It is with a heavy heart that I once again turn my readers' eyes towards events in Uganda.
As I've written about in the past, both here and over on Medium, anti-LGBTQ+ policies are ramping up across the world. Over the past few months, the country of Uganda has been fighting hard to become one of the worst offenders.
Today, Monday the 29th of May 2023, President Yoweri Museveni has signed the bill into law.
This law, while it has been reworked to remove being gay from the list of criminal offences, still includes a penalty of life imprisonment for homosexual acts. Don't you dare fall in love, apparently. Don't you dare try to express your authentic identity.
If you're caught out as a 'repeat offender', meaning you dared to have a gay relationship, you might be facing the death penalty.
I had no hope that Museveni would refuse to sign the bill, but I did have some small measure of hope that he might push to reform it a bit more. While he's a revolting bigot, he didn't want too much of a battle to fight with the wider world.
Unfortunately, my limited hopes have been dashed.
This is a painful update, and one I was hoping I wouldn't have to write. As it currently stands, the LGBTQ+ community of Uganda, as well as many other countries in Africa, are in grave danger.
This is the part where I would normally give you a list of charities to offer your aid to. Sadly, many LGBTQ+ civil rights organizations within Uganda have been shut down amid the growing violence and tension.
If you want to help provide assistance to people fleeing Uganda in fear for their lives, I'd encourage you to look for refugee charities and LGBTQ+ non-profits in countries that accept migrants.
In my previous article on World-Weary, linked above, I highlight a couple of charities who work in this arena. Beyond that, I'd encourage everyone to apply pressure to their governments to take action.
We need to bang the drum about this. If you have a social media platform, get the word out. If you know your representative, write or call them about this and demand that it be addressed. While outside governments can't intercede directly, sanctions and other diplomatic pressures are currently being discussed by a number of UN member states.
A threat to justice somewhere is a threat to justice anywhere, and regardless of where we're born, we are all human beings. Nobody deserves to be beaten and imprisoned, especially not with the threat of execution, just for being themselves.