Author: M. G.
The president of the United States expressed his negative opinion on a proposed legislation by Ugandan Parliament that condemn individuals convicted of homosexual acts to life imprisonment and also criminalize those who don't report gay people to the police. Obama, who defined the bill as ‘odious', warned Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni by saying that enacting these kinds of laws would complicate relations between the US and Uganda. This bill is also a real affront and a danger to Uganda's gay community, in fact it forbids to promote homosexuality, which means that talking about homosexuality without condemning it could become a crime. Considering that the US is one of the main aid donors of Uganda, Museveni will surely keep Obama's words in mind.
Even if last month Uganda's president already refused to sign the bill, there is still a lot of concern on Museveni's views: his spokesman wanted people to know that in the president's opinion gay people are sick, they just don't deserve to be killed or jailed for life. "What the president has being saying is that we shall not persecute these homosexuals and lesbians. That is the point," Museveni's spokesman said. Gay stigmatization in Uganda is still a dramatic problem, the government condemns gay behaviour and furthermore the Uganda's parliament is still working on an anti-gay legislation. This will make you understand why we need international pressure on countries like Russia, Nigeria and Uganda that are trying to criminalize instead of enhance the conditions of homosexuals and their rights. UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay reported her surprise in noting how the Ugandan bill "in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights".
Another call against gay criminalization in Africa comes from the Archibishop of York - John Sentamu, born in Uganda - who, together with Canterbury's Archibishop Justin Welbi, wrote a letter directly to the Presidents of Uganda and Nigeria: "The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us". The letter comes as Archbishop Welby starts a five day tour of four African countries and the clergymen said the letter was a result of "questions about the Church of England's attitude to new legislation in several countries that penalises people with same sex attraction".
Being gay is a problem, especially for those who are not gay. Being gay is a social issue, even though it's about the private life of individuals. Being gay is very dangerous if you are born in the wrong country. President Obama is trying to change this situation and we hope that many others will join his efforts.