Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill Update

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com May. 11, 2011

An Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, thought dead by many, has resurfaced, and LGBT Ugandans and their allies are bracing for the worst with a possibility that the bill could pass any day now. Activists say motivations are not just about homophobia, and that the bill is being used as a political tool.

“There is credible speculation that the AHB is being used to blind the world to the Ugandan government’s failure to address problems of rampant inflation and civil unrest,” said the Rev. Peter Morales of the Unitarian Universalists Association. “Whatever the motivation, it is clear the AHB is an attack not only on LGBT Ugandans but on the basic principles of inclusivity and human rights.”

The church has been coordinating with the Unitarian church in Uganda, whose pastor, the Rev. Mark Kiyimba, was here in Boise in November 2010 speaking about what he said was the extreme homophobia that American evangelicals have exported to his homeland that have resulted in the AHB and increased hate crimes in the country

Ugandan LGBT activist Peter Yiga was attacked in a home invasion after a Ugandan tabloid published names and addresses of known or suspected LGBT Ugandans under the headline, “100 Pictures of Ugandan Top Homo’s Leaked — Hang Them!”

In 2010, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni put the brakes on the AHB because of global pressure, largely from Europe and the United States. It now appears his position has shifted. Despite a petition circulating internationally that has so far collected more than 450,000 signatures all over the globe, President Museveni said on May 10 that he will not back down to foreign pressure, according to Yiga.

“[Museveni] might have devised a way out; he may pass the bill and start arresting us,” Yiga said.

Whether the AHB passes or not, Yiga siad LGBT Ugandans are still is serious danger,

“People are furious,” said Yiga, “They have been saying if Museveni isn’t ready to handle homosexuals, they will do it themselves.”

Exporting Homophobia: American far-right conservative churches establish influence on anti-gay policy in Africa

UPDATE: May 7, 2011 Exporting Homophobia took 2nd place at the Idaho Press Club’s Best of 2010 banquet category: Weekly Print Media Watchdog / Investigative Report


What other’s are saying about Exporting Homophobia

“I was curious enough to do some research, and came across your excellent article. We’ve known for a long time about the U.S. Evangelical right exerting it’s influence in Africa…Thank you for shedding light on a truly troubling, frightening in fact, subject.”

Michelle Faul, Chief Africa Correspondent, Associated Press

“Some of Jody May-Chang’s story on homophobia in Uganda you’ve heard before. If you’ve read any of writer Jeff Sharlet’s work on The Family, or heard him on NPR’s Fresh Air, much of what you’ll read in “Exporting Homophobia” will not surprise you. This month, Sharlet is back on the airwaves and back on stands with a follow-up, and May-Chang interviewed him earlier this year as that work was just going public. It’s a dense read, but one I think is worthy of the page space and your time.”

Rachel Daigle, Editor-in-Chief Boise Weekly

Exporting Homophobia: American far-right conservative churches establish influence on anti-gay policy in Africa — Gay Ugandans face daily fear for their lives

By Jody May-Chang ©2010
NEWS FEATURE STORY Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Sept. 08, 2010

Boise Weekly Feature Story Exporting Homophobia Jody May-ChangPeter Yiga is a Ugandan born-again Christian with a degree in computer engineering. He is the father of a young child and is also a known gay activist in a country that is on a witch hunt.

In February, Yiga attended a human rights conference in the capital city of Kampala.

“I saw a member of parliament who attended, talking very bitter and vowing to kill everyone–including their sons and daughters–if they were proved homosexuals,” he told BW by Internet video conference from Uganda.

Yiga described how he and his friends are psychologically tortured and forced to endure daily warnings and promises of being hunted down and killed.

“The church and other leaders have done a lot to brainwash people, and all the community now is readily spitting fire against homosexuality. They are planning to kill or panga [machete] us. We have been running from house to house because when a neighborhood learns about your orientation, then you should expect mob justice anytime,” he said.

Although homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda since the colonial era, there has been an unprecedented escalation of hatred fueled by Uganda’s pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. If passed in its present form, the wide-ranging legislation calls for the death penalty for gays and lesbians who engage in sex and are HIV positive, have committed the offense of homosexuality more than once, have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol during a sexual encounter or one partner has a disability. For other, less “aggravated” offenses, they face life in prison.