The Uganda Parliament is likely to pass its revised version of the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Law after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni refused to sign the provision passed by parliament in late March. Museveni said that he will sign whatever they pass later this week, according to Frank Mugisha the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).
The decision could happen as soon as today.
On Monday night, Mugisha went on the Rachel Maddow Show to discuss the ways US “conservative anti-gay activists” have imperialized Uganda by fearmongering LGBTQ criminalization laws.
“This legislation, in my words, and I’ve said it many times, it is here to erase the entire existence of an LGBTQ person in Uganda, but also it radicalizes Ugandans into hatred of the LGBTQ community, and where are they seeing that happening?” Mugisha said on the show.
Maddow traces the connection between anti-LGBTQ legislation in the US and Uganda, identifying the same anti-LGBTQ activist organizations behind both.
“Arizona [legislators] lined up behind a measure that would discipline teachers and open them up to lawsuits if they don’t tell parents everything a student tells them,” said Maddow.
The legislators who introduced this bill, among others, consulted with the same Arizona agency, Family Watch International, which is designated as a LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group does most of their work spreading disinformation about sexuality, gender identity and gender expression overseas. More recently, in Uganda.
“In March of this year, just weeks ago, this Arizona group was one of the key organizers of a conference in Uganda that hosted lawmakers, that hosted elected officials from more than a dozen countries in Africa at this conference,” Maddow said.
The host continued by saying that lawmakers from these countries promised to push anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion legislation in their home countries.
Sharon Slater, the president of Family Watch International has ties to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s wife, Janet K. Museveni, and anti-gay minister, Martin Ssempa who was in strong support of Uganda’s original LGBTQ criminalization bill imposing the death penalty, according to Maddow.
“I recently had the honor of meeting with Ms. Sharon Slater, President of Family Watch International, & her team. They attended the first African Regional Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Uganda, focusing on global challenges that threaten African families & values,” Janet K. Museveni tweeted on April 4.
While Ugandans and the globe await provisions on the 2023 Anti-Homosexualtiy Law, copycat legislation is getting introduced in several neighboring countries including Kenya, Tanzania and elsewhere. In Kenya, they are considering what is called the “Family Protection Bill, 2023,” which would criminalize LGBTQ people with a life sentence if approved by parliament.
“Global criminalization laws against LGBTQ people are influenced by US legislators and threaten lives, the global economy, and leave scars on family values,” Ross Murray, Vice President of the GLAAD Media Institute said. “When we strip LGBTQ citizens of freedom, like these tyrannical bills aim to do from Arizona to Uganda, we destroy humanity. That is why countries throughout the globe should follow the leads of the Cook Islands and Barbados by decriminalizing LGBTQ consensual adult relationships.”
In the meantime, Ugandans are trying to figure out where to seek refuge.
“If this law is passed, we will definitely see many get arrested. We will see many LGBTQ persons leave the country. So many of the LGBTQ community members are already fleeing the country. They’re trying to go to neighboring Kenya, which is not safe as well, but they feel they would be safer in Kenya than being imprisoned in Uganda,” Mugisha said. Mugisha is a well-known and regarded Ugandan LGBTQ activist. Mugisha and his colleagues are at risk of the dangers this bill poses, especially after openly opposing the legislation Monday night.
“I could end up getting arrested,” Mugisha reminds Maddow and viewers.
In a call to action, Maddow asks Mugisha what impact outcry from US legislators and the Biden Administration would have on stopping the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Law.
“It would make a very big difference if Americans spoke directly to our authorities, and told them how dangerous this legislation is for the LGBTQ community here and how this legislation is going to make the LGBTQ community unsafe living here in Uganda, and how this legislation is a gross violation of human rights of LGBTQ persons,” Mugisha responded. “Yes, it would make a very big difference.