While the much of the world is taking strides to work on equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, the African country of Uganda has taken 200 steps backwards–by publishing of the identity of their “top 200 homos” in one of their tabloid magazines.
The news comes just a day after the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni passed harsh anti-gay laws that forbid anyone to identify themselves as gay or receive assistance from anyone else–gay or straight.
The disgruntled Ugandan leader called homosexuality “disgusting” as he signed the bill, an offense that is punishable by life in prison for charges of “aggravated homosexuality” and first time offenders could receive up to 14 years.
A Ugandan tabloid magazine called Red Pepper took to initiative in support of the bill to out well-known activists and gay leaders in the article with a headline that read, “”EXPOSED! Uganda’s 200 Top Homos Named.”
President Musaveni defended such actions in an interview with CNN’s Zain Verjee telling her, “They’re disgusting. What sort of people are they? I never knew what they were doing. I’ve been told recently that what they do is terrible. Disgusting. But I was ready to ignore that if there was proof that that’s how he is born, abnormal. But now the proof is not there.”
The Ugandan government’s decision to discriminate could have dire consequences on the country’s well-being outside of the seemingly inevitable acts of violence that could befall openly gay citizens.
A few countries displeased with the new bill could potentially pull aid from the third-world country.
Secretary of State John Kerry called for a review of the United States’ relationship with Uganda due to the recent events. Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,” he said in a statement.
He also called the bill’s passing “a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights.”
Photo: AP/Stephen Wandera