leading to a surge in cases of trauma and ill mental health in the community. Although same-sex relations were already illegal in Uganda, the new law will be punishing a broader array of LGBTQ activities that are contented to threaten traditional values in conservative and religious East African nations.
It includes steep sentences that include death for “aggravated homosexuality” and life in prison for same-sex relations. Aggravated homosexuality applies to same-sex activities with people under the age of 18 or when the perpetrator is HIV positive, among other categories, according to the law.
The Authorities had, this month itself arrested a secondary school teacher in the eastern district of Jinja over accusations of “grooming of young girls into unnatural sex practices”.She was subsequently charged with gross indecency and is in prison awaiting trial. Also, six people accused of running a network that was “actively involved in the grooming of young boys into acts of sodomy” were arrested.
As far as the international community is concerned it has condemned the law. “The law would undermine fundamental human rights and “reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS” and urged authorities to reconsider the implementation of the law,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also called on Uganda’s government to rethink the legislation, calling it “appalling and abhorrent.”
The legislation will next be sent to President Yoweri Museveni, who has repeatedly denounced homosexuality, to be signed into law.