Uganda’s parliament on Thursday took up a bill that would criminalize identifying as LGBTQ, with lawmakers saying the current ban on same-sex relations does not go far enough.
Anti-LGBTQ sentiment is deeply entrenched in the highly conservative and religious east African nation, with same-sex relations punishable by up to life in prison.
More than 30 African countries ban same-sex relations, but Uganda’s law, if passed, would appear to be the first to criminalize merely identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ), according to Human Rights Watch.
A photo taken on September 5, 2017 shows the stage during the Nyege Nyege Festival, the annual four-day international music festival, in Jinja, Uganda. – The Ugandan authorities announced on September 4, 2018 the ban of one of East Africa’s most important electronic music festivals, as they they believe it promotes sex, homosexuality and other practices that are considered immoral, but which the organizers are defending. (Photo by Ian Duncan
The proposed Ugandan law was introduced as a private lawmaker’s bill and aims to allow the country to fight “threats to the traditional, heterosexual family”, according to a copy seen by Reuters.
It punishes with up to 10 years in prison any person who “holds out as a lesbian, gay, transgender, a queer or any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female”.
It also criminalizes the “promotion” of homosexuality and “abetting” and “conspiring” to engage in same-sex relations.