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Sunday, December 20, 2009

What if Uganda's gay laws were presented in the U.S.?

Sometimes in order to better understand the plight of others, we tend to hae to walk a mile...well, you know. I can't help but wonder, would americans as a whole, not to mention the GLBT Community, would we care if it were our cross to bear?

Expected to be enacted on January 1,if you are gay in Uganda, it will serve as a death sentence or jail time because the act of being gay will then be considered a crime by one member of the same sex couple. SERIOUSLY, one of you would have to become the "perpetrator" and the other will have to become the "victim"...your choice. One of you will walk free, while the other will face jail time or death..your choice.

Julian Pepe is besieged and frightened after getting constant harassment from the Ugandan police, and verbal and physical attacks from some members of the public. Her 'crime'? She is a lesbian and activist struggling for the rights of hundreds of other lesbians and gays who are likely to face tough sentences, including execution, if a bill that is likely to turn into law sails through parliament.

The bill - introduced by parliamentarian David Bahati - would see gay men and lesbians sentenced to life imprisonment for having sex, and a death sentence for sex with minors. Anyone failing to report a homosexual act committed by others would face up to three years in jail.

What if YOU were taken off to jail just because you knew a same sex couple? What if you were sent to jail just because YOU KNEW OF such a couple? Would you care more?

She was recently arrested:'I asked them why I was under arrest but they replied that you people should die. One policewoman told me that she wished (former dictator Idi) Amin was still alive and that if it was so and he ordered the killing of gays and lesbians, she would participate in the firing squads,' the 29-year old told the German Press Agency DPA.

President Yoweri Musevenis government has drafted the tough anti-homosexual bill, which states that a person will be sentenced to life if he or she is convicted of using an object of sexual contraption to penetrate or stimulate a sexual organ or touches another with an intention of committing an act of homosexuality. What if vibrators were illegal? Would we care more that equality doesn't begin and end with "marriage"?

The death sentence would also be applied to anyone convicted of sex if the offender suffers from AIDS or if the victim of the act has physical or mental disabilities. The proposed law further penalizes the owners of the premises where homosexual acts are committed and allows for a sentence of seven years for one who is convicted of broadcasting, production and dissemination of pornographic material for purposes of promoting homosexuality.

People including relatives and friends sheltering gays and lesbians or failing to report them to the authorities also face jail terms of up to five years, the bill says.

Gays and lesbians there have been hiding their identities for decades for fear of social discrimination and harassment by the authorities but the number of openly-gay people is believed to be increasing.

'Homosexuality will not be encouraged in Uganda. This is our position', he told a recent news conference.

Meanwhile, a mass demonstration in favour of the new law is planned for Tuesday in Kampala, by the major evangelical Christian churches in Uganda.