Are gays nuts or sinners seems to be the question at hand given the Ugandan context?
By Melanie Nathan, January 24, 2014.
The NRM, Uganda’s ruling political party, under President Yoweri Museveni discussed the newly passed Anti-Homosexuality Bill at a caucus today. Word has it that the NRM has resolved that they will hire consultant doctors and psychiatrists to present research findings in their efforts to determine whether or not homosexuality is abnormal.
Apparently according to MP Peter Ogwang, the NRM is attempting to discover whether one is born gay or if it is a learned behavior.
This has profound ramifications and let us outline what promises to be a lose-lose situation:-
Status of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:
The AHB was introduced in 2009 by its sponsor David Bahati, led into battle against gays by U.S. Evangelicals Scott Lively, Lou Engle and endorsed by others from around the world, such as Senator Inhofe and his C Street gang, U.K. Evangelical Paul Shinners, and a back peddling, now contrite Rick Warren.
The Bill, despite being tossed around, as a political ping-pong ball for years, finally passed the Ugandan Parliament last month, and was sent only this week in its final form to President Museveni. Museveni has 2 choices. he can either assent to the Bill, which he must do within 30 days from the date he received it, or he can send it back to Parliament with recommended amendments. Because it is a ‘private member’ bill, he has no power of veto. If he assents, it becomes law. If he returns it to Parliament, it can go back to him with the amendments and he can then assent – or Parliament can decide not to invoke the amendments and they can pass it on their own, without a Presidential signature, if they can get a two-third majority vote.
The current, as passed Bill, has yet to be seen by the Press and the Parliament has not been exactly forthcoming in making a copy available to the public. Already at this point, based only the word of observers in Parliament, it seems that 2 pertinent aspects have been removed from the initial Bill: The death clause and the clause that says people have to turn in known homosexuals or they too can receive a jail sentence. This is not be trusted until we actually see the Bill.
Even then, the Bill is still extremely onerous in the apparent current form because it includes harsh prison terms such as life in prison. It also includes clauses that will in effect result in the shut down of all LGBT and related human rights organizations, making it impossible to operate legally, due to the outlawing, (albeit based on a false notion,) of the so called ‘recruitment’ undertaken by gays and the so called ’promotion’ of homosexuality.
We must look at this also in the light of the recent letter of chastisement sent by Museveni to the Speaker of the Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga. He expressed anger that the Bill was passed surreptitiously and without a quorum, and also expressed his opinion that ‘gays are abnormal’ and therefor should be dealt with in a more humane fashion. He noted that he wanted to involve professionals who could determined the nature of homosexuality and that he would be willing to sign an amended Bill. Now the Bill is indeed with him and we must wait approximately 26 more days to see what he does with it.
In the meantime his party has caucused and made the request as noted above, that they will hire consultant doctors and psychiatrists to present research findings in their efforts to determine whether or not homosexuality is abnormal.
What does this mean for the AHB and LGBT Ugandans?
Consider these 4 factors:
- 80% of Ugandans (more than 2/3rds in Parliament) favor criminalizing LGBT people – given their subscription to what they have been fed by USA Evangelicals and their own band of crazy pastors;
- Uganda has repeatedly expressed that it considers itself a Christian country – many interpret the Bible as saying that gays are an abomination and should be killed; and
- What does Uganda do with “abnormal” people – they cure them or put them away;
- The AHB has a strong foundation based on profound lies about homosexuality – that gay people pay and recruit others into ‘gaydom’, that gays promote homosexuality, that being gay is a choice and that ones’ sexuality is defined only by one’s sexual behavior and not one’s attractions and desire to love and feel loved.
That all said, this is a lose-lose political ploy for gays – now NRM is going to investigate what being a homosexual is – are gays abnormal nut jobs or are gays sinners, is what it boils down to, given the Ugandan context?
After all given the Ugandan context, if gays and lesbians are gay by choice then they will be deemed sinners worthy of punishment; and if they are not LGBT by choice, then they will be viewed as abnormal, and sent for ‘correction, reparative remedies etc.
I am almost sure that the likely amendments by Museveni will center around this notion of correction and that the experts they choose will be likely to conform to the political play.
One would think this scenario about what it means to be gay would have played out long before passage of the Bill. But instead it has been all hate and rhetoric.
So either way LGBT Ugandans will loose – they will be deemed nutty or sinners!
In essence the law should be scrapped. But it seems that the political play will continue, and all the while, the fate of LGBT Ugandans continues to be tossed around, without regard for the real education and truth. The LGBT Ugandans either way will still be scape goats and the issue will still be a distraction from the real domestic ills hurting Uganda at this time such as poverty, corruption and oppression of other political parties.
This is indeed a very simple analysis and there is a lot more that one can assert to complete the picture. But for now let this suffice. I can only say my hope is that the Ugandans will open their doors to the real experts on the subject and that is going to be a tough call, because anyone from the West will be perceived further as having the Colonialist desire to control and shape the landscape of what Ugandans consider their own cultural and moral issue. The great irony is that the landscape was changed by the Colonialists and by the Western Evangelicals, to yield this sorry state of affairs in the first place.
“…gay rights activist Melanie Nathan argues that the US Christian evangelical movement is also shaping public debate, playing a key role in Uganda’s parliament passing a new anti-gay bill in December, which makes it a crime not to report homosexuals to police and to talk about homosexuality without denouncing it.
“When religious extremists… found that their war against homosexuality was floundering on home turf, they scrambled to capture a world ripe for scapegoating, using the Bible to spin their hateful yarn on African soil. Uganda became a target and they were successful,” she blogged.
“Their target included, not only the general Ugandan populace, but also the Ugandan politicians and Members of Parliament, who subscribed to their interpretations, that Gays are not fit to live ‘because the Bible says so!’ This trend has spread across the continent. And anti-gay laws have been passed, compliments U.S. Evangelicals.” Read more http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25858397