On May 2, Uganda’s parliament passed one of the cruelest anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the world. Pending the president’s signature, the law is set to go into effect in early June. It will threaten the ability of LGBTQ+ people to find housing, access food and healthcare, and advocate for their community’s rights.
In response, the Fund for Global Human Rights has launched an emergency fundraiser for Ugandan activists fighting for the lives of LGBTQ+ people. 100% of every donation will go directly to support LBGTQ+ activists providing lifesaving services to their community.
What is happening in Uganda?
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill was recently passed by the country’s parliament. The bill is currently sitting on President Yoweri Museveni’s desk, waiting for his signature. Even if he doesn’t sign it, the law will go into effect in early June—30 days after it was approved by the parliament.
Make no mistake—this bill is an outrage. It is one of the most extreme pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the world.
What makes this law so extreme?
Uganda’s bill aims to make life unlivable for LGBTQ+ people in the country. Prison sentences for consensual same-sex relations start at 10 years. People with HIV who are found guilty of having same-sex relations face the death penalty. It even includes jail time for people who house LGBTQ+ people.
Activism is also threatened by the bill. A provision makes “promoting homosexuality” a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison—potentially criminalizing any advocacy around gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender rights.
What are activists doing to respond?
For years, LGBTQ+ activists have experienced increased surveillance and harassment while building their movement. In recent months, violence against LGBTQ+ people has increased. For these reasons, we cannot share the names or pictures of any activists we currently support in the country—it’s too dangerous.
Despite the incredible danger, LGBTQ+ activists aren’t giving up. They are determined to help their community survive. Local activists are continuing to ensure that there are safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people, that those living with HIV can get medicine, and that queer people will have legal representation if arrested.
Says one activist:
The Ugandan LGBTQ community is at a crucial point of need. These are citizens being denied by the very government to which they pay taxes. I believe that everyone deserves equal rights and dignity regardless of their sexual orientation. The legislation … presents more need to not only advocate but also educate the Ugandan populace of the rights and lives of LGBTQ individuals. Strength is drawn from fellow activists, support from allies and the progress that has been made over the years.
As this bill moves closer to becoming law, the work of LGBTQ+ activists in Uganda is more important than ever. But they can only continue with the support of allies like you.
This is a terrifying time for LGBTQ+ people in Uganda and the activists who support them. Donate today to help LGBTQ+ activists defend their rights and protect their community.