Sunday, 23 May 2010

Uganda, Gender and Phobias

Over the weekend I’ve thought some about the Gay and Lesbian thing in Uganda that I mentioned in my previous post … and thanks Dani for your comment on that.

The text of the memorandum that describes the proposed bill is available by clicking here.

It makes sadder reading than I had imagined.

It says that it aims to protect the traditional family. And yet presents non-facts as facts.It gives the impression of being put together by people who are afraid of something or someone that they don’t understand. People who feel threatened. People who feel that the only way to deal with people who are different is to eradicate them. It rates as one of the most homophobic pieces of literature that I have ever read.

It says:

2. The offence of homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offence of homosexuality if-
(a) he penetrates the anus or mouth of another person of the same sex with his penis or any other
sexual contraption;
(b) he or she uses any object or sexual contraption to penetrate or stimulate sexual organ of a
person of the same sex;
(e) he or she touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.
(2) A person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction to
imprisonment for life.

And goes on:

3. Aggravated homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the
(a) person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of 18 years;
(b) offender is a person living with HIV;
(c) offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed;
(d) offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed;
(e) victim of the offence is a person with disability;
(f) offender is a serial offender, or
(g) offender applies, administers or causes to be used by any man or woman any drug, matter or
thing with intent to stupefy overpower him or her so as to there by enable any person to have
unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex,
(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction
to suffer death.

And there is more. All of it depressing and saddening.

The Church of Uganda has published its own views … you can read them if you click here. And a group of Thinking Anglicans have expressed opinions on this here. The Anglican thinkers that have expressed thoughts are unimpressed with the Church of Uganda’s statement. Thank goodness.

There is an interesting article published by the New York Times here. There are also some views of people that live in Uganda here. If you have time please listen to them and let me know what you think. The taxi driver says, of Gay and lesbian people:


I am telling you, these people are not bad. They are not bad.

The Church Times has an article here.With some additional comments here. 

A Ugandan bishop’s view (Joseph Abura) of it all is here.

I find this latter article the saddest of all. The same kid of idiocy that justified slavery … apartheid … the oppression of women … of protestants … Catholics … children … muslins.

It’s hard for me to understand how a Church can allow a man with such opinions to hold any kind of official position.

As I write this there is a program on television. A young black South African girl is crying as she tells the story of how she was raped. The narrator said that black South African girls have a 1 in 3 chance of finishing secondary school. They have a 1 in 2 chance of being raped. And nothing much seems to be done about it.

There is an article at Afrol here that includes the following information on Uganda:

Violence against women, including rape, remains common. Wife beating is viewed as a husband's prerogative. Delays in bringing capital offense cases to trial in situations, where a husband killed his wife, remains common.

Child abuse remains a serious problem, particularly the rape of young girls (known locally as "defilement"). While defilement carries a maximum sentence of death, that punishment has never been meted out to a convicted rapist.

An undetermined number of women were victims of abduction and rape by rebel forces. In past years, the LRA rebels/terrorists also reportedly sold and traded children, mostly girls, or provided them as gifts to arms dealers in Sudan. Women may not own or inherit property, nor retain custody of their children under local customary law.

Polygamy is legal under both customary and Islamic law, and a wife has no legal status to prevent her husband from marrying another woman. Men also may "inherit" the widows of their deceased brothers.  The proportion of girls in higher school grades remains low since families traditionally  favour boys when making financially related educational decisions.

The marriage of young girls by parental arrangement is common, especially in rural areas.  Females of the Sabiny tribe are subjected to the practice of Female Genital Mutilation  (FGM).


Maybe someone somewhere expects the proposed new bill to solve these problems.


Pretty Sissy Dani said...

I'm glad you found the material on Thinking Anglicans. I was going to suggest it as a source when I first commented. The Ugandan Anglicans are part of the group calling itself "the Global South" seeking to make such anti-gay rhetoric virtually a doctrine within the Anglican Communion, and thus forcing the American Episcopal Church and the Church of Canada out of the Communion.

Andrea said...

Thanks for that Dani. I've written to my MP (Member of Parliament) to check on his views and to find out the official Government position on this over here.