Uganda Debates Legislation to Outlaw LGBTQ

By Azeezat Okunlola | Mar 11, 2023
On Thursday, legislators in Uganda's parliament began debating a bill that would make it a crime to identify as LGBTQ, arguing that the country's current prohibition on same-sex relationships is insufficient.


Same-sex relationships are illegal and can result in a life sentence in this extremely conservative and religious east African country.


Although more than 30 African countries have banned same-sex encounters, Human Rights Watch claims that Uganda's proposed law would be the first to outlaw the sheer fact of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ).


A draft of the proposed law was seen by Reuters, and it would empower Uganda to combat "threats to the traditional, heterosexual family." The bill was filed in Uganda as a private initiative by a member of Parliament. 


If you "hold out as a lesbian, gay, trans, queer, or any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female," you face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Abetting or conspiring in same-sex relationships, as well as "promoting" homosexuality, are also punishable offences.


The law is similar to another that was enacted in 2013 that also increased penalties and made lesbianism a crime. The law received global criticism before a home court invalidated it on procedural grounds.


After Speaker Anita Among read the new measure into parliament, she referred it to a committee for further review and public hearings before bringing it back to the House for debate and a vote.


Members of parliament were reportedly threatened by several Western countries with travel bans if they participated in enacting the law, but they were advised to reject this intimidation.
She asked, "What is America?" in response to the widespread practice of telling people they can't travel to the United States.