Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial anti-gay bill into law yesterday.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, passed by parliament in December, could put people in prison for life if they engage in “aggravated homosexuality,” which means engaging in acts where someone is infected with HIV, having sex with minors, or being “serial offenders.” People who offer services to LGBTQ people, such as human rights groups, could also face criminal charges and years in prison.
In response, Norway and Denmark have already cut off aid to the Ugandan government, and Sweden and the US are considering a similar response. Homosexuality had already been illegal in Uganda, but this law was the first to prevent NGOs from reaching out to LGBTQ populations, and was the first to include lesbians.
To make matters worse for the LGBTQ community in the country, a Ugandan magazine, Red Pepper, today published a list of the “top 200 homosexuals” in the country. Several prominent activists were included on the list, but the tabloid also named a number of individuals who have not yet publicly identified themselves as gay. Those named may now face a greater risk of violence or criminal charges.
Media Sources: Huffington Post 2/25/14; BBC 2/25/14; Business Week 2/25/14; Feminist Newswire 2/18/14