Friday, October 16, 2009

Aggravated Homosexuality punishable by death

"Aggravated homosexuality" may sound like what happens when a gay man comes home grumpy following a shitty day at work and decides that a quick worship at the Church of Man Love will calm him down, only to find that his bad temper lingers and he is too spanky for his partner's taste.

But alas it is far more sinister than that.

"Aggravated homosexuality" is in fact a proposed offence in Uganda's new Anti-Homosexuality bill and covers people who have gay sex with under 18s or disabled people, or who have gay sex while HIV positive. If the bill is passed, this offence will be punishable by death. That's right. Death. I don't know if they would kill somebody three times for having sex with a disabled person under 18 while HIV positive, but given Uganda's tough on gays, tough on the causes of gays policy, it wouldn't surprise me.

The Gambia's insane President Yahya Jammeh periodically threatens to cut the heads of gay people, but he never does it. However, Uganda may actually be hanging gay men in the next few years. Now, being gay and Ugandan has never been a happy combination - is is already illegal and gay and lesbian people are subject to arbitrary arrest and assualt - particularly given the virulent Christianity popular there, but this takes the biscuit.

Even if this particular paragraph is not passed or is never put into practice, the rest of the bill is just as harsh. Seven years imprisonment is the punishment for "promoting homosexuality", which rights groups say will hamper their work and also threaten the battle against HIV/AIDS. Straight people can be prosecuted for failing to report suspected homosexuals.

Unfortunately, anyone who lives in East Africa will not be surprised that a bill like this could be passed. I have asked many people here about their attitudes to gay and lesbian people and unfortunately there is a strong belief that they deserved to be punished for their crimes against God.

If I were gay and Ugandan, I would be packing up right now and heading for Mombasa to hitch a lift on a gay cruise ship, where I could happily play shuffleboard and have massive amounts of consenual gay sex with whoever I want, even if they do have a limp (please note only one of these pursuits is perverted).

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