Uganda passes law criminalising "identifying as homosexual"

Uganda has made its anti-LGBT+ legislation a lot stricter. Almost anything referring to homosexuality is punishable by law, with a life sentence for gay sex. The death penalty applies to HIV-positive persons who have sex with someone of the same sex. Parliamentarians even call for the castration of homosexuals.
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The East African country now has one of the strictest bans on homosexuality in the world. The law was introduced after a smear campaign against homosexuality in East Africa, fuelled by online conspiracy theories about Westerners making children homosexual. The chairman of parliament previously described the law as a resistance to Western values. According to her, the West could destroy the "standards of decency" in her country.

According to Human Rights Watch, this is the first time a country has introduced a law making it a criminal offense to identify yourself as LGBT+. Sex with someone of the same sex is now punishable by life imprisonment. The death penalty will apply to sex with a minor of the same sex, as well as to persons who are HIV-positive.

The law is being sold as a measure to protect children from homosexual men. In the debate, homosexuality was regularly referred to as sex with small children. In a lively debate, the bill passed with a large majority of votes. Some MPs even wanted the law to be even stricter. For example, MP Sarah Opendi suggested adding to the law that homosexuals should be castrated, which was followed by loud laughter from her colleagues. However, her amendment did not pass the law.

Homosexuality in Uganda is a big taboo. In addition to the ban on this, LGBT+ people are structurally faced with repression and humiliation. In 2019, a minister already suggested introducing the death penalty for homosexuality.

The strict law has yet to be approved by the country's president, though he has regularly expressed his negative views on the LGBT+ community.

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