Uganda’s Gay Cleansing Begins

Uganda Paper

Burroway passes along this chilling image:

Just one day after Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act, the tabloid Red Pepper has launched a massive vigilante campaign on the front page of its latest edition. Four photos appear on the front page, with additional photos on the inside pages along with names, addresses and other identifying information on 200 people that the paper says is gay.

J. Bryan Lowder has more on the signing of the law:

According to local reports, President Museveni couched his decision to sign the bill in terms of science, noting that he believes his country’s scientists can “rehabilitate” gays because “nurture is the main cause of homosexuality.” If nothing else, such comments demonstrate how privileged we are in being able to debate the finer points of “choice” and sexuality.

Melina Platas Izama places it in the wider context of African morality politics:

Recent “moral” legislation extends beyond homosexuality, however, and focusing on the salience of LGBT issues may obscure other arenas in which moral dictates are being employed for political purposes. The signing of the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda comes just weeks after the signing of the Anti-Pornography Bill, widely reported by local and international media as the “mini-skirt ban,” despite no mention of skirts in the bill itself. Legislating morality may seem odd in a country where more than three quarters of survey respondents believe “some of” or “most of” parliamentarians are corrupt, according to Afrobarometer data, but perhaps it is precisely because of their credibility deficit that politicians are employing moral dictates as a nearly costless alternative to delivering the goods and services that are so badly needed.

In addition to serving as quick and cheap political wins, these laws can also be easily converted into tools for political witch hunts.

Christine Hauser points out that Scott Lively, the American evangelical activist believed to have influenced many foreign anti-gay laws, stopped short of condemning the bill:

Mr. Lively often writes about homosexuals on his website, where on Feb. 17 he described the Uganda bill as “overly harsh on its face, but this is typical of African criminal law across the continent.”

On Monday, after the bill was signed into law, The Associated Press quoted Mr. Lively as saying: “I would rather the Ugandans had followed the Russian anti-propaganda model which reflects my philosophy of preventing the mainstreaming of homosexuality with the minimum limitation on personal liberties for those who choose to live discretely outside the mainstream.”

Oh, and those Western gays President Yoweri Museveni accuses of exporting homosexuality to his country? Many Ugandans owe them their lives:

Not only does Uganda have no legitimate grievance against Western homosexuals, it has reason to be hugely grateful to them. If it weren’t for Western homosexuals, hundreds of thousands of Ugandans alive today almost certainly would be dead. The anti-HIV drugs that keep them healthy were a direct result of gay activism, which also helped make the medicines accessible to Ugandans and others in developing countries.

Previous Dish on Uganda’s anti-gay law here and here.