Ugandan bill criminalising LGBTQ+ people linked to global 'anti-gender' movement

Research found coordinated communication among Ugandan MPs who passed the Anti-Homosexuality bill, revealing them as anti-gender actors.

This article is about Ugandan MPs and the global anti-gender movement. In the photo, a Ugandan flag waving.
Image: Via Shutterstock - Krisy

A survey carried out by Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE) has found that Ugandan MPs and Ministers involved in passing the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill are also prominent actors in the global ‘anti-gender’ movements. The research has found that such movements are present in legislatures across all regions of the world and often result in crackdowns on the rights of LGBTQ+ people.

Anti-gender movements include individuals and organisations that oppose LGBTQ+ and sexual reproductive rights, arguing that they are trying to protect “family values”. Actors often employ the rhetoric of opposing “Western ideas” in order to further their agenda and use digital media to spread misinformation and hate against trans people and the wider LGBTQ+ community.

The 2022 research found that there was coordinated communication among prominent anti-gender actors who were among the Ugandan members of Parliament who voted in favour of the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The bill in question was passed by the Ugandan parliament on March 21 and it further criminalises LGBTQ+ people and imposes the death penalty for so-called “aggravated homosexuality”.

Before becoming law in Uganda, the bill will have to be signed by President Yoweri Museveni, who has previously expressed his support for the move. Activists and governments all over the world are calling on President Museveni not to sign the bill and on all Ugandan politicians to stop fueling hate and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in the country.

The United Nations has also called on Uganda’s President to veto the bill, with the organisation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, saying that the legislation would mean LGBTQ+ people will become criminals in Uganda simply “for existing, for being who they are”.

Türk also explained that the legislation “runs counter to the country’s international legal obligations on human rights” and is incompatible with Uganda’s “political commitments on sustainable development”.

GATE has also launched a campaign to call on President Museveni to veto the bill and to demand action to ensure the safety of LGBTQ+ people all over the world. By using the hashtag #StopHate on Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, people can join the campaign and raise their voices to urge Ugandan politicians to stop the bill.

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