“I Am Officially Illegal”

That was the tweet from Dr. Frank Mugisha today at the news that the Ugandan Parliament has passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The bill apparently:

  • bans the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ with a maximum of 7 years imprisonment.
  • punishes same-sex marriage with life imprisonment

It’s not clear what the final wording and provisions of the bill are, the original bill contained some wide-ranging powers to drive the LGBT community underground, both literally and figuratively, as well as have consequences for human rights defenders active in the LGBT field.

I cannot imagine what it must be like for LGBT people in Uganda at the moment.  One thing is for certain, if Martin and I were living in Uganda instead of here, we would both be looking at life imprisonment.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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3 Responses to “I Am Officially Illegal”

  1. Ludwig says:

    It is sad that there are still so many people who, for one reason or another, have to put others down to attempt to show themselves are powerful. I would pity them, but they do so much harm. Here is hope that a little glimmer of sense will come to some of these. May the new year be good to you!

  2. Matt Healy says:

    I attended the HIV2014 Symposium in NYC today. Meeting jointly sponsored by NY Academy of Sciences and UNAIDS. My expertise is in virology, immunology, genomics, and drug discovery, but this meeting was mostly about other areas such as epidemiology, public policy, and how to reach vulnerable populations — sex workers, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, IV drug users, and LGBT people — with state-of-the-art treatment and prevention methods.

    While the overall rate of new infections has stopped increasing in most places, and is decreasing in many countries, the rate of new infections among these particular groups is rising. Unfortunately, in a number of countries the political climate is becoming more hostile to LGBT people. For instance the only clinic in Moscow where people could get anonymous testing has had to shut down, as have some prevention research projects in Uganda. And Ukraine’s recent success in cutting new infections is threatened by the current conflict there.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Matt, thanks for the comment and the news about the symposium. My dearest friend Len Curran was responsible for early work in setting up policies for HIV prisoners, and policies for the armed forces (including Russia!). It’s depressing that we are still fighting the same battles many years on, and that in some cases the situation is worsening.

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