Politicians are working to bring reintroduce it after the country’s constitutional court struck it down on a technicality Friday:
On Tuesday, members of parliament supporting a new version of the measure held a press conference to announce that they would try to push a nearly identical version of the Anti Homosexuality Act through parliament within the next three days. The legislators claim to have nearly 100 of their colleagues signed up for the newest attempt to pass the law, according to government watchdog site Parliament Watch. The latest version of the law would look more or less like the old law, imposing stiff jail terms on homosexual individuals and organizations who work on LGBT rights in the country. However, there could be one addition this time: Parlimentarian Nabilah Naggayi Sempala said at the news conference that she’d like to see the law criminalize the act of heterosexual anal intercourse.
Maybe we were too quick to seize on “actual good news.” Still, Alexis Okeowo suggests things are better for Uganda’s gays now than they were five years ago:
The court’s decision reminded me of Devine, a flamboyant, self-assured general manager for a local company, whom I met two years ago. We had a drink one evening in downtown Kampala, at a neon-lit lounge staffed by a waiter who Devine gleefully told me liked to hit on him. … “The word ‘gay’ wasn’t even mentioned five years back. Now people acknowledge that we are here. It has gotten better these days,” Devine said. He explained to some of his friends that he was gay, and, after their initial surprise, they accepted it. He and his friends could now go to Mulago, a public hospital, to get free H.I.V. testing and counselling. When he went to a clinic with a transgender friend, the doctor recorded the friend’s gender as male, even though he is biologically female. “That’s how far we’ve come,” Devine told me. At the same time, he said, “You wonder who’s watching you, and you have to pretend you’re not gay.”