You are on page 1of 35

Lxpanded CrlmlnallsaLlon of

PomosexuallLy ln uganda: A
llawed narraLlve

Lmplrlcal evldence and sLraLeglc alLernaLlves from
an Afrlcan perspecLlve
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 1

1hls reporL has been prepared by Sexual MlnorlLles uganda (SMuC) ln response Lo Lhe passlng of Lhe AnLl-Pomosexual 8lll
ln Lhe ugandan arllamenL.
About Sexua| M|nor|t|es Uganda (SMUG)
Sexual MlnorlLles uganda (SMuC) ls a non-proflL neLwork of Lesblan, Cay, 8lsexual, 1ransgender and lnLer-sex (LC81l)
human rlghLs organlzaLlon. SMuC was born on March 4, 2004. lL was creaLed Lo work Lowards achlevlng full legal and
soclal equallLy for lesblan, gay, blsexual, Lransgender people ln uganda. 1hls would be done Lhough organlzlng all LC81
organlzaLlons ln uganda and creaLe one sLrong LC81 communlLy ln uganda. lL would Lhen work on behalf of lLs member
organlzaLlons, enforclng Lhelr acLlvlLles and represenLlng Lhem ln a more organlzed manner by coordlnaLlon of efforLs
Lhrough local, reglonal and lnLernaLlonal bodles or parLners. SMuC, has now lL has developed lnLo a neLwork of 18 LC81
member organlsaLlons ln uganda all worklng Lo advance Lhe rlghLs of LC81 persons and lmprove Lhelr welfare Lhrough
servlce provlslon.
lL ls advocacy LhaL has made SMuC an lnLegral parL of Lhe human rlghLs sLruggle ln uganda.
SMUG V|s|on: A LlberaLed Lesblan, Cay, 8lsexual, 1ransgender and lnLersex (LC81l) people of uganda.
SMUG M|ss|on: 1o monlLor, coordlnaLe, and supporL member organlzaLlons Lo achleve Lhelr ob[ecLlves almed aL Lhe
LlberaLlon of LC81l people.
Membersh|p and Governance: SMuC's consLlLuency ls made of all LC81l persons llvlng ln uganda and belonglng Lo Lhe
member organlzaLlons. Cur consLlLuency ls as dlverse as Lhe ugandan socleLy lLself. 1hls lmplles LhaL sexual and gender
mlnorlLles ln uganda are of dlfferenL Lrlbes, culLures, sex, and gender and vary ln educaLlonal backgrounds, economlc
classes and creed. Whlle Lhere ls a greaL dlverslLy ln educaLlonal and economlc sLaLus, and gender ldenLlLy and expresslon,
we do have a much more urban Lhan rural consLlLuency.
lor more lnformaLlon, please vlslL Lhe SMuC webslLe aL: hLLp://www.sexualmlnorlLlesuganda.com lollow us on 1wlLLer:
[SMuC2004 and lacebook: hLLps://www.facebook.com/smug2004

ACknCWLLuCMLn1S
1he producLlon of Lhls reporL was a collecLlve efforL from varlous persons would conLrlbuLed ln counLless ways
Sexual MlnorlLles uganda (SMuC) would llke Lo exLend acknowledgmenL Lo Cnyango & Co. AdvocaLes, kampala, for
asslsLlng ln revlewlng Lhls reporL.
We also acknowledge all our members for valldaLlng and endorslng Lhe producLlon of Lhls reporL.
We exLend our graLlLude Lo all generous supporLers who made flnanclal conLrlbuLlons Lo Lhls producLlon of Lhls reporL.

uLulCA1lCn
We would llke Lo dedlcaLe Lhls reporL Lo Lhe numerous lesblan gay blsexual Lransgender and lnLersex persons and Lhose
person suspecLed and labelled LC81lC, who have suffered or been vlcLlmlsed by Lhe expanded crlmlnallzaLlon of
homosexuallLy ln uganda.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 2

1able of ConLenLs

1able of ConLenLs .................................................................................................................................. 2
LxecuLlve summary ................................................................................................................................ 3
urpose of Lhls reporL ............................................................................................................................ 6
l. ls homosexuallLy allen Lo Afrlca? ........................................................................................................ 8
PlsLorlcal conLexL ............................................................................................................................... 8
1he hlsLory of anLl-homosexual laws ............................................................................................... 10
ubunLu ............................................................................................................................................. 12
ll. ls homosexuallLy muLable and a menLal dlsorder? ......................................................................... 14
PomosexuallLy ls noL a menLal dlsorder .......................................................................................... 14
1he lmmuLablllLy of homosexuallLy ................................................................................................. 13
'8ecrulLmenL' ................................................................................................................................... 17
lll. ls expanded crlmlnallsaLlon necessary Lo proLecL Lhe LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL? .................. 18
lv. ls expanded crlmlnallsaLlon necessary Lo malnLaln sLrong rellglous convlcLlons? ......................... 21
PomosexuallLy and rellglon ............................................................................................................. 21
8ellglon ln Afrlca .............................................................................................................................. 23
v. uoes expanded crlmlnallsaLlon help prevenL Lhe spread of Plv? ................................................... 26
CrlmlnallsaLlon and Plv/AluS .......................................................................................................... 26
Plv/AluS and Lhe proposed law ...................................................................................................... 28
vl. Wlll expanded crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy reduce lnsLances of chlld abuse? ...................... 29
Chlld abuse ln Lhe sub-Saharan conLexL .......................................................................................... 29
Chlld abuse ln uganda ..................................................................................................................... 29
Chlld abuse and Lhe proposed law .................................................................................................. 30
vll. Are homosexual persons asklng for prlvlleges/rlghLs LhaL oLher clLlzens do noL have? ................ 31
Concluslon ........................................................................................................................................... 32
AlLernaLlves Lo Lhe proposed law ........................................................................................................ 33








SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 3

LxecuLlve summary

1. 1hls reporL explores Lhe varlous aLLempLs Lo raLlonallse expanded crlmlnallsaLlon of
homosexuallLy under Lhe AnLl-PomosexuallLy 8lll LhaL has been passed by arllamenL. AlLhough
reporLs have lndlcaLed LhaL Lhe resldenL of uganda has senL lL back Lo arllamenL havlng
re[ecLed lL ln lLs currenL form, lL has also been suggesLed he wlll presenL hls own amended
verslon of Lhe leglslaLlon.
1
Clven Lhe serlousness of Lhe consequences of Lhls proposed law ln
Lerms of poLenLlal human rlghLs vlolaLlons and negaLlve lmpacLs on publlc healLh and governance
lf passed lnLo law, lL ls lmporLanL LhaL Lhe [usLlflcaLlons behlnd lL are sub[ecLed Lo Lhe greaLesL
scruLlny. 1hese lnclude myths LhaL:
a. homosexuallLy ls allen Lo Afrlca,
b. homosexuallLy ls muLable and a menLal dlsorder,
c. expanded crlmlnallsaLlon ls necessary Lo proLecL Lhe LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL,
d. expanded crlmlnallsaLlon ls necessary Lo malnLaln sLrong rellglous convlcLlons,
e. expanded crlmlnallsaLlon wlll help prevenL Lhe spread of Plv,
f. expanded crlmlnallsaLlon wlll help prevenL chlld abuse, and
g. gay and lesblan persons are asklng for speclal rlghLs and prlvlleges.
2. 1he reporL uses hlsLorlcal, anLhropologlcal and comparaLlve soclal daLa from oLher sub-Saharan
Afrlcan sLaLes Lo sub[ecL Lhese preconcepLlons Lo Lhe necessary evldenLlary scruLlny.
3. Lach secLlon of Lhe reporL poses a quesLlon based on Lhe mosL common mlsconcepLlons abouL
homosexuallLy ln a speclflcally ugandan conLexL. A brlef summary of Lhe flndlngs follows.
l. ls homosexuallLy allen Lo Afrlca?
PlsLorlcal and anLhropologlcal evldence shows LhaL same sex relaLlonshlps exlsLed LhroughouL
Afrlca, lncludlng ln Lhe LerrlLorles LhaL now make up uganda, long before colonlsaLlon by
WesLern powers. 1here was no parLlcular sLlgmaLlsaLlon of Lhls behavlour, lndeed ln many
culLures lL was parL of accepLed normal relaLlonshlps beLween people. CurrenL homophoblc
aLLlLudes daLe from Lhe colonlal perlod and are sLrongesL ln Lhose counLrles LhaL were once parL
of Lhe 8rlLlsh Lmplre. uganda's laws crlmlnallslng homosexuallLy sLem enLlrely from laws
lnLroduced by Lhe 8rlLlsh colonlal admlnlsLraLlon ln 1902 and 1930 ln an aLLempL Lo counLer whaL
was seen aL Lhe Llme as dangerous sexual Lendencles among ugandans. ubooto (or 'Afrlcan
humanlsm') exLends Lolerance Lowards and accepLance of oLher sexuallLles, lncludlng lesblan,
gay, blsexual and Lransgendered people. ConsequenLly, lL ls more correcL Lo see homophobla as
allen Lo Afrlca raLher Lhan homosexuallLy.
ll. ls homosexuallLy muLable and a menLal dlsorder?
1he overwhelmlng and consldered oplnlon of Lhe psychologlcal and psychlaLrlc professlons ln
Afrlca and across Lhe globe ls LhaL homosexuallLy ls noL a menLal dlsorder, buL a naLural varlanL
of human sexuallLy. nor ls lL consldered 'abnormal'. 1he appllcaLlon of Lhe label of 'menLal
dlsorder' should be LreaLed wlLh deep susplclon, when such a label ls supporLed nelLher by

1
'resldenL Musevenl wlll 8e[ecL lasclsL" AnLl-Cay 8lll, lans Lo lnLroduce new LeglslaLlon', 8oberL l. kennedy
CenLer for !usLlce and Puman 8lghLs, 18 !anuary 2014. Avallable aL: hLLp://rfkcenLer.org/presldenL-musevenl-
wlll-re[ecL-fasclsL-anLl-gay-blll-plans-Lo-lnLroduce-new-leglslaLlon?lang=en, 'Musevenl osLpones AnLl-
PomosexuallLy 8lll', woll 5tteet Iootool, 17 !anuary 2014. Avallable aL:
hLLp://onllne.ws[.com/news/arLlcles/S810001424032702304603704379326261993028346.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 4

sclenLlflc facL nor by psychologlcal and psychlaLrlc communlLles worldwlde, and ls lnsLead drlven
by personal feellngs of hosLlllLy Lowards a parLlcular group slmply because Lhey are dlfferenL.
lurLhermore, Lhe overwhelmlng medlcal oplnlon concernlng converslon or reparaLlve Lheraples,
whlch clalm Lo change Lhe sexual orlenLaLlon of homosexuals, ls LhaL, aL besL, Lhey do noL work,
and aL worsL Lhey are damaglng Lo lndlvlduals. 1herefore Lhe noLlon LhaL homosexuallLy can be
consclously alLered ls compleLely wlLhouL merlL.
lll. ls expanded crlmlnallsaLlon necessary Lo proLecL Lhe LradlLlonal
Afrlcan famlly unlL?
Lmplrlcal daLa demonsLraLe how fears LhaL Lhe LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL wlll be desLroyed
wlLhouL expanded crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy are enLlrely unfounded. lurLhermore, Lhe
underlylng assumpLlon LhaL homosexuallLy ls 'conLaglous', LhaL chlldren wlll somehow be
recrulLed lnLo Lhe so-called 'homosexual llfesLyle' unless Lough crlmlnal sancLlons are ln place, ls
also compleLely wlLhouL merlL. CounLrles such as nlger, Mall, 8urklna laso and Congo, whlch
have never crlmlnallsed homosexuallLy, do noL have ever-lncreaslng populaLlons of gay men and
lesblan women, and Lhe LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL whlch forms parL of Lhelr respecLlve
socleLles ls very much allve and well. 1herefore expanded crlmlnallsaLlon can have no lmpacL on
Lhe LradlLlonal famlly unlL.
lv. ls expanded crlmlnallsaLlon necessary Lo malnLaln sLrong
rellglous convlcLlons?
uaLa across Afrlca lndlcaLe LhaL Lhere ls no basls ln Lhe bellef LhaL expanded crlmlnallsaLlon ls
needed Lo malnLaln sLrong rellglous falLh. SLaLemenLs made by a number of rellglous leaders,
lncludlng heads of Lhe SouLhern Afrlcan Angllcan Communlon, and Archblshop uesmond 1uLu ln
parLlcular, and Lhe vaLlcan, relLeraLe LhaL Lhere ls no rellglous requlremenL LhaL sexual mlnorlLles
be persecuLed wlLh expanded crlmlnallsaLlon Lhrough Lhe coerclve power of Lhe sLaLe. WhaLever
one's rellglous or moral vlew abouL dlverse sexuallLles, Lhose vlews are separaLe and dlsLlncL
from Lhe domaln of crlmlnal law, whlch should only concern lLself wlLh Lhe proLecLlon of
members of socleLy from harm as ln Lhe case of non-consensual sex, coerclve sex, sex wlLh
mlnors, lncesL, sex Lrafflcklng, and Lhe sexual explolLaLlon of chlldren.
v. uoes expanded crlmlnallsaLlon help prevenL Lhe spread of Plv?
All lndlcaLors suggesL LhaL Lhe crlmlnallsaLlon of same-sex sexual conducL acLually lncreases Lhe
rlsk of Plv lnfecLlon, noL [usL among men who have sex wlLh men (MSM) buL ln Lhe wlder socleLy.
Cne of Lhe underlylng prlnclples of successful Plv programmlng ls non-dlscrlmlnaLory access Lo
sexual healLh servlces. Clven Lhe overwhelmlng medlcal and sclenLlflc evldence, promulgaLed by
lnLernaLlonal organlsaLlons such as unAluS, whlch demonsLraLes crlmlnallsaLlon of
homosexuallLy has severe negaLlve consequences for Plv programmes - and Lherefore publlc
healLh ln general - Lhe expanded crlmlnallsaLlon ln Lhe proposed law can only furLher exacerbaLe
Lhe slLuaLlon ln uganda.
vl. Wlll expanded crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy reduce
lnsLances of chlld abuse?
lf Lhe reason for promoLlng Lhe proposed law ls Lhe proLecLlon of chlldren and mlnors from
sexual abuse and LransacLlonal sex, Lhen lL ls mlsgulded and lnadequaLe for such an alm. Sex
wlLh mlnors, who are by deflnlLlon under Lhe age of consenL, should be crlmlnallsed. ?eL currenL
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 3

legal provlslons ln uganda are blased agalnsL Lhe boy-chlld, and dlsLlngulsh penal sancLlons
beLween vlcLlms based on Lhelr gender. Lven wlLh Lhe legal safeguards ln place Lo proLecL Lhe
glrl-chlld from sexual abuse, lL remalns Lhe second mosL common crlme ln uganda. 1hls ls why
promlnenL opponenLs Lo Lhe proposed law from wlLhln uganda agree ln prlnclple wlLh lLs
concerns - Lhe proLecLlon of young and vulnerable ugandans from sexual explolLaLlon and abuse
- buL recognlse LhaL Lhls musL exLend Lo all slLuaLlons of abuse, wheLher Lhe abuse ls opposlLe-
sex or same-sex ln naLure. 1he crlmlnallsaLlon of adulL, consensual same-sex lnLlmacy does
noLhlng Lo address Lhese concerns.
vll. Are homosexual persons asklng for prlvlleges/rlghLs LhaL
oLher clLlzens do noL have?
A commonly held percepLlon ls LhaL a fallure Lo expand crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy wlll lead
ln lLself Lo an asserLlon of rlghLs or prlvlleges beyond Lhose LhaL are provlded for ln Lhe
ConsLlLuLlon of Lhe 8epubllc of uganda. 1hls mlsconcepLlon ls as a resulL of a mlsundersLandlng
of Lhe naLure of rlghLs LhaL are provlded for ln Lhe ConsLlLuLlon. 8lghLs are lnherenL and are noL
granLed by Lhe sLaLe. All Lhe rlghLs provlded ln Lhe 1993 ConsLlLuLlon lnhere ln human belngs and
one noL need be of any sexual orlenLaLlon Lo en[oy Lhem. 1he declslon noL Lo expand
crlmlnallsaLlon wlll noL lead Lo Lhe acqulrlng of any prlvlleges by Lhe gay and lesblan communlLy.
4. 1o recap:
a. same-sex pracLlses were common place ln pre-colonlal Afrlca, as demonsLraLed by a wealLh
of anLhropologlcal and hlsLorlcal daLa,
b. same-sex aLLracLlon ls noL alLerable or a menLal dlsorder, accordlng Lo wldespread consensus
of psychlaLrlc and psychologlcal bodles,
c. Lhe level of crlmlnallsaLlon does noL affecL demographlcs, based on clear evldence such as
Lhe facL LhaL Lhe Lwo counLrles wlLh Lhe hlghesL ferLlllLy and blrLh raLes ln Lhe world do noL
crlmlnallse homosexuallLy,
d. rellglous convlcLlon ls, ln some lnsLances, greaLer ln counLrles whlch do noL crlmlnallse Lhan
counLrles whlch sLrlngenLly enforce crlmlnal provlslons, as demonsLraLed by demographlc
daLa,
e. Lhe spread of Plv ls aggravaLed, raLher Lhan halLed or reversed, by crlmlnallsaLlon and
expanded crlmlnallsaLlon, based on lnconLroverLlble epldemlologlcal daLa whlch has been
acknowledged by varlous Afrlcan and lnLernaLlonal flgures,
f. sexual abuse of chlldren, parLlcularly of glrls buL especlally boys, ls a serlous problem ln
uganda, and Lhls ls prlmarlly drlven by poverLy raLher Lhan Lhe sexual orlenLaLlon of Lhe
perpeLraLors as demonsLraLed by crlme sLaLlsLlcs, and
g. gay and lesblan people are noL seeklng speclal prlvlleges or rlghLs, Lhey are slmply seeklng
enforcemenL of Lhe rlghLs en[oyed by all ugandans under Lhe 1993 ConsLlLuLlon of uganda.
3. urawlng on Lhe emplrlcal daLa, hlsLorlcal and anLhropologlcal evldence, as well as experL medlcal
and legal oplnlon, Lhls reporL makes four recommendaLlons as pollLlcal and leglslaLlve
alLernaLlves Lo Lhe AnLl-PomosexuallLy 8lll:
a. Amend sexual offence laws Lo ensure offences and senLences are gender neuLral.
b. lmplemenL a sysLem of mandaLory reporLlng of suspecLed chlld abuse.
c. Address underlylng rlsk facLors assoclaLed wlLh chlld sexual explolLaLlon, lncludlng poverLy
and oLher economlc facLors.
d. Lnsure non-dlscrlmlnaLory access Lo healLh servlces.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 6

urpose of Lhls reporL

1he purpose of Lhls reporL ls Lo analyse crlLlcally Lhe underlylng concerns LhaL have lnformed Lhe
developmenL of Lhe AnLl-PomosexuallLy 8lll (Lhe 'proposed law'). ln dolng so, lL would be useful for Lhe
ollcy makers ln sLeerlng Lhe debaLe away from a dlscourse of persecuLlon Lowards one of human rlghLs-
compllanL soluLlons Lo uganda's real and presslng soclal concerns by provldlng pracLlcal and
consLlLuLlonally valld alLernaLlves Lo Lhe proposed law. ln addlLlon lL wlll help lnform domesLlc and
lnLernaLlonal pressure on uganda.
uganda already crlmlnallses homosexual conducL by vlrLue of ss. 143, 146 and 147 of Lhe leool coJe Act
1950 (ChapLer 120) (Lhe 'AcL').
2
1he proposed law aLLempLs Lo furLher enLrench and expand such
crlmlnallsaLlon by crlmlnallslng addlLlonal people and lncreaslng penalLles for cerLaln conducL, golng
slgnlflcanLly beyond whaL ls currenLly provlded for under Lhe AcL. ln Lhls reporL, Lhese effecLs of Lhe
proposed law are referred Lo as 'expanded crlmlnallsaLlon'.
1he proposed law's memorandum sLaLes LhaL one of lLs alms ls:
j5]tteoqtbeoloq tbe ootloos copoclty to Jeol wltb emetqloq lotetool ooJ extetool tbteots to
tbe ttoJltloool betetosexool fomlly. (emphasls added)
lL goes on Lo sLaLe:
1bls leqlslotloo fottbet tecoqolzes tbe foct tbot some sex otttoctloo ls oot oo looote ooJ
lmmotoble cbotoctetlstlc .
1be 8lll fottbet olms ot ptovlJloq comptebeoslve ooJ eobooceJ leqlslotloo to ptotect tbe
cbetlsbeJ coltote of tbe people of uqooJo, leqol, tellqloos, ooJ ttoJltloool fomlly voloes of
tbe people of uqooJo oqolost tbe ottempts of sexool tlqbts octlvlsts seekloq to lmpose tbelt
voloes of sexool ptomlscolty oo tbe people of uqooJo.
1bete ls olso oeeJ to ptotect tbe cbllJteo ooJ yootbs of uqooJo wbo ote moJe voloetoble to
sexool obose ooJ Jevlotloo (emphasls added)

1he supposed necesslLy of Lhe proposed law mlrrors common raLlonallsaLlons of crlmlnallsaLlon as
evldenced ln publlc sLaLemenLs by senlor pollLlcal flgures across cerLaln, buL by no means all, Afrlcan
sLaLes:
1. LhaL homosexuallLy ls fundamenLally un-Afrlcan and ls a WesLern value of sexual promlsculLy
belng lmposed on Afrlcan naLlons,
2. LhaL homosexuallLy ls 'muLable' and a menLal dlsorder,
3. LhaL undersLandlng and Lolerance of homosexuals wlll undermlne and desLroy Lhe LradlLlonal
Afrlcan famlly unlL,
4. LhaL crlmlnallsaLlon ls conslsLenL wlLh or requlred Lo malnLaln Afrlcan rellglous values,
3. LhaL crlmlnallsaLlon ls requlred Lo llmlL Lhe spread of Plv, and
6. LhaL crlmlnallsaLlon ls necessary Lo proLecL chlldren from sexual explolLaLlon.
7. LhaL gay and lesblan persons are asklng for exLra rlghLs or prlvlleges whlch oLher clLlzens do noL
en[oy.
1hls reporL alms Lo address Lhese seven common argumenLs ln favour of expanded crlmlnallsaLlon ln
uganda, by way of an evldence-based comparaLlve analysls wlLh oLher Afrlcan sLaLes LhaL elLher do noL

2
enal Code AcL 1930 (Cap 120), secLlons 143 (unnaLural acLs whlch lncludes 'carnal knowledge of any person
agalnsL Lhe order of naLure'), 146 (aLLempLs Lo commlL unnaLural acLs) and 147 ('any acLs of gross lndecency').
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 7

currenLly or have never crlmlnallsed homosexuallLy. uslng a number of rellable soclal daLa sources, lL wlll
be demonsLraLed LhaL each of Lhe concerns has no evldenLlary basls and, ln some cases, crlmlnallsaLlon
lLself ls responslble for Lhe feared negaLlve consequences. lurLhermore, lL wlll demonsLraLe LhaL lL ls noL
homosexuallLy LhaL ls a forelgn lmporL, buL crlmlnallsaLlon and lnLolerance, nelLher of whlch feaLured ln
pre-colonlal Afrlcan socleLles. llnally, alLernaLlves Lo crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy wlll be suggesLed
Lo LargeL beLLer Lhe real and valld underlylng concerns regardlng sexual offences, chlld sexual explolLaLlon
and abuse, and publlc healLh.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 8

l. ls homosexuallLy allen Lo Afrlca?

A commonly clLed reason for malnLalnlng - or expandlng - crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy ls LhaL lL ls a
forelgn phenomenon, LhaL lL ls fundamenLally un-Afrlcan. Such a poslLlon has been ouLllned by many
leadlng flgures ln Afrlca, such as Canon 1alwo of nlgerla, who sald:
1bey Jote oot come to tbe opeo. 1bey wlll be sbot. l coo ossote yoo tbot tbey wlll be stooeJ
to Jeotb. we Joot Jo lt lo Aftlco. lt ls ooly lo tbe west tbot tbey ote Joloq tobblsb.
3

AlLhough Lhe consLrucLlon of homosexuallLy as 'agalnsL Afrlcan norms and LradlLlons'
4
ls one of Lhe mosL
endurlng modern dlscourses surroundlng same-sex pracLlses wlLhln Afrlca, does hlsLorlcal and
anLhropologlcal evldence supporL such a poslLlon? resldenL ?owerl Musevenl has ln Lhe recenL pasL
publlcly acknowledged LhaL Lhere were lncldences of homosexuallLy ln Afrlcan LradlLlons. Pe has noLed
LhaL, '[ln our socleLy, Lhere were a few homosexuals. 1here was no persecuLlon, no kllllngs and no
marglnallzaLlon of Lhese people.' 1hls acknowledgemenL ls ln llne wlLh Lhe wrlLlngs of anLhropologlsLs
LhaL have exLenslvely researched Lhe lssue ln Lhe reglon. resldenL Musevenl also acknowledged LhaL,
'[sex among Afrlcans lncludlng heLerosexuals ls confldenLlal'.
3
lL should be polnLed ouL, however, LhaL Lhe
resldenL was ln no way endorslng homosexuallLy.
PlsLorlcal conLexL
ln Lhelr work anLhropologlsLs SLephen Murray and Wlll 8oscoe provlde wlde-ranglng evldence ln supporL
of Lhe facL LhaL LhroughouL Afrlca's hlsLory, homosexuallLy has been a 'conslsLenL and loglcal feaLure of
Afrlcan socleLles and bellef sysLems'.
6
1habo Mslbl of Lhe unlverslLy of kwazulu-naLal documenLs many
examples ln Afrlca of same-sex deslre belng accommodaLed wlLhln pre-colonlal rule'.
7
ueborah . Amory
speaks of 'a long hlsLory of dlverse Afrlcan peoples engaglng ln same sex relaLlons'.
8
urawlng on
anLhropologlcal sLudles of Lhe pre-colonlal and colonlal eras, lL ls posslble Lo documenL a vasL array of
same-sex pracLlses and dlverse undersLandlngs of gender across Lhe enLlre conLlnenL. Lxamples lnclude:
Cne noLably 'expllclL'
9
8ushmen palnLlng, whlch deplcLs Afrlcan men engaglng ln same-sex sexual
acLlvlLy.
ln Lhe laLe 1640s, a uuLch mlllLary aLLache documenLed nzlnga, a warrlor woman ln Lhe ndongo
klngdom of Lhe Mbundu, who ruled as 'klng' raLher Lhan 'queen', dressed as a man and

3
Canon 1alwo ln lnLervlew wlLh kaoma, k., Clobollzloq tbe coltote wots. u.5. coosetvotlves, Aftlcoo cbotcbes
ooJ nomopboblo (2012). Avallable aL: hLLp://www.publlceye.org/publlcaLlons/globallzlng-Lhe-culLure-
wars/pdf/afrlca-full-reporL.pdf [lasL accessed 2 uecember 2013].
4
lormer resldenL of kenya uanlel arap Mol, quoLed ln Mwaura, . 'PomosexuallLy un-Afrlcan? lL's a 8lg Lle'
ln uolly Notloo, 3 !une 2006.
3
See Musevenl Speaks ouL on PomosexuallLy" 1he new vlslon, March 19 2013. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.newvlslon.co.ug/news/640814-musevenl-speaks-ouL-on-homosexuallLy.hLml. ln hls sLaLemenL
resldenL Musevenl referred Lo aLLlLudes ln Lhe pasL as also conslderlng homosexuals 'devlanLs'.
6
Murray, S. and 8oscoe, W., 8oy-wlves ooJ lemole nosbooJs. 5toJles of Aftlcoo nomosexoolltles (1998), p.
xv
7
Mslbl, 1., '1he Lles We Pave 8een 1old: Cn (Pomo) SexuallLy ln Afrlca' ln Aftlco 1oJoy, vol. 38, no. 1 (2011),
p. 99
8
Amory, u. ., '"PomosexuallLy" ln Afrlca: lssues and debaLes' ln Iootool of Oploloo \\v, no. 1, CommenLarles
9
LpprechL, M., '1he 'unsaylng' of lndlgenous PomosexuallLles ln Zlmbabwe: Mapplng a 8llndspoL ln an Afrlcan
MascullnlLy' ln Iootool of 5ootbeto Aftlcoo 5toJles, vol. 24, no. 4, Speclal lssue on MascullnlLles ln SouLhern
Afrlca (1998), p. 631.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 9

surrounded herself wlLh a harem of young men who dressed as women and who were her
'wlves'.
10

LlghLeenLh cenLury anLhropologlsL, laLher !-8. LabaL, documenLed Lhe Canga-?a-Chlbanda,
presldlng prlesL of Lhe Clagues, a group wlLhln Lhe Congo klngdom, who rouLlnely

cross-dressed
and was referred Lo as 'grandmoLher'.
11

ln LradlLlonal, monarchlcal Zande culLure, anLhropologlcal records descrlbed homosexuallLy as
'lndlgenous'.
12
1he Azande of Lhe norLhern Congo 'rouLlnely marrled'
13
younger men who
funcLloned as Lemporary wlves - a pracLlse LhaL was lnsLlLuLlonallsed Lo such an exLenL LhaL
warrlors would pay 'brldeprlce' Lo Lhe young man's parenLs.
AmongsL 8anLu-speaklng ouhaln farmers (8ene, 8ulu, lang, !aunde, Mokuk, Mwele, nLum and
angwe) ln presenL-day Cabon and Cameroon, homosexual lnLercourse was known as bloo
okmo
14
- a medlclne for wealLh whlch was LransmlLLed Lhrough sexual acLlvlLy beLween men.
Slmllarly ln uganda, amongsL Lhe nlloLlco Lango, men who assumed 'alLernaLlve gender sLaLus'
13

were known as mokoJo Joko. 1hey were LreaLed as women and were permlLLed Lo marry oLher
men. Same-sex relaLlonshlps were reporLed amongsL oLher groups ln uganda, lncludlng Lhe
8ahlma,
16
Lhe 8anyoro and Lhe 8aganda. klng Mwanga ll, Lhe 8aganda monarch, was wldely
reporLed Lo have engaged ln sexual relaLlons wlLh hls male sub[ecLs.

I|g. 1 k|ng Mwanga II of 8uganda


10
Murray and 8oscoe (1998) aL n. 4, p. 1.
11
lbld, pp. 9-10.
12
Lvans-rlLchard, L. L., 1be AzooJe. nlstoty ooJ lolltlcol lostltotloos. Cxford: Clarendon ress (1971), p183.
13
Murray and 8oscoe (1998), p. xll.
14
Murray, S. (undaLed), 'PomosexuallLy ln 1radlLlonal" Sub-Saharan Afrlca and ConLemporary SouLh
Afrlca', p. 9. Avallable aL: hLLp://semgal.free.fr/doc_eL_pdf/afrlca_A4.pdf [lasL accessed 23 november 2013]
13
Mslbl, (2011), aL n 3 p. 99.
16
Mushanga, M., '1he nkole of SouLhwesLern uganda' ln Molnos, A. (ed.),, coltotol 5ootces Motetlols fot
lopolotloo lloooloq lo ost Aftlco. 8tlefs ooJ ltoctlces (1973).
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 10

A !esulL worklng ln SouLhern Afrlca ln 1606 descrlbed flndlng 'cblboJl, whlch are Men aLLlred llke
Women, and behave Lhemselves womanly, ashamed Lo be called men'.
17

ln Lhe early 17
Lh
cenLury ln presenL-day Angola, orLuguese prlesLs Caspar Azevereduc and
AnLonlus Sequerlus encounLered cblboJos, men who spoke, saL and dressed llke women, and
who enLered lnLo marrlage wlLh men. Such marrlages were 'honored and even prlzed'.
18

ln Lhe lLeso communlLles, based ln norLhwesL kenya and uganda, same-sex relaLlons exlsLed
amongsL men who behaved as and were soclally accepLed as women.
19
Same-sex pracLlses were
also recorded among Lhe 8anyoro
20
and Lhe Langl.
21

ln pre-colonlal 8enln, homosexuallLy was seen as a phase LhaL boys passed Lhrough and grew ouL
of.
22

1here were pracLlses of female-female marrlages amongsL Lhe nandl and klsll of kenya, Lhe lgbo
of nlgerla, Lhe nuer of Sudan and Lhe kurla of 1anzanla.
23

Among Cape 8anLu, lesblanlsm was ascrlbed Lo women who were ln Lhe process of becomlng
chlef dlvlners, known as lsoooses.
24

1hls ls by no means an exhausLlve llsL. Clven Lhe overwhelmlng evldence of pre-colonlal same-sex
relaLlons whlch conLlnued lnLo Lhe colonlal and posL-colonlal eras, as well as hlsLorlcal evldence of dlverse
undersLandlngs of gender ldenLlLy, lL ls clear LhaL homosexuallLy ls no more 'allen' Lo Afrlca Lhan lL ls Lo
any oLher parL of Lhe world. As sLaLed by Murray and 8oscoe:
Nometoos tepotts olso loJlcote tbot lo tbe blqbly sex-seqteqoteJ socletles of Aftlco,
bomosexool bebovloot ooJ telotloosblps wete oot oocommoo omooq peets, botb mole ooJ
femole, especlolly lo tbe yeots befote betetosexool mottloqe. 1bese kloJs of telotloos wete
lJeotlfleJ wltb speclflc tetms ooJ wete to votyloq Jeqtees lostltotlooollzeJ.
23

WhaL Lhe colonlsers lmposed on Afrlca was noL homosexuallLy 'buL raLher lnLolerance of lL - and
sysLems of survelllance and regulaLlon for suppresslng lL'.
26

1he hlsLory of anLl-homosexual laws
1he laws governlng same-sex sexual conducL ln uganda are derlved from leglslaLlon enacLed ln Lhe unlLed
klngdom and adopLed ln lLs colonles - Lhe so-called 'sodomy' laws, whlch concerned 'buggery', alLhough
Lhls was never acLually deflned, and 'gross lndecency' laws, whlch were so vaguely worded as Lo glve
pollce ample 'opporLunlLles Lo arresL people on Lhe basls of susplclon or appearance' and could lnclude
slmple lnLlmacles beLween Lwo men.
27


17
Murray (undaLed), aL n. 12, p. 13.
18
lbld.
19
Lawrance, !., 1be lteso. llfty eots of cbooqe lo o Nllo-nomltlc 1tlbe of uqooJo (1937)
20
needham, 8., '8lghL and lefL ln nyoro symbollc classlflcaLlon' ln needham, 8. (ed.), klqbt ooJ left. ssoys oo
uool closslflcotloo (1973)
21
urlberg, !.,, 1be looqo, (1923).
22
1endl, 8 M, 'Afrlcan myLhs abouL homosexuallLy', 1be CootJloo (uk), 23 March 2010, avallable aL:
hLLp://www.Lheguardlan.com/commenLlsfree/2010/mar/23/homophobla-afrlca-gay-rlghLs [lasL accessed 9
!anuary 2014]
23
1amale, S., 'A Puman 8lghLs lmpacL AssessmenL of Lhe ugandan AnLl-Cay 8lll' ln pool klqbts kevlew, vol. 4
(2009), p. 30. Avallable aL: hLLp://www.equalrlghLsLrusL.org/erLdocumenLbank/Sylvla.pdf [lasL accessed 23
SepLember 2013].
24
Murray (undaLed), aL n. 12, p. 47.
23
Murray and 8oscoe (1998), aL n. 4, p. 9.
26
lbld,, p. xvl.
27
CupLa, A., 1bls Alleo leqocy. 1be Otlqlos of 5oJomy lows lo 8tltlsb coloolollsm, Puman 8lghLs WaLch
(2008), p. 11. Avallable aL: hLLp://www.hrw.org/slLes/defaulL/flles/reporLs/lgbL1208_web.pdf [lasL accessed 8
CcLober 2013]
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 11

So Lhe orlgln of anLl-homosexuallLy laws ln uganda and oLher counLrles around Lhe world LhaL were once
8rlLlsh colonles ls 8rlLlsh law lLself.
28

8rlLlsh laws governlng sexual conducL beLween men (sexual relaLlons beLween women were never
crlmlnallsed) were rolled ouL across Lhe Lmplre durlng Lhe nlneLeenLh and early LwenLleLh cenLurles,
beglnnlng wlLh lndla and over Lhe followlng decades exLendlng lnLo Afrlca as more and more LerrlLory
was annexed. 1he purpose was Lo lnsLll 8rlLlsh morallLy 'lnLo reslsLanL masses'.
29
1hls was noL only an
aLLempL Lo modlfy whaL Lhe colonlallsLs saw as unaccepLable behavlour ln Lhe 'naLlve' populaLlons, buL Lo
sLop 'moral lnfecLlon' of colonlallsLs Lhemselves from Lhe 'naLlve' envlronmenL. 8rlLlsh lmperlallsL
apologlsLs saw homosexuallLy as wldespread amongsL Lhe people of Lhe LerrlLorles colonlsed by 8rlLaln.
1he explorer, 8lchard 8urLon, for example, wroLe of a zone sLraddllng Lhe equaLorlal and Lroplcal reglons
where 'Lhe vlce [sodomy] ls popular and endemlc'.
30

8rlLlsh colonlal anxleLy abouL lndlgenous sexual pracLlces and Lhelr poLenLlally corrupLlng lnfluence can
be seen aL work ln an Afrlcan conLexL from early on ln Lhe colonlal perlod. Marc LpprechL of Lhe
unlverslLy of Zlmbabwe analysed courL records from Lhe laLe nlneLeenLh and early LwenLleLh cenLurles
deallng wlLh same-sex 'crlmes' among Afrlcan men ln whaL ls now Zlmbabwe aL a Llme when lL ls Loo
early Lo dlsmlss Lhese acLlvlLles as Lhe resulL of WesLern decadenL lnfluence. Some of Lhose convlcLed
descrlbed sLable, affecLlonaLe relaLlonshlps.
31

A hlgh-proflle flgure llke Mwanga ll, Lhe lasL lndependenL klng or kabaka of 8uganda, was sub[ecLed Lo
sysLemlc vlllflcaLlon by ChrlsLlan mlsslonarles and laLer 8rlLlsh admlnlsLraLors, on Lhe grounds of hls
reporLed homosexuallLy.
32
Pls llfe has been reassessed recenLly by Samwlrl Lwanga Lunyllgo of Lhe
Makerere lnsLlLuLe of Soclal 8esearch, dlspelllng many of Lhe colonlal myLhs.
33
lL ls lronlc LhaL Lhe rheLorlc
used Loday Lo condemn homosexuallLy as a WesLern lmporL was used a cenLury ago by colonlsers Lo warn
agalnsL lndlgenous ugandan same-sex sexual pracLlces.
uganda was declared a 8rlLlsh proLecLoraLe ln 1894, and elghL years laLer, by vlrLue of SecLlon 13(2) of
Lhe OtJet lo cooocll 1902, Lhe laws of Lhe unlLed klngdom became appllcable ln uganda. 1hese lncluded
Lhe varlous provlslons governlng same-sex sexual conducL. llnally Lhe ugandan leool coJe 1950,
lmposed by Lhe colonlal admlnlsLraLlon, replaced earller provlslons and ls Lhe source for Lhe currenL so-
called 'unnaLural offences' laws.
34

1he leaders of uganda - and many oLher parLs of modern-day Afrlca - flnd Lhemselves, Lherefore, ln Lhe
poslLlon of defendlng 8rlLlsh colonlallsm lf Lhey defend colonlal laws LhaL, as a resulL of raclsL aLLlLudes,
effecLlvely ouLlawed Afrlcan values of dlverslLy and Lolerance.
1hls ls ln sLark conLrasL Lo Lhose Afrlcan naLlons LhaL were colonlsed by oLher Luropean powers. Whereas
Lhe 8rlLlsh lmposed exLended crlmlnal codes whlch prohlblLed same-sex sexual conducL, Lhe lrench
lncorporaLed lnLo a penal code of 1810 provlslons whlch had already prevlously abollshed Lhe offence of
'sodomy' ln 1791.
33
1he lnfluence of Lhe lrench enal Code was promulgaLed Lhrough lLs adopLlon by

28
Speclflcally, 1be Offeoces Aqolost tbe letsoo Act 1861,whlch provlded for crlmlnal sancLlons for 'buggery'
from Lend years hard labour Lo llfe, and Lhe ctlmlool low AmeoJmeot Act 1885, whlch lnLroduced Lhe
addlLlonal crlme of 'gross lndecency'.
29
CupLa (2008), aL n. 23, p. 3.
30
CuoLed ln Aldrlch, 8., coloolollsm ooJ nomosexoollty, London: 8ouLledge (2003), p. 31.
31
Amory (1997), aL n. 6, pp. 6-7.
32
8olletlo of tbe Ametlcoo Ceoqtopblcol 5oclety, vol. 41, no. 1 (1909), p. 38, revlew of CrlngLon 8erry, W.,
8lsbop noooloqtoo ooJ tbe 5toty of tbe uqooJo Mlssloo
33
Lwanga-Lunyllgo, S., Mwooqo ll. keslstooce to lmposltloo of 8tltlsb coloolol kole lo 8oqooJo, 1884-1889,
Wavah 8ooks (2011)
34
CupLa (2008), aL n. 23, p. 20..
33
Merrlck, !. and 8agan, 8. 1. (eds.), nomosexoollty lo MoJeto ltooce, Cxford (1996), p. 82.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 12

counLrles such as 1he neLherlands, 8elglum, Spaln, orLugal and lLaly - as well as Lhelr respecLlve
colonles and dependencles. 1hls meanL LhaL:
... compototlvely few of tbe cooottles of tbe otopeoo empltes, otbet tboo tbe 8tltlsb, evet
lmposeJ ctlmlool sooctloos speclflcolly oo some-sex cooseosool octlvlty lo ptlvote. 1be
exlsteoce of socb offeoces bos beeo o pecollot lobetltooce of 8tltlsb tole...
36

1hls ls especlally evldenL when one examlnes Lhe llsL of Afrlcan sLaLes whlch currenLly do noL crlmlnallse
homosexuallLy, as - wlLh Lhe excepLlon of SouLh Afrlca - none ls a former 8rlLlsh colony:
8urklna laso (lrance)
8enln (lrance)
Cape verde (orLugal)
CenLral Afrlcan 8epubllc (lrance)
Chad (lrance)
Congo (8elglum)
uemocraLlc 8epubllc of Congo (8elglum)
u[lbouLl (lrance)
LquaLorlal Culnea (Spaln)
Cabon (lrance)
Culnea-8lssau (orLugal)
lvory CoasL (lrance)
Madagascar (lrance)
Mall (lrance)
nlger (lrance)
8wanda (Cermany/8elglum)
SouLh Afrlca (8rlLaln/1he neLherlands)
Llke many Afrlcan counLrles whlch lnherlLed crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy, Lhls ls yeL furLher evldence
LhaL uganda dld so Lhrough Lhe legacy of 8rlLlsh colonlal laws.
ubunLu
ubooto, commonly referred Lo as 'Afrlcan humanlsm', ls a 8anLu Lerm, orlglnaLlng from as early as Lhe
mld-nlneLeenLh cenLury. lL ls a 'pervaslve Afrlcan phllosophy',
37
a 'cosmology' LhaL deflnes Lhe 'harmonlc
lnLelllgence' underplnnlng local culLures ln Afrlca,
38
lL ls a 'glfL LhaL Afrlca wlll glve Lhe world'
39
and 'Lhe
backbone of many Afrlcan socleLles'.
40
ubooto ls a complex and 'mulLldlmenslonal concepL',
41
whlch
many belleve ls dlfflculL Lo LranslaLe lnLo wesLern language.
Archblshop uesmond 1uLu, however, has aLLempLed Lo offer [usL such a deflnlLlon of ubooto. Pe calls lL:

36
klrby, M., '1he Sodomy Cffence: 8rlLaln's LeasL Lovely Crlmlnal Law LxporL?' ln Lennox, C. and WalLes, M.
(eds.), nomoo klqbts, 5exool Otleototloo ooJ CeoJet lJeotlty lo tbe commooweoltb. 5ttoqqles fot
uectlmloollsotloo ooJ cbooqe. London: School of Advanced SLudy, unlverslLy of London (2013), p. 64.
37
SwarLz, S., quoLed ln Palley, !., ubooto. A lltetotote kevlew. A lopet ltepoteJ fot tbe 1oto loooJotloo
(2007), p. 4. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.LuLufoundaLlonuk.org/documenLs/ubunLuLlLeraLure8evlew_!P_uec08.pdf [lasL accessed 26
november 2013]
38
uandala, P., quoLed ln Palley, (2007), aL n. 32, p. 4.
39
1uLu, Archblshop u., quoLed ln Palley (2007), aL n. 32, p. 2.
40
nyaLhu, n., quoLed ln Palley (2007), aL n. 32, p. 3.
41
Palley (2007), aL n. 32, p. 3.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 13

j1]be esseoce of beloq o petsoo. lt meoos tbot we ote people tbtooqb otbet people. we
coooot be folly bomoo olooe. we ote moJe fot lotetJepeoJeoce, we ote moJe fot fomlly.
wbeo yoo bove obooto, yoo embtoce otbets. oo ote qeoetoos, composslooote.. A petsoo
wltb obooto ls opeo ooJ ovolloble to otbets, offltmloq of otbets, Joes oot feel tbteoteoeJ
tbot otbets ote oble ooJ qooJ, fot be ot sbe bos o ptopet self-ossotooce tbot comes ftom
koowloq tbot be ot sbe belooqs lo o qteotet wbole ooJ ls JlmlolsbeJ wbeo otbets ote
bomllloteJ ot JlmlolsbeJ, wbeo otbets ote tottoteJ ot opptesseJ.
42

Accordlng Lo Mlchael Cnyebuchl Lze of Augsburg unlverslLy Lhe noLlon LhaL '[a] person ls a person
Lhrough oLher people sLrlkes an afflrmaLlon of one's humanlLy Lhrough recognlLlon of an oLher" ln hls or
her unlqueness and dlfference'.
43
ubooto, Lherefore, sLresses Lhe lnLerconnecLedness of human belngs,
beyond dlfferences such as race, eLhnlclLy, gender, rellglon or sexual orlenLaLlon - yeL 'lL also
acknowledges Lhe lmporLance of Lhelr lndlvlduallLy and lndependenL ldenLlLy'.
44

Such a LoleranL and lncluslve phllosophy appears Lo slL lll aL ease wlLh Lhe exlsLence of laws, lnherlLed
from Lhe colonlal era, whlch crlmlnallse prlvaLe consensual conducL beLween adulLs. ?eL lLs poLenLlal role
ln counLerlng Lhe llngerlng lnfluence of colonlal lnLolerance and resLorlng Lhe much older Afrlcan LradlLlon
of dlverslLy and openness should noL be underesLlmaLed. As rof. Sylvla 1amale has lndlcaLed, raLher
Lhan uslng a conLesLed rlghLs dlscourse or oLher pollLlcally charged language, acLlvlsLs and LheorlsLs oughL
Lo employ Lhe concepL of obooto as a solld base for Lhe reallsaLlon of unlversal human rlghLs, lncludlng
Lhe human rlghLs of LC81 people, ln sub-Saharan Afrlca.
43

Clven Lhe anLhropologlcal and hlsLorlcal evldence of Lhe preponderance of same-sex pracLlces ln pre-
colonlal Afrlca and Lhe undlspuLed source of laws crlmlnallslng homosexuallLy ln 8rlLlsh colonlal rule, Lhe
asserLlon LhaL homosexuallLy ls un-Afrlcan cannoL be susLalned. lL ls Lhe lnLolerance of homosexuallLy and
Lhe persecuLlon of homosexuals whlch ls un-Afrlcan.

42
1uLu loundaLlon uk, ubooto. Avallable aL: hLLp://www.LuLufoundaLlonuk.org/ubunLu.php [lasL accessed 26
november 2013]
43
Lze, M. C., lotellectool nlstoty lo cootempototy 5ootb Aftlco, Macmlllan (2010), p. 190
44
Palley (2007), aL n. 38, p. 7.
43
ln a lecLure Lo Lhe College of Llberal ArLs' Puman 8lghLs rogram, unlverslLy of MlnnesoLa. Avallable aL:
hLLp://blog.llb.umn.edu/hrp/maln/2012/10/sylvla-Lamale-proposes-an-ubun.hLml
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 14

ll. ls homosexuallLy muLable and a menLal dlsorder?

A second commonly clLed reason for malnLalnlng or enhanclng crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy ls LhaL
gay and lesblan lndlvlduals are elLher menLally dlsordered or consclously choose Lhe gay 'llfesLyle', and
hence, Lhey are able Lo (and should) slmply change Lhelr sexual orlenLaLlon. Whlle Lhe proposed law
llmlLs lLs clalms Lo sLaLlng LhaL 'same sex aLLracLlon ls noL . lmmuLable', consLrucLlng homosexuallLy as a
menLal dlsorder or psychologlcal problem ls a common [usLlflcaLlon for expandlng crlmlnallsaLlon. Llnked
Lo Lhe noLlon LhaL homosexuallLy ls a 'condlLlon' ls Lhe commonly clLed fear LhaL chlldren are vulnerable
Lo recrulLmenL or 'devlaLlon'. uo such clalms have any evldenLlary basls, however?
PomosexuallLy ls noL a menLal dlsorder
AlLhough homosexuallLy ls ofLen poslLed as a menLal dlsorder by Lhose who favour expanded
crlmlnallsaLlon, lL ls worLhwhlle recalllng examples of prevlously sLaLed 'menLal dlsorders' LhaL were
noLhlng more Lhan a pseudo-sclenLlflc lmposlLlon of pre[udlce and lnLolerance. lor example, ln Lhe mld-
19
Lh
cenLury ln Lhe unlLed SLaLes, aLLempLs made by Afrlcan slaves Lo escape Lhe appalllng condlLlons Lo
whlch Lhey were sub[ecLed were classlfled as Jtopetomoolo - a supposed menLal dlsorder whlch caused
slaves Lo flee capLlvlLy.
46
lL ls Lherefore lmporLanL Lo LreaL wlLh deep susplclon Lhe appllcaLlon of Lhe label
of 'menLal dlsorder' Lo any behavlour, when such a label ls unsupporLed by psychologlcal research and
psychlaLrlc communlLles worldwlde and ls lnsLead drlven by personal feellngs of hosLlllLy Lowards a
parLlcular group, slmply because Lhey are dlfferenL.
WhaL, Lhen, ls Lhe psychologlcal and psychlaLrlc consensus on homosexuallLy?
ln 1973 Lhe Amerlcan sychlaLrlc AssoclaLlon removed Lhe classlflcaLlon of homosexuallLy from
Lhe ulagnosLlc and SLaLlsLlcal Manual of MenLal ulsorders (uSM-lv).
47
1he Amerlcan
sychologlcal AssoclaLlon sald lL 'supporLs Lhe acLlon Laken on uecember 13, 1973, by Lhe
Amerlcan sychlaLrlc AssoclaLlon, removlng homosexuallLy from LhaL AssoclaLlon's offlclal llsL of
menLal dlsorders'.
48

1he World PealLh CrganlsaLlon followed sulL ln 1992 when lL removed homosexuallLy from Lhe
lnLernaLlonal ClasslflcaLlon of ulseases (lCu-10).
49

ln 2001, Lhe Chlnese sychlaLrlc AssoclaLlon removed homosexuallLy from lLs llsL of menLal
dlsorders, ln Lhe Lhlrd verslon of Lhe Chlnese sychlaLrlc ulsorder and ClasslflcaLlon SLandards.
ueclasslflcaLlon has been endorsed by numerous professlonal organlsaLlons.
1he sychologlcal SocleLy of SouLh Afrlca ln 2009 emphaslsed LhaL '[L]he sclenLlflc flelds devoLed
Lo menLal healLh and well-belng, lncludlng psychlaLry, psychology and soclology, do noL conslder
homosexual orlenLaLlon Lo be a dlsorder, buL raLher vlew lL as a naLurally occurrlng varlaLlon of
normal human sexuallLy' and Lherefore noL abnormal.
30


46
WhlLe, k., Ao lottoJoctloo to tbe 5ocloloqy of neoltb ooJ llloess, London: Sage ubllcaLlons LLd (2002), p. 42.
47
Amerlcan sychlaLrlc AssoclaLlon, losltloo 5totemeot oo nomosexoollty ooJ clvll klqbts (1973).
48
Conger, !..!.(1973). roceedlngs of Lhe Amerlcan sychologlcal AssoclaLlon, lncorporaLed, for Lhe year 1974:
MlnuLes of Lhe annual meeLlng of Lhe Councll of 8epresenLaLlves" ln Ametlcoo lsycboloqlst, 30 (1973) pp. 620-
631. Avallable aL: hLLp://www.apa.org/abouL/pollcy/dlscrlmlnaLlon.aspx [lasL accessed 9 uecember 2013]
49
World PealLh CrganlzaLlon, 1be lcu-10 closslflcotloo of Meotol ooJ 8ebovlootol ulsotJets. cllolcol
Jesctlptloos ooJ Jloqoostlc qolJelloes (1992). Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.who.lnL/classlflcaLlons/lcd/en/bluebook.pdf [lasL accessed 19 november 2013].
30
sychologlcal SocleLy of SouLh Afrlca, Ao Opeo 5totemeot ftom tbe lsycboloqlcol 5oclety of 5ootb Aftlco to
tbe leople ooJ leoJets of uqooJo coocetoloq 1be Aotl-nomosexoollty 8lll 2009 (2009). Avallable aL:
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 13

1he 8rlLlsh sychologlcal SocleLy ln 2012 conflrmed LhaL '[a]s seL ouL ln Lhe lCu-10 and uSM-lv,
homosexuallLy per se ls noL a dlagnosable menLal dlsorder'.
31

1he AusLrallan sychologlcal SocleLy sald ln 2012 LhaL 'clalmlng homosexuallLy ls a menLal
dlsorder sLems from efforLs Lo dlscredlL Lhe growlng soclal accepLance of homosexuallLy as a
normal varlanL of human sexuallLy'.
32

1he sychologlcal AssoclaLlon of Lhe hlllpplnes lssued a sLaLemenL ln 2012 reafflrmlng LhaL:
ju]ecoJes of scleotlflc teseotcb bove leJ meotol beoltb ptofessloool otqoolzotloos
wotlJwlJe to coocloJe tbot lesbloo, qoy ooJ blsexool otleototloos ote ootmol
votloots of bomoo sexoollty .. 1be lsycboloqlcol Assoclotloo of tbe lblllpploes
(lAl) ollqos ltself wltb tbe qlobol loltlotlves to temove tbe stlqmo of meotol llloess
tbot bos looq beeo ossocloteJ wltb Jlvetse sexoolltles ooJ to ptomote tbe
wellbeloq of lC81 people.
33

ln 2013, Lhe Lebanese sychlaLrlc SocleLy caLegorlcally sLaLed LhaL 'homosexuallLy ls noL a menLal
dlsorder'.
34

Clven Lhe overwhelmlng and consldered oplnlon of Lhe psychologlcal and psychlaLrlc professlons across
Lhe globe, lncludlng ln Afrlca, lL ls clear LhaL homosexuallLy ls no more a menLal dlsorder Lhan Lhe
aforemenLloned Jtopetomoolo. 1he characLerlsaLlon of boLh 'condlLlons' as menLal dlsorders ls drlven
noL by ob[ecLlve medlcal evldence or sclenLlflc facL, buL by sub[ecLlve, personal pre[udlce and hosLlllLy
Lowards cerLaln groups based on Lhelr personal characLerlsLlcs.
lf, however, homosexuallLy ls noL a menLal dlsorder, can lL sLlll be sald LhaL homosexuallLy ls noL lnnaLe
and lmmuLable?
1he lmmuLablllLy of homosexuallLy
Cne way Lo measure wheLher sexual orlenLaLlon ls muLable ls Lo examlne Lhe oplnlon of medlcal experLs
on Lhe merlLs of Sexual CrlenLaLlon Change LfforLs ('SCCL'), also known as 'converslon' or 'reparaLlve'
Lheraples, whlch clalm Lo be able Lo alLer Lhe sexual orlenLaLlon of gay and lesblan lndlvlduals. 1he
sclenLlflc and medlcal communlLy worldwlde has also denounced such Lheraples:

1he an Amerlcan PealLh CrganlsaLlon (reglonal offlce of Lhe World PealLh CrganlsaLlon) has
sald '[b]esldes Lhe lack of medlcal lndlcaLlon, Lhere ls no sclenLlflc evldence for Lhe effecLlveness
of sexual re-orlenLaLlon efforLs'.
33


hLLp://www.psyssa.com/documenLs/Cpen20SLaLemenL20from20sySSA2023-02-10.pdf [lasL accessed
19 november 2013]
31
8rlLlsh sychologlcal SocleLy, losltloo 5totemeot. 1betoples Attemptloq to cbooqe 5exool Otleototloo (2012).
Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.bps.org.uk/sysLem/flles/lmages/Lheraples_aLLempLlng_Lo_change_sexual_orlenLaLlon.pdf [lasL
accessed 23 november 2013]
32
AusLrallan sychologlcal SocleLy, Al5 losltloo 5totemeot oo tbe use of 1betoples tbot Attempt to cbooqe
5exool Otleototloo (2012). Avallable aL: hLLp://www.psychology.org.au/AsseLs/llles/reparaLlve_Lherapy.pdf
[lasL accessed 9 uecember]
33
sychologlcal AssoclaLlon of Lhe hlllpplnes, 5totemeot of tbe lsycboloqlcol Assoclotloo of tbe lblllpploes oo
Noo-ulsctlmlootloo 8oseJ oo 5exool Otleototloo, CeoJet lJeotlty ooJ xptessloo (2012). Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.pap.org.ph/?cLr=page&acLlon=resources [lasL accessed 19 november 2013]
34
Sandels, A., 'Lebanese medlcal group says belng gay ls noL a dlsease' ln los Aoqeles 1lmes, 12 !uly 2013.
Avallable aL: hLLp://arLlcles.laLlmes.com/2013/[ul/12/world/la-fg-wn-lebanon-homosexuallLy-20130712 [lasL
accessed 2 uecember 2013]
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 16

1he 8oyal College of sychlaLrlsLs ln Lhe unlLed klngdom sLaLed LhaL Lhere ls 'no sound sclenLlflc
evldence LhaL sexual orlenLaLlon can be changed'.
36

1he 8oyal new Zealand and AusLrallan College of sychlaLrlsLs slmllarly lndlcaLed LhaL lL 'does noL
supporL Lhe use of sexual orlenLaLlon change efforLs of any klnd' and warned LhaL '[m]enLal
healLh workers should avold mlsrepresenLlng Lhe efflcacy of sexual orlenLaLlon change efforLs
when provldlng asslsLance Lo people dlsLressed by Lhelr own or oLhers' sexual orlenLaLlon'.
37

1he Pong kong sychologlcal SocleLy conflrmed LhaL '[p]sychologlsLs undersLand LhaL efforLs Lo
change sexual orlenLaLlon are noL proven Lo be effecLlve or harmless'.
38

1he sychologlcal SocleLy of SouLh Afrlca publlshed an open leLLer Lo resldenL Musevenl ln
response Lo Lhe proposed law ln 2009. lL concluded LhaL '[w]hlle "causes" for any of Lhese sexual
orlenLaLlons remaln unclear, Lhey are hlghly reslsLanL Lo change', and LhaL '[r]esearch and cllnlcal
experlence furLher concludes LhaL for mosL people sexual orlenLaLlon ls noL a cholce" or
volunLary"'.
39

1he lndlan !ournal of sychlaLry also concluded ln an edlLorlal LhaL '[L]here ls no evldence for Lhe
effecLlveness of sexual converslon Lheraples. Such LreaLmenLs also ralse eLhlcal quesLlons. ln
facL, Lhere ls evldence LhaL such aLLempLs may cause more harm Lhan good'.
60

1he Lebanese sychlaLrlc SocleLy announced lLs sLrong opposlLlon Lo Sexual CrlenLaLlon Change
LfforLs declarlng LhaL:
nomosexoollty . Joes oot oeeJ to be tteoteJ.... 1be ossomptloo tbot
bomosexoollty ls o tesolt of Jlstotbooces lo tbe fomlly Jyoomlc ot oobolooceJ
psycboloqlcol Jevelopmeot ls boseJ oo wtooq lofotmotloo.
61

ln !une 2013, Lxodus lnLernaLlonal - Lhe largesL and oldesL 'gay-cure' group - shuL down lLs
operaLlons permanenLly and lssued a publlc apology for Lhe 'paln and hurL' lL caused Lo LC81
persons worldwlde.
62



33
an Amerlcan PealLh CrganlsaLlon, '"Cures" for an lllness LhaL does noL exlsL' (2010). Avallable aL:
hLLp://new.paho.org/hq/lndex.php?opLlon=com_docman&Lask=doc_vlew&gld=17703&lLemld [lasL accessed
19 november 2013].
36
8oyal College of sychlaLrlsLs, losltloo 5totemeot oo 5exool Otleototloo, S01/2010 (2010). Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/S01_2010x.pdf [lasL accessed 19 november 2013]
37
8oyal new Zealand and AusLrallan College of sychlaLrlsLs, losltloo stotemeot 60 - 5exool teotleototloo
tbetoples (2010). Avallable aL: hLLp://www.ranzcp.org/llles/ranzcp-
aLLachmenLs/8esources/College_SLaLemenLs/oslLlon_SLaLemenLs/ps60-pdf.aspx [lasL accessed 19 november
2013]
38
Pong kong sychologlcal SocleLy, losltloo lopet fot lsycboloqlsts wotkloq wltb lesbloos, Coys, ooJ 8lsexool
(lC8) loJlvlJools (2012). Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.hkps.org.hk/padmln/upload/wpage1_26download2_oslLlon20aper20on20LC8.pdf [lasL
accessed 19 november 2013]
39
sychologlcal SocleLy of SouLh Afrlca, Ao Opeo 5totemeot ftom tbe lsycboloqlcol 5oclety of 5ootb Aftlco to
tbe leople ooJ leoJets of uqooJo coocetoloq tbe Aotl-nomosexoollty 8lll 2009 (2009). Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.psyssa.com/documenLs/Cpen20SLaLemenL20from20sySSA2023-02-10.pdf [lasL accessed
19 november 2013]
60
8ao, 1. S. and !acob, k.S., 'PomosexuallLy and lndla', loJloo Iootool of lsycblotty, 2012,34:1-3. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.ncbl.nlm.nlh.gov/pmc/arLlcles/MC3339212/ [lasL accessed 19 november 2013]
61
Sandels, A., 'Lebanese medlcal group says belng gay ls noL a dlsease' los Aoqeles 1lmes, 12 !uly 2013.
Avallable aL: hLLp://arLlcles.laLlmes.com/2013/[ul/12/world/la-fg-wn-lebanon-homosexuallLy-20130712 [lasL
accessed 2 uecember 2013]
62
ayne, L, 'Croup apologlzes Lo gay communlLy, shuLs down cure" mlnlsLry', Cnn, 8 !uly 2013. Avallable aL:
hLLp://edlLlon.cnn.com/2013/06/20/us/exodus-lnLernaLlonal-shuLdown/ [lasL accessed 2 uecember 2013]
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 17

Clven Lhe overwhelmlng medlcal oplnlon LhaL converslon or reparaLlve Lheraples aL besL do noL work,
and aL worsL are damaglng Lo lndlvlduals, Lhe noLlon LhaL homosexuallLy can be consclously alLered ls
compleLely wlLhouL merlL.

'8ecrulLmenL'
1he proposed law asserLs LhaL young people are 'vulnerable Lo sexual abuse and devlaLlon'. Whlle sexual
abuse of chlldren ls a serlous problem, explored furLher ln secLlon vl of Lhls reporL, Lhe proposed law
does noLhlng Lo help prevenL lL from occurrlng. 1he ldea LhaL chlldren are vulnerable Lo 'devlaLlon' ls
clearly predlcaLed on Lhe ldea 'LhaL homosexuallLy can only exlsL as a resulL of seducLlon of mlnors by
predaLory older perverLs'.
6J
?eL lf homosexuallLy ls noL, as Lhe proposed law asserLs, a mere personal
cholce buL an lmmuLable characLerlsLlc, Lhen on whaL loglcal basls could chlldren be 'recrulLed' lnLo
homosexuallLy?
As wlll be demonsLraLed ln Lhe followlng secLlon, Lhe ldea LhaL expanded crlmlnallsaLlon ls requlred Lo
prevenL Lhe recrulLmenL of chlldren lnLo Lhe homosexual llfesLyle, as well as Lhe desLrucLlon of Lhe
LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL, has no evldenLlary basls.

63
WaLney, S., 'School's CuL' ln luss, u. (ed.), loslJe/Oot (1991), p. 387
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 18

lll. ls expanded crlmlnallsaLlon necessary Lo proLecL Lhe
LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL?

A Lhlrd commonly clLed reason for expandlng crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy ls Lhe noLlon LhaL lL
undermlnes Lhe LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL, evenLually leadlng Lo Lhe desLrucLlon of Lhe famlly, and by
exLenslon, Lhe desLrucLlon of Lhe naLlon. Speaklng ln 2008, resldenL Musevenl descrlbed homosexuallLy
as mtombovo - Swahlll for 'sLupld' - and urged ugandan clLlzens:
uoot feot, teslst ooJ Jo oot comptomlse oo tbot. lt ls o Jooqet oot ooly to tbe bellevets bot
to tbe wbole of Aftlco.
64

When speaklng ln 2012, however, resldenL Musevenl demonsLraLed he had evolved ln hls undersLandlng
of Lhe lssue of homosexuallLy, saylng:
lf tbete ote some bomosexools, we sboll oot klll ot petsecote tbem bot tbete sboolJ be oo
ptomotloo of bomosexoollty.
63
(emphasls added)
Pls recenL reporLed re[ecLlon of Lhe proposed law lndlcaLes furLher unease abouL lLs punlLlve provlslons,
lf noL lLs overall alms.
66
ln splLe of resldenL Musevenl's evoluLlon on Lhe sub[ecL, however, Lhere are
Lhose boLh wlLhln uganda and across Afrlcan who lnslsL LhaL crlmlnallsaLlon or expanded crlmlnallsaLlon
ls necessary Lo proLecL Lhe LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL.
rofessor Sylvla 1amale has examlned crlLlcally whaL ls meanL when Afrlcan leaders lnvoke Lhe
'LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL' ln order Lo [usLlfy Lhelr opposlLlon Lo homosexuallLy. She argues LhaL such
a concepL ls meanlngless ln Lhe conLexL of Lhe dlverse LradlLlons and culLures across Lhe Afrlcan
conLlnenL. Among Lhe examples she clLes ls Lhe pracLlse of female-husbands and non-sexual marrlages
beLween women amongsL Lhe lgbo of nlgerla.
67

WhaL, Lhen, do proponenLs of such a poslLlon acLually mean by Lhe Lerm 'LradlLlonal famlly unlL'?
resumably Lhe Lerm descrlbes famllles whlch are headed by an opposlLe-sex couple, unlLed ln a
monogamous marrlage, and who have produced a number of chlldren. uLLlng aslde Lhe lssue of
wheLher such a famlly sLrucLure could be concelved of as 'LradlLlonally' Afrlcan, can lL really be sald LhaL
homosexuallLy affecLs such heLerosexual famlly sLrucLures?
lf Lhe proLecLlon of heLerosexuallLy requlred Lhe expanded crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy - and lf
wlLhouL such expanded crlmlnallsaLlon an ever lncreaslng number of chlldren would 'learn' Lo be gay or
unmarrled women would Lurn Lo same-sex sexual conducL ouL of sexual sLarvaLlon - Lhen Lhose Afrlcan
counLrles whlch have never crlmlnallsed homosexuallLy would by now face serlous demographlc
problems. lf Lhe consequence of noL crlmlnallslng homosexuallLy was LhaL boys and glrls were growlng
up Lo be gay and lesblan, Lhen Lhe ferLlllLy raLes, populaLlon growLh raLes and blrLh raLes of Lhose
counLrles whlch had never crlmlnallsed would be ln Lermlnal decllne. lurLhermore, lf Lhe argumenLs puL
forward by Lhe proponenLs of crlmlnallsaLlon are correcL, LhaL wlLhouL harsh penal sancLlons generaLlons

64
ClupoL, M. and Ldyegu, u., 'Musevenl 8acks Church AgalnsL Cays', New vlsloo (uganda), 17 AugusL 2008.
Avallable aL: hLLp://www.newvlslon.co.ug/u/8/12/644934 [lasL accessed 8 CcLober 2013]
63
88C news, 'uganda's resldenL ?owerl Musevenl: uon'L klll gay people', 17 uecember 2012. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-afrlca-20734891 [lasL accessed 19 november 2013]
66
88C news, 'uganda resldenL ?owerl Musevenl 8locks AnLl-Cay Law', 17 !anuary 2014. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-afrlca-23773002
67
1amale (2009), aL n. 21, p. 30.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 19

of chlldren wlll be losL by belng 'recrulLed' lnLo 'Lhe gay llfesLyle', Lhen Lhe counLrles whlch have exlsLed
for generaLlons wlLhouL crlmlnallsaLlon would be ln Lhe mldsL of a populaLlon crlsls.
?eL soclal daLa lndlcaLe LhaL Lhe supposed loglcal ouLcome volced by pro-expanded crlmlnallsaLlon
rheLorlc has noL occurred. uslng Lhree populaLlon lndlcaLors - ferLlllLy raLes, blrLh raLes and populaLlon
growLh raLes - lL ls clear LhaL such concerns have no evldenLlary basls.
I|g 2: 1op 10 Afr|can fert|||ty rates
!"#$%&' !)*+,&-$ ."&$/0"12$
3456 -7%8
97 )"1"7-:#2+*%'
;&*1*$2+*7-,<
=*>-& 7.03 No
?2+* 6.2S No
@"12+*2 6.17 es
A>2$,2 6.06 es
B#&C*$2 D27" 6.00 No
B#&#$,* S.99 es
E21.*2 S.81 es
@"#%) @#,2$ S.S4 es
F$>"+2 S.49 es
!"$>" S.49 No

Source: ClA World lacLbook 2013.
An exploraLlon of Afrlcan ferLlllLy reveals LhaL nlger, a counLry whlch does noL crlmlnallse homosexuallLy,
ranks flrsL based on 2013 esLlmaLes, wlLh an average of 7.03 blrLhs per woman.
68
ln second place ls Mall,
a counLry whlch also does noL crlmlnallse homosexuallLy, wlLh an average of 6.23 blrLhs per woman.
uganda ls fourLh on Lhe llsL, wlLh an average of 6.06 blrLhs per woman.
I|g 3: 1op 10 Afr|can b|rth rates
!"#$%&' B*&%)7/5444 G"G#+2%*"$
3456 -7%8
97 )"1"7-:#2+*%'
;&*1*$2+*7-,<
=*>-& 46.84 No
?2+* 46.06 No
A>2$,2 44.S0 es
B#&C*$2 D27" 42.81 No
E21.*2 42.79 es
@"12+*2 41.4S es
B#&#$,* 40.04 es
?2+20* 39.98 es
!"$>" 39.63 No
F$>"+2 39.16 es

Source: ClA World lacLbook 2013.
ln Lerms of blrLh raLes ln Afrlca, yeL agaln, lL ls counLrles whlch do noL crlmlnallse whlch make up Lhe flrsL
and second poslLlon, wlLh nlger and Mall havlng recorded blrLh raLes of 46.84 and 46.06 respecLlvely.
69

uganda ls Lhlrd wlLh 44.30 blrLhs per 1000 persons, followed by 8urklna laso, yeL anoLher counLry whlch
does noL crlmlnallse, wlLh 44.30 blrLhs per 1000 persons.

68
ClA World lacLbook (2013). lerLlllLy 8aLes CounLry Comparlson. Avallable aL:
hLLps://www.cla.gov/llbrary/publlcaLlons/Lhe-world-facLbook/rankorder/2127rank.hLml [lasL accessed 23
SepLember 2013]
69
ClA World lacLbook (2013). 8lrLh 8aLe CounLry Comparlson. Avallable aL:
hLLps://www.cla.gov/llbrary/publlcaLlons/Lhe-world-facLbook/rankorder/2034rank.hLml [lasL accessed 23
SepLember 2013]
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 20


I|g 4: 1op 10 Sub-Saharan Afr|can popu|at|on growth rate
!"#$%&' HIJ
3456 -7%8
97 )"1"7-:#2+*%'
;&*1*$2+*7-,<
E*1.2.0- 4.38 es
@"#%) @#,2$ 4.23 es
A>2$,2 3.32 es
=*>-& 3.32 No
B#&#$,* 3.08 es
B#&C*$2 D27" 3.06 No
?2+* 3.01 No
K%)*"G*2 2.90 es
E21.*2 2.89 es
!"$>" 2.86 No

Source: ClA World lacLbook 2013.
SLaLlsLlcs regardlng populaLlon growLh raLes ln Afrlca show LhaL 40 of Lhe Lop 10 ls represenLed by
counLrles whlch do noL crlmlnallse. uganda ls placed flfLh, wlLh a populaLlon growLh raLe of 3.32 based
on 2013 esLlmaLes, placlng lL ln exacLly Lhe same poslLlon as nlger, whlch also has a populaLlon growLh
raLe of 3.32. 8urklna laso, Mall and Congo also feaLure ln Lhe Lop 10 global growLh raLe, aL numbers 6,
7 and 10 respecLlvely.
nlger, Mall, 8urklna laso and Congo - all counLrles whlch do noL crlmlnallse - rank hlghly on Lhe
lndlcaLors. 1hey are counLrles whlch elLher lnherlLed Lhe napoleonlc legal code from lrance, under whlch
homosexuallLy was decrlmlnallsed, or a derlvaLlve code. 1he four counLrles should, lf Lhe argumenLs
abouL Lhe desLrucLlon of Lhe famlly are correcL, be langulshlng wlLh decllnlng populaLlons, decreaslng
blrLh raLes and low ferLlllLy raLes. 1helr socleLles have llved wlLhouL crlmlnallslng homosexuallLy for
generaLlons, yeL Lhey occupy Lop poslLlons on Lhe populaLlon lndlcaLors, wlLh many ranklng elLher Lhe
same as uganda, or hlgher.
1hls noL only demonsLraLes LhaL fears abouL Lhe desLrucLlon of Lhe LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL are
unfounded buL LhaL Lhe underlylng assumpLlon LhaL homosexuallLy ls 'conLaglous', LhaL chlldren wlll
somehow be recrulLed lnLo Lhe so-called 'homosexual llfesLyle' unless Lough crlmlnal sancLlons are ln
place, ls compleLely wlLhouL merlL. nor ls lL feaslble Lo suggesL LhaL unmarrled women wlll become
lesblans ouL of sexual frusLraLlon. nlger, Mall, 8urklna laso and Congo do noL have swaLhes of ever-
lncreaslng populaLlons of gay men and lesblan women, and Lhe LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL whlch
forms parL of Lhelr respecLlve socleLles ls very much allve and well.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 21

lv. ls expanded crlmlnallsaLlon necessary Lo malnLaln sLrong
rellglous convlcLlons?

A fourLh commonly clLed reason for Lhe malnLenance and sLrengLhenlng of crlmlnallsaLlon ls Lhe noLlon
LhaL rellglous convlcLlon calls for such measures. ?eL an examlnaLlon of varlous sLaLemenLs made by
promlnenL - global rellglous flgures, supporLed by comparaLlve sLaLlsLlcal daLa on rellglous convlcLlon ln
sub-Saharan Afrlca palnLs a very dlfferenL plcLure.
PomosexuallLy and rellglon
1he basls for Lhe persecuLlon of LC81 people ln Lhe !udeo-ChrlsLlan and lslamlc LradlLlon lles orlglnally ln
Lwo 8lbllcal sources, LevlLlcus 18:22 and 20:13 and aul 1 8omans have been varlously lnLerpreLed Lo
condemn same-sex sexual relaLlons beLween Lwo men
70
on Lhe one hand and Lo deflne only hollness
among secLors of Lhe !ewlsh communlLy
71
(Lhe prlesL-class or LevlLes) on Lhe oLher. Lqually aul's
sLaLemenLs have been used Lo [usLlfy Lhe persecuLlon of gay men whlle aL Lhe same Llme oLher
commenLaLors have seen Lhem as a very llmlLed condemnaLlon of cerLaln forms of prosLlLuLlon (male or
female).
72
1here ls no consensus among Lheologlans on whaL Lhese passages acLually mean and many
belleve LhaL Lhe orlglnal Pebrew and Creek words have conslsLenLly been mlsLranslaLed ln order Lo glve
Lhem a homophoblc gloss.
73

lncreaslngly a more llberal vlew has galned ground among Lhe ma[or churches, and rellglous leaders have
condemned Lhe persecuLlon and crlmlnallsaLlon of LC81 people. ln a sLaLemenL ln 2010 Archblshop
uesmond 1uLu, former rlmaLe of Lhe Angllcan Church of SouLhern Afrlca, called for an end Lo
persecuLlon of people based on Lhelr sexual orlenLaLlon and gender ldenLlLy:

All ovet tbe wotlJ, lesbloo, qoy, blsexool ooJ ttoosqeoJet people ote petsecoteJ. 1bey foce
vloleoce, tottote ooJ ctlmlool sooctloos becoose of bow tbey llve ooJ wbo tbey love. we
moke tbem Joobt tbot tbey too ote cbllJteo of CoJ - ooJ tbls most be oeotly tbe oltlmote
blospbemy.
74


lurLhermore, ln an edlLorlal daLed 12 uecember 2012 Archblshop 1uLu dlrecLly addressed ugandan Ms
and sLaLed LhaL Cod does noL dlscrlmlnaLe among members of our famlly. Pe wroLe:


70
Clll, !., 'LevlLlcus 18:22'. Avallable aL hLLp://www.blblesLudyLools.com/commenLarles/gllls-exposlLlon-of-Lhe-
blble/levlLlcus-18-22.hLml [lasL accessed 17 uecember 2013].
71
Slker, !. S., nomosexoollty ooJ kellqloo, Creenwood (2007), p. 67.
72
8oswell, !., cbtlstloolty, soclol toletooce, ooJ bomosexoollty. qoy people lo westeto otope ftom tbe
beqlooloq of tbe cbtlstloo eto to tbe footteeotb ceototy, unlverslLy of Chlcago ress (1981),
73
!ohns, L. L., nomosexoollty ooJ tbe 8lble. A cose 5toJy lo tbe use of tbe 8lble fot tblcs. Avallable aL:
hLLp://l[ohns.ambs.edu/PomosexuallLy.hLm [lasL accessed 19 uecember 2013], 1ownsley, !., 'aul, Lhe
Coddess 8ellglons and Cueer SecLs: 8omans 1 23-28', Iootool of 8lbllcol lltetotote, vol. 130, no. 4, (2011), pp.
707-28. Avallable aL:
hLLp://muse.[hu.edu/logln?auLh=0&Lype=summary&url=/[ournals/[ournal_of_blbllcal_llLeraLure/v130/130.4.L
ownsley.pdf [lasL accessed 19 uecember 2013].
74
1uLu, Archblshop u., 5totemeot ot uN nlqb level looel oo oJloq ctlmlool lows ooJ vloleoce, 17 SepLember
2010. Avallable aL: hLLp://unescoglobe.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/archblshop-desmond-LuLu-whenever-
one-group-of-human-belngs-ls-LreaLed-as-lnferlor-Lo-anoLher-haLred-and-lnLolerance-wlll-Lrlumph/ [lasL
accessed 2 uecember 2012].
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 22

Ooe tbloq tbot uqooJoo leqlslotots sboolJ koow ls tbot CoJ Joes oot Jlsctlmloote omooq
membets of oot fomlly. CoJ Joes oot soy block ls bettet tboo wblte, ot toll ls bettet tboo
sbott, ot footboll ployets ote bettet tboo bosketboll ployets, ot cbtlstloos ote bettet tboo
Mosllms ... ot qoy ls bettet tboo sttolqbt.
75

ln a reporL by a ma[or medlcal [ournal, 1be loocet enLlLled 'A coll to octloo fot comptebeoslve nlv setvlces
fot meo wbo bove sex wltb meo, Archblshop 1uLu was quoLed as saylng:

j1]o tbe exteot tbot leqol Jlsctlmlootloo, tbose olJ lows ooJ stototes tbot moke tbem lofetlot
stlll exlst, lt ls op to oll to wotk to cbooqe tbose lows. l bove oo Joobt tbot lo tbe fotote, tbe
lows tbot ctlmloollse so mooy fotms of bomoo love ooJ commltmeot wlll look tbe woy tbe
opottbelJ lows Jo to os oow - so obvloosly wtooq.
76

ur. 1habo Makgoba, Angllcan Archblshop of Cape 1own and MeLropollLan of SouLhern Afrlca has
called for an end Lo vlolence dlrecLed aL lesblan, gay, blsexual and Lransgender people. ln CcLober
2013, he released a vldeo sLaLemenL, ln whlch he dlrecLly addressed gay vlewers:
uoot feot.oove beeo qlveo tbls tosk of belploq tbe test of bomoolty to teollse tbot we ote
colleJ to tespect ooJ we ote colleJ to boooot eocb otbet. leople moy come ooJ soy tbls ls
oo-Aftlcoo, ooJ lm soyloq love cots octoss coltote.
77

1he Angllcan Church of SouLhern Afrlca opposes Lhe crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy. ln 2010, Lhe
Angllcan 8lshops of SouLhern Afrlca lssued a [olnL sLaLemenL opposlng Lhe senLenclng of Lwo gay
men ln Malawl Lo 14 years lmprlsonmenL for 'unnaLural acLs and gross lndecency'. 1hey called Lhe
senLence a 'gross vlolaLlon of human rlghLs' lnconslsLenL wlLh Lhe Leachlngs of Lhe ScrlpLures 'LhaL
all human belngs are creaLed ln Lhe lmage of Cod and Lherefore musL be LreaLed wlLh respecL and
accorded human dlgnlLy' and added LhaL:
1booqb tbete ls o bteoJtb of tbeoloqlcol vlews omooq os oo mottets of bomoo sexoollty, we
ote oolteJ lo opposloq tbe ctlmloollsotloo of bomosexool people . jwe] oppeol to lowmokets
evetywbete to JefeoJ tbe tlqbts of tbese mlootltles.
78


key flgures wlLhln Lhe 8oman CaLhollc Church have expressed sLrong opposlLlon Lo Lhe crlmlnallsaLlon of
homosexuallLy. Cn 4 lebruary 2013, Archblshop vlncenzo aglla, head of Lhe onLlflcal Councll for Lhe
lamlly, sLaLed LhaL he would llke Lhe Church Lo challenge [urlsdlcLlons where homosexuallLy was a
crlme.
79



73
1uLu, Archblshop u., '1o ugandan Ms: Cod does noL dlscrlmlnaLe among our famlly', uolly Mooltot, 12
uecember 2012. Avallable aL: hLLp://www.monlLor.co.ug/CpLd/CommenLary/1o-ugandan-Ms--Cod-does-
noL-dlscrlmlnaLe-among-our-famlly/-/689364/1641946/-/v9anyg/-/lndex.hLml [lasL accessed 2 uecember
2013]
76
8eyrer, C. eL al. (2012), 'A call Lo acLlon for comprehenslve Plv servlces for men who have sex wlLh men',
1be loocet. vol 380 (9839), 424 aL 428. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.LhelanceL.com/[ournals/lanceL/arLlcle/llS0140-6736(12)61022-8/fullLexL [lasL accessed 2
uecember 2013].
77
Puman 8lghLs WaLch. vldeo: 5ootb Aftlco. Atcbblsbop cooJemos Aotl-lC81 vloleoce (2013), avallable aL:
hLLp://www.youLube.com/waLch?v=9?dSbvp1uuk [lasL accessed 9 uecember 2013]
78
SLaLemenL by Lhe Angllcan 8lshops ln SouLhern Afrlca, '1he lmprlsonmenL of SLephen Mon[eza and 1lwonge
Chlmbalanga', 26 May 2010, avallable aL: hLLp://archblshop.angllcanchurchsa.org/2010/03/lmprlsonmenL-of-
sLephen-mon[eza-and.hLml [lasL accessed 2 uecember 2013]
79
Archblshop vlncenzo aglla, speaklng aL a vaLlcan press conference, 4 lebruary 2013. Avallable aL:
hLLp://arLlcles.washlngLonposL.com/2013-02-04/naLlonal/36738671_1_gay-marrlage-maryland-and-
washlngLon-sLaLe-gay-couples [lasL accessed 2 uecember 2013]
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 23

ln 2008, Lhe Poly See delegaLlon Lo Lhe un Ceneral Assembly lssued a sLaLemenL LhaL Lhe Poly See
advocaLes Lhe ellmlnaLlon of 'every slgn of un[usL dlscrlmlnaLlon Lowards homosexual persons' and 'urges
SLaLes Lo do away wlLh crlmlnal penalLles agalnsL Lhem'.
80
ln an earller press conference, vaLlcan
spokesman lr lederlco Lombardl declared LhaL 'Lhe Church ls conLrary Lo leglslaLlon LhaL crlmlnallses
homosexuallLy'.
81


ln 2009 hlllp !. 8ene, Legal aLLache, ermanenL Cbserver Mlsslon of Lhe Poly See Lo Lhe unlLed naLlons,
lssued a sLaLemenL aL a panel meeLlng aL Lhe un Ceneral Assembly durlng Puman 8lghLs uay sLaLlng LhaL
Lhe Poly See ls opposed Lo vlolaLlons of human rlghLs agalnsL homosexual persons. 1he sLaLemenL read:

j1be noly 5ee] opposes oll fotms of vloleoce ooJ oojost Jlsctlmlootloo oqolost bomosexool
petsoos, locloJloq Jlsctlmloototy peool leqlslotloo wblcb ooJetmloes tbe lobeteot Jlqolty of
tbe bomoo petsoo ... j1]be motJet ooJ obose of bomosexool petsoos ote to be cooftooteJ oo
oll levels, especlolly wbeo socb vloleoce ls petpettoteJ by tbe 5tote . we cootlooe to coll oo
oll 5totes ooJ loJlvlJools to tespect tbe tlqbts of oll petsoos ooJ to wotk to ptomote tbelt
lobeteot Jlqolty ooJ wottb
.82


1he currenL cotecblsm of tbe cotbollc cbotcb sLaLes caLegorlcally LhaL 'men and women who have deep-
seaLed homosexual Lendencles ... musL be accepLed wlLh respecL, compasslon, and senslLlvlLy. Lvery slgn
of un[usL dlscrlmlnaLlon ln Lhelr regard should be avolded.'
83

8ellglon ln Afrlca
SLaLemenLs from rellglous flgures across Lhe globe cerLalnly demonsLraLe LhaL rellglous convlcLlon does
noL requlre crlmlnallsaLlon or persecuLlon of homosexuallLy. 8uL can Lhe same be sald Lo apply Lo
lndlvldual adherenLs across sub-Saharan Afrlca? 1haL ls Lo say, has rellglous convlcLlon crumbled ln Lhe
counLrles whlch do noL crlmlnallse homosexuallLy?

Cross-naLlonal research conducLed by Lhe ew lorum on 8ellglon and ubllc Llfe ln 2010 refuLes Lhe
noLlon LhaL a lack of persecuLlon of homosexuallLy can be llnked wlLh weakenlng of rellglous convlcLlons.
AlLhough Lhe research explores a number of lssues perLalnlng Lo rellglous Lenslons ln sub-Saharan Afrlca,
Lhe reporL uses a number of lndlcaLors whlch are dlrecLly relevanL Lo explorlng Lhe llnk beLween
crlmlnallsaLlon and rellglous senLlmenL.

ChrlsLlanlLy and lslam are relaLlvely recenL lmporLs Lo Afrlca's splrlLual and rellglous landscape, lmposed
Lhrough colonlallsm. ln 1900, [usL 9 of sub-Saharan Afrlcans were ChrlsLlan, whlle [usL 14 were
Musllm. AL Lhe Llme, Lhe overwhelmlng ma[orlLy (74) pracLlsed LradlLlonal Afrlcan rellglons.
84

Accordlng Lo hlsLorlcal esLlmaLes from Lhe World 8ellglon uaLabase, Lhe LoLal number of Musllms and
ChrlsLlans comblned was less Lhan a quarLer of Lhe enLlre populaLlon aL Lhe beglnnlng of Lhe LwenLleLh
cenLury. 8y 2010 Lhe number of Musllms and ChrlsLlans had rlsen Lo 29 and 37 respecLlvely, whlle Lhe
number pracLlslng LradlLlonal Afrlcan rellglons dropped Lo [usL 17.

80
SLaLemenL of Lhe Poly See uelegaLlon aL Lhe 63rd Sesslon of Lhe Ceneral Assembly of Lhe unlLed naLlons on
Lhe ueclaraLlon on Puman 8lghLs, Sexual CrlenLaLlon and Cender ldenLlLy (18 uecember 2008)
81
'uon'L crlmlnallse homosexuallLy: vaLlcan spokesman', cotbollc News 5etvlce, 8 uecember 2008.
82
SLaLemenL of Lhe Poly See uelegaLlon aL a panel meeLlng of Lhe un Ceneral Assembly, 10 uecember 2009.
83
CaLechlsm of Lhe CaLhollc Church, 2338. Avallable aL
hLLp://www.vaLlcan.va/archlve/ccc_css/archlve/caLechlsm/p3s2c2a6.hLm [lasL accessed 17 uecember 2013].
84
ew 8esearch CenLer's lorum on 8ellglon and ubllc Llfe, '1olerance and 1enslon: lslam and ChrlsLlanlLy ln
Sub-Saharan Afrlca' ln lew lotom oo kellqloo ooJ lobllc llfe (2010). Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.volLalreneL.org/lMC/pdf/lslam_and_ChrlsLlanlLy.pdf [lasL accessed 23 SepLember 2013]
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 24

1he percenLage of lndlvlduals ln sub-Saharan Afrlca Lo whom rellglon ls very lmporLanL ln Lhelr llves
remalns hlgh regardless of wheLher homosexuallLy ls crlmlnallsed or noL.
I|g S: kespondents say|ng re||g|on |s very |mportant |n the|r ||ves
!"#$%&' HIJ 97 )"1"7-:#2+*%'
;&*1*$2+*7-,<
@-$->2+ 98 es
?2+* 93 No
L2$M2$*2 93 es
N#*$-2 B*772# 90 No
E21.*2 90 es
O02$,2 90 No
!21-&""$ 89 es
N)2$2 88 es
?"M21.*P#- 87 es
Q*.-&*2 87 es
R-$'2 87 es
=*>-&*2 87 es
!)2, 86 No
ST*."#%* 86 No
A>2$,2 86 es
SO !"$>" 82 No
K%)*"G*2 79 es
@"#%) FU&*;2 74 No
B"%702$2 69 es

Source: ew 8esearch CenLer (2010).
1olerance and 1enslon: lslam and ChrlsLlanlLy ln Sub-Saharan Afrlca"
1he counLry wlLh Lhe second hlghesL poslLlve response Lo Lhe sLaLemenL LhaL rellglon plays a very
lmporLanL role ln Lhelr llves was Mall (93), a counLry whlch does noL crlmlnallse homosexuallLy. 1hls
places lL level wlLh 1anzanla, a counLry whlch currenLly crlmlnallses. ln [olnL Lhlrd place are Culnea 8lssau
and 8wanda, Lwo counLrles whlch do noL crlmlnallse homosexuallLy, along wlLh Zambla. All of Lhe sLaLes
menLloned so far scored hlgher Lhan uganda (86), whlle Chad and u[lbouLl, Lwo counLrles whlch do noL
crlmlnallse, also scored Lhe same as uganda.
Cn Lhls lndlcaLor, Lhe daLa demonsLraLe Lhere ls no correlaLlon beLween non-crlmlnallsaLlon and any
supposed decllne ln Lhe role rellglon plays ln Lhe llves of Afrlcan clLlzens. CounLrles LhaL do noL
crlmlnallse are well represenLed ln Lhe Lop half of Lhe llsL, wlLh 3 ouL of Lhe Lop 6 currenLly noL
crlmlnallslng homosexuallLy. 1he lmporLance rellglon plays ln Lhe llves of Afrlcans ls noL llnked Lo Lhe level
of crlmlnallsaLlon wlLhln a parLlcular sLaLe - expanded crlmlnallsaLlon wlll Lherefore do noLhlng Lo bolsLer
rellglous convlcLlon.
erhaps llnked Lo Lhe fear of loss of rellglon ls Lhe noLlon LhaL Lhere ls a sLark cholce beLween reLalnlng
Afrlcan cusLoms, norms and culLural ldenLlLy (and expandlng crlmlnallsaLlon), or succumblng Lo Lhe
lnfluence of WesLern culLure. 1he lndlcaLors on rellglon ln sub-Saharan Afrlca demonsLraLe LhaL sLaLes can
reLaln Lhelr Afrlcan ldenLlLy and rellglous convlcLlons, and yeL noL persecuLe homosexuallLy Lhrough
expanded crlmlnallsaLlon. roponenLs of a conLrary vlew could noL genulnely asserL LhaL Mall or nlger
are ouLposLs of forelgn WesLern values, slmply because Lhey do noL crlmlnallse homosexuallLy, or LhaL
Chad or u8 Congo are noL represenLaLlve of Afrlcan culLure.
1he daLa clearly lay Lo resL Lhe noLlon LhaL expanded crlmlnallsaLlon ls necessary Lo malnLaln rellglous
convlcLlon. Across all lndlcaLors, emplrlcal evldence refuLes such a poslLlon. Whlle some ln uganda - and
oLher counLrles LhaL are conslderlng expandlng crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy - may belleve LhaL
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 23

wlLhouL sLrlngenL persecuLlon Lhe rellglous convlcLlons of clLlzens wlll falLer, Lhere ls no evldenLlary
supporL for Lhls. CounLrles LhaL do noL crlmlnallse homosexuallLy score Lhe same or hlgher Lhan uganda
on lndlcaLors such as on wheLher rellglon plays a very lmporLanL role ln Lhelr clLlzens' llves. 1hls suggesLs
LhaL fears LhaL a lack of expanded crlmlnallsaLlon wlll lead Lo an eroslon of rellglous senLlmenL, or a
concomlLanL loss of falLh, are deeply mlsgulded. 1he daLa also demonsLraLe LhaL ln counLrles where anLl-
homosexuallLy laws are sLrongly enforced, as occurs ln Cameroon,
83
raLes of rellglous convlcLlon are no
sLronger or hlgher. ln facL, on a number of lndlcaLors, Cameroon was placed lower Lhan many SLaLes,
whlch currenLly do noL even crlmlnallse homosexuallLy.
lurLher, lf Lhe sLaLemenLs made by rellglous leaders are Laken lnLo accounL, noL only ls Lhere ls no
rellglous requlremenL LhaL sexual mlnorlLles be persecuLed wlLh expanded crlmlnallsaLlon Lhrough Lhe
coerclve power of Lhe sLaLe, buL such persecuLlon ls acLlvely dlscouraged. WhaLever one's rellglous or
moral vlew abouL dlverse sexuallLles, Lhose vlews are separaLe and dlsLlncL from Lhe domaln of crlmlnal
law, whlch should only concern lLself wlLh Lhe proLecLlon of members of socleLy from harm as ln Lhe case
of non-consensual sex, coerclve sex, sex wlLh mlnors, lncesL, sex Lrafflcklng, sexual explolLaLlon of
chlldren and Lhe llke.



83
Puman 8lghLs WaLch, Collty 8y Assoclotloo. nomoo klqbts vlolotloos lo tbe ofotcemeot of cometooos Aotl-
nomosexoollty low (2013). Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.hrw.org/slLes/defaulL/flles/reporLs/cameroon0313_lorupload.pdf [lasL accessed 14 CcLober
2013]
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 26

v. uoes expanded crlmlnallsaLlon help prevenL Lhe spread of
Plv?

A flfLh commonly clLed [usLlflcaLlon for expanded crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy ln uganda, as well as ln
oLher Afrlcan sLaLes, ls LhaL lL wlll help curb Lhe spread of Plv. 1he hysLerla around homosexuallLy and
Plv ln Afrlca ls lllusLraLed by Lhe followlng sLaLemenL by Lhe former resldenL of namlbla ln 1998, when
he sald:

nomosexoollty ls tbe Jeepest level of Jeptovlty...1bete wlll olso be oo eoJ to Jlseose.1be
tbloqs tbey Jo woolJ moltlply tbe tote of tbe spteoJs of Alu5 [slc.].
86


Powever, Lhe assumpLlon LhaL crlmlnallsaLlon or expanded crlmlnallsaLlon wlll help conLrol cerLaln hlgh-
rlsk groups and Lhereby reduce lnfecLlon raLes runs conLrary Lo emplrlcal evldence. As Lhe evldence
below conflrms, lL ls dlscrlmlnaLory laws crlmlnallslng homosexuallLy LhaL undermlne Plv/AluS
prevenLlon and LreaLmenL, and Lherefore, lL ls crlmlnallsaLlon lLself whlch faclllLaLes Lhe spread of Plv.
87

CrlmlnallsaLlon and Plv/AluS
ubllc healLh argumenLs ln favour of crlmlnallsaLlon were consldered by Lhe un Puman 8lghLs CommlLLee
('P8C') ln 1oooeo v. Aosttollo. 1he P8C re[ecLed Lhe argumenL LhaL crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy was
necessary on publlc healLh grounds - namely Lo sLop Lhe spread of Plv - sLaLlng such measures ln facL
had Lhe opposlLe effecL Lo LhaL lnLended, lmpedlng publlc healLh programmes by 'drlvlng underground
many of Lhe people aL rlsk of lnfecLlon'.
88
lL ls a poslLlon whlch was echoed ln Lhe 2011 lnLernaLlonal
Culdellnes on Plv/AluS and Puman 8lghLs, [olnLly lssued by Lhe Cfflce of Lhe Plgh Commlssloner for
Puman 8lghLs ('CPCP8') and Lhe unlLed naLlons rogramme on Plv/AluS ('unAluS'). ln lL, Lhey sLaLed
LhaL Lhe LhreaL of crlmlnal sancLlon can deLer lndlvlduals from seeklng Plv servlces as people 'wlll noL
seek [Plv servlces] lf Lhls would mean faclng dlscrlmlnaLlon, lack of confldenLlallLy or oLher negaLlve
consequences'.
89

ln 2012, Lhe Clobal Commlsslon on Plv and Lhe Law polnLed ouL Lhe lnLernaLlonal consensus LhaL non-
crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy 'ls an essenLlal componenL of a comprehenslve publlc healLh response
Lo Lhe elevaLed rlsk of Plv acqulslLlon and Lransmlsslon among men who have sex wlLh men'.
90
lL also
found LhaL men who have sex wlLh men ('MSM') are aL nlneLeen Llmes greaLer rlsk of Plv lnfecLlon Lhan
oLher men. CrlmlnallsaLlon was found Lo have boLh caused and boosLed LhaL flgure. lor example,
unAluS reporLs LhaL ln Carlbbean counLrles where homosexuallLy ls crlmlnallsed, almosL one ln four MSM
ls lnfecLed wlLh Plv. ln Lhe absence of such crlmlnal sancLlons, Lhe prevalence among MSM ls only one ln

86
lormer resldenL lrederlck Chlluba of Zambla, quoLed ln 1lmes of 2omblo, CcLober 19 1998, ln 8eddy, v.,
'Pomophobla, human rlghLs and gay and lesblan equallLy ln Afrlca', AqeoJo. mpowetloq womeo fot CeoJet
polty, vol. 16, no. 30 (2001), p. 84
87
unAluS/unu AcLlon lramework, unlversal Access for Men who have Sex wlLh Men and 1ransgender
eople (2009), p. 3.
88
1oooeo v. Aosttollo, CommunlcaLlon no. 488/1992, u.n. uoc CC8/C/30/u/488/1992 (1994), para. 8(3).
89
Cfflce of Lhe unlLed naLlons Plgh Commlssloner for Puman 8lghLs and Lhe !olnL unlLed naLlons rogramme
on Plv/AluS, lotetootloool ColJelloes oo nlv/Alu5 ooJ nomoo klqbts (2010), p. 78.
90
unlLed naLlons uevelopmenL rogramme, Clobol commlssloo oo nlv ooJ tbe low, kepott klsks, klqbts &
neoltb, 9 !uly 2012, p. 48.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 27

flfLeen.
91
A reporL ln Lhe medlcal [ournal 1be loocet found LhaL dlsparlLles ln Lhe prevalence of Plv
lnfecLlon ln several Afrlcan and Carlbbean counLrles were dlrecLly relaLed Lo Lhe sLaLus of crlmlnallsaLlon:
1be oJJs of nlv lofectloo lo block M5M telotlve to qeoetol popolotloos wete oeotly two tlmes
blqbet lo Aftlcoo ooJ cotlbbeoo cooottles tbot ctlmloollse bomosexool octlvlty tboo fot tbose
llvloq lo cooottles wbete bomosexool bebovloot ls leqol. 1be oJJs of beloq lofecteJ wltb nlv
ote slqolflcootly qteotet lo cotlbbeoo cooottles tbot ctlmloollse bomosexool sex tboo lo tbose
wbete socb bebovloot ls leqol.
92

Accordlng Lo unAluS, 'alLhough sex beLween men ls ofLen assoclaLed wlLh a dlscreLe Plv epldemlc, lL
should also be regarded as llnked Lo Lhe epldemlc ln Lhe general populaLlon'.
93
1hls ls because sex
beLween men occurs across a range of sexual and gender ldenLlLles, and across all socloeconomlc
conLexLs. MSM are ofLen marrled Lo women, parLlcularly where dlscrlmlnaLory laws or soclal sLlgma of
male sexual relaLlons exlsL.
94

1he resulL of crlmlnallsaLlon ls LhaL many people llvlng wlLh Plv are Lerrlfled of geLLlng help as Lhey fear
sLlgmaLlsaLlon and prosecuLlon when seeklng LreaLmenL. 1hus Lhey conLlnue Lo llve wlLh Lhe dlsease ln
prlvaLe and lnfecL oLhers Lhey may come lnLo conLacL wlLh. lor example, emplrlcal research conducLed ln
Senegal ln 2002 found LhaL 88 of MSM also had sex wlLh women, and of Lhose, 20 engaged ln anal sex
wlLh a woman.
93
lor Lhose lnLervlewed, condom usage was low. Asked lf Lhey used condoms durlng
Lhelr lasL sexual encounLer, only 14 of Lhose who engaged ln recepLlve anal sex, 23 of Lhose who
engaged ln peneLraLlve anal sex and 37 of Lhose who engaged ln lnLercourse wlLh women replled LhaL
Lhey had.
96

varlous un experLs have also volced Lhelr concern aL Lhe negaLlve effecLs of crlmlnallsaLlon on Plv
programmes. 1he Speclal 8apporLeur on Lhe rlghL of everyone Lo Lhe en[oymenL of Lhe hlghesL aLLalnable
sLandard of physlcal and menLal healLh, Lhe Speclal 8apporLeur on Lhe slLuaLlon of human rlghLs
defenders, and Lhe lndependenL LxperL on Lhe slLuaLlon of human rlghLs ln 8urundl underscored Lhe
negaLlve healLh lmpacL of crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy ln a communlcaLlon Lo Lhe governmenL of
8urundl ln 2009. ln lL, Lhey sLaLed LhaL Lhe measures ln 8urundl's drafL penal code whlch soughL Lo
crlmlnallse homosexuallLy would have a deLrlmenLal effecL on 8urundl's flghL agalnsL Plv/AluS, as an

91
unAluS, Clobol kepott oo tbe Alu5 plJemlc 2008 (2008). Avallable aL:
hLLp://daLa.unalds.org/pub/Clobal8eporL/2008/[c1311_gr08_execuLlvesummary_en.pdf [lasL accessed 2
uecember 2013].
unAluS, keeploq 5cote ll. A ltoqtess kepott towotJs uolvetsol Access to nlv lteveotloo, 1teotmeot, cote ooJ
5oppott lo tbe cotlbbeoo (2008). Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.unalds.org/en/medla/unalds/conLenLasseLs/daLalmporL/pub/reporL/2008/20081206_keeplngscor
ell_en.pdf [lasL accessed 2 uecember 2013]
92
MllleLL, C. eL al, 'Common rooLs: a conLexLual revlew of Plv epldemlcs ln black men who have sex wlLh men
across Lhe Afrlcan dlaspora', 1be loocet, vol. 380, lssue 9839, pp. 411-423 (28 !uly 2012). lor Lhe full reporL
see:
hLLp://www.humandlgnlLyLrusL.org/uploaded/Llbrary/CLher_8eporLs_and_Analysls/1he_LanceL__Common_ro
oLs__a_conLexLual_revlew_of_Plv_epldemlcs_ln_black_men_who_have_sex_wlLh_men_across_Lhe_Afrlcan_
dlaspora.pdf [lasL accessed 2 uecember 2013]
93
unAluS ollcy brlef, 'Plv and Sex 8eLween Men' (2006). Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.unalds.org/en/medla/unalds/conLenLasseLs/daLalmporL/publlcaLlons/lrc-pub07/[c1269-
pollcybrlef-msm_en.pdf [lasL accessed 19 SepLember 2013]
94
lbld.
93
nlang, C. eL al, Meetloq tbe sexool beoltb oeeJs of meo wbo bove sex wltb meo lo 5eoeqol, Porlzons 8eporL,
new ?ork: opulaLlon Councll (2002), p. 2. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.popcouncll.org/pdfs/horlzons/msmsenegal.pdf [lasL accessed 19 SepLember 2013]
96
lbld.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 28

absence of crlmlnallsaLlon represenLed a 'subsLanLlal measure' ln resLrlcLlng lLs spread.
97
1he mosL recenL
reporL by unAluS ln uecember 2013 relLeraLed Lhe need Lo remove punlLlve laws regardlng key
populaLlons ln Lhe baLLle agalnsL Plv/AluS, wlLh parLlcular reference Lo laws crlmlnallslng same-sex sexual
conducL.
98

romlnenL Afrlcan flgures have also recognlsed LhaL crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy has negaLlve effecLs
on publlc healLh. 8oLswana, a counLry whlch currenLly crlmlnallses homosexuallLy, has one of Lhe hlghesL
raLes of Plv/AluS ln Lhe world, wlLh an esLlmaLed 17 of Lhe populaLlon Plv poslLlve. ln response Lo Lhe
Plv/AluS epldemlc, Lhe former resldenL of 8oLswana, lesLus Mogae, has called for Lhe decrlmlnallsaLlon
of homosexuallLy as a means of flghLlng Lhe spread of lnfecLlon.
99
Archblshop uesmond 1uLu, head of Lhe
uesmond 1uLu Plv loundaLlon, belleves LhaL decrlmlnallslng homosexuallLy ls essenLlal ln lmprovlng
Plv/AluS prevenLlon and LreaLmenL. Pe argues LhaL Lhe homosexual sLlgma LhaL accompanles Plv/AluS
has prevenLed proper global conslderaLlon of how Lhe vlrus can proporLlonaLely affecL boLh heLerosexual
and homosexual lndlvlduals.
100
Slmllarly, aL a recepLlon hosLed by unAluS, Zamblan llrsL Lady, ChrlsLlne
kaseba-SaLa, sald LhaL '[s]llence around lssues of men who have sex wlLh men should be sLopped', before
addlng '[a]nd no one should be dlscrlmlnaLed agalnsL on Lhe basls of Lhelr sexual orlenLaLlon'.
101

1he negaLlve healLh lmpacL of crlmlnallsaLlon was underscored by Lhe unlLed naLlons SecreLary-Ceneral,
8an kl-moon, ln hls 2009 address on World AluS uay, he sald:
et Jlsctlmlootloo oqolost sex wotkets, Jtoq osets ooJ meo wbo bove sex wltb meo ooly foels
tbe eplJemlc ooJ pteveots cost-effectlve lotetveotloos. we most eosote tbot Alu5 tespooses
ote boseJ oo evlJeoce, oot lJeoloqy, ooJ teocb tbose most lo oeeJ ooJ most offecteJ.
102

Plv/AluS and Lhe proposed law
Cne of Lhe underlylng prlnclples of successful Plv programmlng ls non-dlscrlmlnaLory access Lo sexual
healLh servlces. Clven Lhe overwhelmlng medlcal and sclenLlflc evldence whlch demonsLraLes
crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy has severe negaLlve consequences for Plv programmes - and Lherefore
publlc healLh ln general - Lhe expanded crlmlnallsaLlon ln Lhe proposed law can only furLher exacerbaLe
Lhe slLuaLlon ln uganda.



97
Crover, A., kepott of tbe 5peclol koppotteot oo tbe tlqbt of evetyooe to tbe eojoymeot of tbe blqbest
ottolooble stooJotJ of pbyslcol ooJ meotol beoltb, Addendum 1, un uoc: A/P8C/14/20/Add.1, para. 14 [only
avallable ln lrench]
98
uNAlu5 kepott oo tbe Clobol plJemlc 201J (2013), p. 90. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.unalds.org/en/medla/unalds/conLenLasseLs/documenLs/epldemlology/2013/gr2013/unAluS_Clo
bal_8eporL_2013_en.pdf
99
88C news, '8oLswana Plv: Mogae ln call Lo legallse homosexuallLy', 19 CcLober 2011. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-afrlca-13368732 [lasL accessed 19 SepLember 2013]
100
Weber, k., 'uesmond 1uLu Clalms uecrlmlnallzlng PomosexuallLy Can lmprove Plv/AluS 1reaLmenL',
cbtlstloo lost, 23 !uly 2012. Avallable aL: hLLp://www.chrlsLlanposL.com/news/desmond-LuLu-clalms-
decrlmlnallzlng-homosexuallLy-can-lmprove-hlv-alds-LreaLmenL-78633/ [lasL accessed 9 uecember 2013]
101
Lssellnk !., 'llrsL Lady Cf Zambla SLuns 1he ConLlnenL 8y Calllng lor An Lnd 1o Pomophobla', 1be New clvll
klqbts Movemeot, 8 november 2013. Avallable aL: hLLp://LhenewclvllrlghLsmovemenL.com/flrsL-lady-of-
zambla-sLuns-Lhe-conLlnenL-by-calllng-for-an-end-Lo-homophobla/news/2013/11/08/78342#.upM4L3nl!L8
[lasL accessed 23 november 2013]
102
See Message of Lhe SecreLary-Ceneral on World AluS uay, 1 uecember 2009, avallable aL:
hLLp://daLa.unalds.org/pub/ressSLaLemenL/2009/20091201_SC_WAu09_message_en.pdf [lasL accessed 9
uecember 2013]
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 29

vl. Wlll expanded crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy reduce
lnsLances of chlld abuse?

A slxLh commonly clLed reason for supporLlng crlmlnallsaLlon or expanded crlmlnallsaLlon of
homosexuallLy ls LhaL lL ls necessary for Lhe proLecLlon of chlldren. ln order Lo assess properly such a
poslLlon, lL ls necessary Lo explore crlLlcally Lhe lssue of chlld abuse ln uganda wlLhln Lhe conLexL of chlld
abuse ln sub-Saharan Afrlca more broadly.
Chlld abuse ln Lhe sub-Saharan conLexL
A 2013 cross-naLlonal sLudy conducLed ln 10 Afrlcan counLrles - 8oLswana, LesoLho, Malawl,
Mozamblque, namlbla, SouLh Afrlca, Swazlland, 1anzanla, Zambla and Zlmbabwe - analysed Lhe resulLs
of self-admlnlsLered quesLlonnalres dlsLrlbuLed Lo school chlldren beLween Lhe ages of 11 and 16 ln 2003,
and Lhen agaln ln 2007. 1he reporL found LhaL 19.6 of female sLudenLs and 21.1 of male sLudenLs
aged 11-16 years recorded LhaL Lhey had endured forced or coerced sex.
103
1haL number rose Lo 28.8
of females and 23.4 of males ln 16 year olds.
1he research also ldenLlfled lndlvldual, school and communlLy-level rlsk facLors assoclaLed wlLh sexual
abuse of chlldren. ln Lerms of lndlvldual-level rlsk facLors, Lhe research hlghllghLed lnsufflclenL food ln
Lhe household as parLlcularly slgnlflcanL for boLh males and females. 1he lack of awareness of Lhe rlghLs
of chlldren was hlghllghLed as a school-level rlsk facLor. ln Lerms of communlLy-level rlsk facLors, hlgher
proporLlons of adulLs ln favour of LransacLlonal sex and hlgher raLes of lnLlmaLe parLner vlolence were
hlghllghLed as slgnlflcanL.
Worrylngly, comparlson beLween responses ln 2003 and 2007 demonsLraLed LhaL chlld sexual abuse was
noL decreaslng and remalned a slgnlflcanL problem.
1hese flgures lllusLraLe LhaL chlld sex abuse has noLhlng Lo do wlLh sexual orlenLaLlon. !usL as
crlmlnallslng heLerosexual conducL would do noLhlng Lo sLop adulL males sexually abuslng glrls,
crlmlnallslng homosexual conducL wlll noL curb male paedophllla. SexuallLy and paedophllla are
commonly, buL qulLe erroneously, conflaLed whlch merely masks Lhe real problem. 8aLher, lf chlld
proLecLlon ls Lhe focus, as lL should be, Lhen governmenLs should dlrecL resources Lowards poverLy
reducLlon, chlldren's rlghLs, educaLlon, and sLrengLhenlng legal proLecLlons and punlshmenL for non-
consensual sex and sex wlLh mlnors, regardless of gender.
Chlld abuse ln uganda
AlLhough uganda was noL parL of Lhe 2013 cross-naLlonal sLudy, Lhe Lrend for all sub-Saharan Afrlcan
sLaLes sLudled was relaLlvely hlgh levels of chlld-abuse. Accordlng Lo lnformaLlon from varlous un experLs
on uganda, Lhe slLuaLlon ls equally Lroubllng. 1he CommlLLee on Lhe 8lghLs of Lhe Chlld, for example,
noLed LhaL accordlng Lo recenL sLudles 'a conslderable number'
104
of chlldren ln uganda were vlcLlms of
sexual explolLaLlon. lL also expressed lLs deep concern aL 'Lhe very hlgh lncldence of defllemenL of glrls,
consLlLuLlng more Lhan half of Lhe cases of chlld abuse.'
103
1he CommlLLee on Lhe 8lghLs of Lhe Chlld

103
!"#$%&&'"( *+( ,-%$#$&-!"#$%& !(& )*#+,& -( ,. /#& 012,3/#,+4, /+5 2*%6 7/4."2% 7"2 7"24,5 "2 4",24,5 %,8
among school-golng youLh: naLlonal cross-secLlonal sLudles ln 10 souLhern Afrlcan counLrles ln 2003 and 2007',
8MI Opeo 2012 (2013) 2:dol: 10.1136/bm[open-2011-000734
104
Concludlng observaLlons of Lhe CommlLLee on Lhe 8lghLs of Lhe Chlld: uganda, un uoc C8C/C/uCA/CC/2,
23 november 2003, para. 73.
103
lbld.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 30

recommended LhaL uganda Lake leglslaLlve measures and develop 'an effecLlve and comprehenslve
pollcy'
106
Lo address Lhe sexual explolLaLlon of chlldren.
1he ugandan ollce lorce annual crlme reporLs demonsLraLe LhaL defllemenL - sex wlLh underage glrls -
ls an endemlc and serlous problem ln uganda. 1he 2011 reporL, Lhe mosL recenL annual reporL avallable,
llsLs defllemenL as Lhe second mosL common reglsLered crlme ln uganda, wlLh 7690 lncldenLs reporLed
LhaL year. 1hls represenLs a 2 lncrease on Lhe 2010 sLaLlsLlcs, ln whlch 7364 lncldenLs of defllemenL
were reporLed.
107
1he same crlme reporL documenLs 347 lnvesLlgaLed cases of lndecenL assaulL, up on
Lhe 2010 sLaLlsLlcs, whlch documenLed 247 lnvesLlgaLed cases. AlLhough secLlon 128 of Lhe leool coJe
Act deflnes lndecenL assaulL as when an lndlvldual 'unlawfully and lndecenLly assaulLs any woman or glrl',
secLlon 147 ouLllnes a felony of 'unlawfully and lndecenLly [assaulLlng] a boy under Lhe age of elghLeen
years'. 1he pollce sLaLlsLlcs on lndecenL assaulL are noL dlsaggregaLed by gender, Lherefore lL ls unclear
whaL proporLlon of Lhe lndecenL assaulLs was reporLedly commlLLed agalnsL boys, raLher Lhan women
and glrls, buL research carrled ouL on a reglonal basls ln uganda lndlcaLes LhaL Lhe vasL ma[orlLy of sexual
abuse Lakes place beLween adulL males and under-age glrls.
108

uganda musL recognlse LhaL sexual abuse of boLh boys and glrls occurs and needs Lo be addressed
Lhrough proper, equallsed leglslaLlve provlslons. 1he gendered naLure of Lhe proLecLlons conLalned
wlLhln Lhe leool coJe Act has led Lhe un CommlLLee on Lhe 8lghLs of Lhe Chlld Lo sLaLe LhaL 'Lhe law on
sexual abuse ls blased agalnsL Lhe boy chlld'
109
, and Lhe hlgh lncldence raLe of defllemenL of glrls lndlcaLes
LhaL currenL provlslons for glrls are noL worklng.
Chlld abuse and Lhe proposed law
lf Lhe reason for promoLlng Lhe proposed law - and Lherefore expanded crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy
beLween consenLlng adulLs - ls Lhe proLecLlon of chlldren from sexual abuse, Lhen lL ls clear lL wlll noL
achleve lLs alm. 8esearch lndlcaLes LhaL one of Lhe ma[or causes of chlld sexual abuse ls poverLy, and yeL
Lhls ls ln no way addressed by Lhe proposed leglslaLlon.
110

1haL adulL sexual relaLlons wlLh mlnors, who are by deflnlLlon under Lhe age of consenL, should be
crlmlnallsed ls beyond quesLlon. ?eL currenL legal provlslons are blased agalnsL Lhe boy-chlld, and
dlsLlngulsh penal sancLlons beLween vlcLlms based on Lhelr gender. Lven wlLh Lhe legal safeguards ln
place Lo proLecL Lhe glrl-chlld from sexual abuse, lL remalns Lhe second mosL common crlme ln uganda.
1hls ls why promlnenL opponenLs Lo Lhe proposed law from wlLhln uganda, such as rofessor Sylvla
1amale, agree ln prlnclple wlLh lLs concerns - Lhe proLecLlon of young and vulnerable ugandans from
sexual explolLaLlon and abuse. Where she dlffers ls LhaL her concern exLends Lo all slLuaLlons of abuse,
wheLher Lhe abuse ls opposlLe-sex or same-sex ln naLure, and her recognlLlon LhaL crlmlnallslng adulL,
consensual same-sex lnLlmacy does noLhlng Lo address Lhese concerns.
111



106
lbld., para. 76.
107
uganda ollce lorce, Aooool ctlme kepott 2011 (2011), p. 14. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.upf.go.ug/aLLachmenLs/arLlcle/3/Annual_Crlme_8eporL_2011a.pdf [lasL accessed 23 november
2013].
108
1. Cpobo and A Wandega, cbllJ 5exool Abose lo Ilojo ulsttlct, osteto uqooJo, reporL prepared for Lhe !ln[a
neLwork for Lhe Marglnallsed Chlld and ?ouLh, 2011. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.Lerredeshommesnl.org/download/69 , cbllJ 5exool Abose ltevoleoce lo uqooJo, reporL for Chlld
roLecLlon ln Crlsls, 2012. Avallable aL: PLLp://www.cpcneLwork.org/admln/lncludes/doc_vlew.php?lu=868 .
109
Concludlng observaLlons of Lhe CommlLLee on Lhe 8lghLs of Lhe Chlld: uganda, 23 november 2003, un uoc
C8C/C/uCA/CC/2, para. 73.
110
1he uganda naLlonal lan of AcLlon on Chlld Sexual Abuse and LxplolLaLlon (2008-2012), LCA1-uganda,
2008. Avallable aL: hLLp://www.unlcef.org/uganda/naLlonal_lan_of_AcLlon_on_CSLC.pdf
111
1amale (2009 aL n. 21,), above n 21, p. 31. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.equalrlghLsLrusL.org/erLdocumenLbank/Sylvla.pdf [lasL accessed 23 SepLember 2013].
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 31

vll. Are homosexual persons asklng for prlvlleges/rlghLs LhaL
oLher clLlzens do noL have?

AfLer a LurbulenL hlsLory characLerlsed by pollLlcal lnsLablllLy, uganda promulgaLed Lhe 1993 ConsLlLuLlon,
whlch ls bullL on Lhe prlnclples of Lolerance, good governance, and respecL for Lhe rule of law. 1he
ConsLlLuLlon also has provlslons for Lhe respecL and promoLlon of Lhe rlghLs of all human belngs. 1hese
guaranLees are avallable Lo all persons lrrespecLlve of Lhelr sexual orlenLaLlon. ArLlcle 21 of Lhe
ConsLlLuLlon speclflcally guaranLees equallLy and freedom from dlscrlmlnaLlon.
112
1hls Lherefore means
LhaL Lhere ls already proLecLlon from dlscrlmlnaLlon by Lhe ConsLlLuLlon. 1he declslon noL Lo expand and,
lndeed, Lo end crlmlnallsaLlon wlll only malnLaln Lhls guaranLee and wlll noL lead Lo a demand for any
oLher prlvlleges by homosexuals. Pomosexuals, as wlLh all clLlzens of uganda, are enLlLled Lo Lhe full
proLecLlon of Lhe ConsLlLuLlon, noLhlng more and noLhlng less.
Llke all oLher clLlzens of uganda, homosexuals conLrlbuLe Lo Lhe soclo-economlc growLh of Lhe counLry.
ulscrlmlnaLlon Lhrough expanded crlmlnallsaLlon only resLrlcLs Lhelr poLenLlal and lnhlblLs Lhelr ablllLy Lo
conLrlbuLe poslLlvely Lo Lhe growLh of Lhe economy and Lhe counLry aL large.

112
ArLlcle 21 of Lhe 1993 ConsLlLuLlon
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 32

Concluslon

1hls documenL has Laken seven commonly clLed [usLlflcaLlons for malnLalnlng or sLrengLhenlng Lhe
crlmlnallsaLlon of homosexuallLy and sub[ecLed Lhem Lo scruLlny Lhrough hlsLorlcal and anLhropologlcal
evldence across Afrlca and soclal daLa from Afrlcan SLaLes, whlch do noL crlmlnallse homosexuallLy. ln
each lnsLance, Lhe proposed raLlonale for expanded crlmlnallsaLlon has been shown Lo be unsupporLed
by Lhe daLa - wheLher lL be clalms LhaL homosexuallLy ls lnLrlnslcally un-Afrlcan, LhaL homosexuallLy ls
muLable and a menLal dlsorder, LhaL Lhe LradlLlonal Afrlcan famlly unlL ls undermlned wlLhouL expanded
crlmlnallsaLlon, LhaL wlLhouL expanded crlmlnallsaLlon Lhere wlll be abandonmenL of rellglon, LhaL Lhe
spread of Plv requlres expanded crlmlnallsaLlon, LhaL homosexuallLy ls synonymous wlLh chlld abuse or
LhaL gay and lesblan persons are asklng for speclal prlvlleges or rlghLs noL en[oyed by oLher ugandans.
1he proposed law wlll address none of Lhese lssues, elLher because Lhere ls no lssue Lo address or
because lL slmply LargeLs Lhe wrong people. 8epresenLaLlves of member sLaLes of Lhe unlLed naLlons aL
uganda's mosL recenL unlversal erlodlc 8evlew before Lhe Cfflce of Lhe Plgh Commlssloner for Puman
8lghLs ln 2011, from AusLralla Lo ArgenLlna, conslsLenLly requesLed of Lhe ugandan governmenL LhaL Lhe
proposed law be shelved and currenL provlslons crlmlnallslng homosexuallLy be repealed on Lhe grounds
LhaL Lhey wlll vlolaLe human rlghLs and have a negaLlve lmpacL on lssues such as Plv prevenLlon and
access Lo healLhcare. As Lhls reporL has shown Lhere ls no [usLlflcaLlon for Lhe expanslon of crlmlnal
sancLlons agalnsL a small group of already marglnallsed people. uganda's own Puman 8lghLs Commlsslon,
ln lLs Annual 8eporL of 2009, lndlcaLed LhaL Lhe proposed law would vlolaLe uganda's lnLernaLlonal
human rlghLs LreaLy obllgaLlons and fall Lo address lssues such as Plv prevenLlon and coerclve or forced
sexual relaLlons.
113

WlLh Lhese aspecLs ln mlnd, Lhe followlng secLlon wlll conslder alLernaLlves Lo Lhe proposed law whlch
wlll help address lssues such as chlld abuse and dlscrlmlnaLory access Lo healLh care.



113
uganda Puman 8lghLs Commlsslon, 12
Lh
Annual 8eporL 2009. Avallable aL:
hLLp://www.rwl.lu.se/nP8lu8/Afrlca/uganda/200920Annual208eporL.pdf [lasL accessed 19 uecember
2013].
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 33

AlLernaLlves Lo Lhe proposed law

ln order Lo address Lhe leglLlmaLe and lmporLanL concerns regardlng sexual abuse, chlld proLecLlon and
healLhcare - concerns whlch are noL addressed by any of Lhe measures conLalned ln Lhe proposed law -
Lhe followlng alLernaLlves are recommended:
1. Amend sexual offences laws Lo make Lhem gender neuLral, all
vlcLlms of rape and sexual assaulL are proLecLed equally
1he currenL deflnlLlon of rape ln Lhe leool coJe Act 1950 of uganda falls Lo ensure proLecLlon for male
vlcLlms. Whlle secLlon 147 deals wlLh 'lndecenL assaulL' commlLLed agalnsL boys under Lhe age of 18, Lhe
gendered deflnlLlon of rape excludes male vlcLlms from Lhe proLecLlon of Lhe law. Lquallslng sexual
offence laws, by maklng provlslons gender neuLral and equallslng Lhe senLences for Lhe crlmes, would
help address Lhe CommlLLee on Lhe 8lghLs of Lhe Chlld's concern LhaL currenL laws are 'blased agalnsL Lhe
boy-chlld',
114
and would ensure all vlcLlms of sexual offences were proLecLed equally.
113

2. A sysLem of mandaLed reporLlng of all forms of suspecLed chlld
abuse should be lmplemenLed
1argeLlng homosexuals, as provlded for ln Lhe proposed law, wlll noL proLecL chlldren from sexual abuse.
A sLronger and more effecLlve use of llmlLed governmenL resources would be Lhe mandaLed reporLlng of
all forms of suspecLed chlld abuse, especlally glven Lhe cenLrallLy of Lhe lssue of chlld proLecLlon ln
currenL debaLes surroundlng Lhe proposed law. Such a provlslon would also comply wlLh Lhe ConsLlLuLlon
and Lhe obllgaLlon Lo proLecL vlcLlms, unllke Lhe LargeLlng of consensual same-sex conducL beLween
adulLs ln prlvaLe.
3. Address rlsk facLors assoclaLed wlLh all forms of chlld explolLaLlon
and abuse
lf uganda ls serlous abouL reduclng chlld abuse Lhen lL wlll need Lo confronL Lhe reallLy LhaL lL ls prlmarlly
drlven by poverLy, noL by Lhe sexual orlenLaLlon of perpeLraLors. All chlldren are parLlcularly vulnerable
Lo sexual explolLaLlon when Lhelr famllles experlence poverLy. 8educlng poverLy overall wlll neuLrallse
many of Lhe aforemenLloned rlsk facLors assoclaLed wlLh all forms of forced or coerced sex wlLh chlldren.
4. revenL dlscrlmlnaLory access Lo healLh servlces

114
Concludlng observaLlons of Lhe CommlLLee on Lhe 8lghLs of Lhe Chlld: uganda, 23 november 2003, un uoc
C8C/C/uCA/CC/2, para. 73.
113
1he currenL maxlmum senLence for rape, as deflned ln Lhe leool coJe Act, ls deaLh. ArLlcle 6(2) of Lhe
lCC8 sLaLes LhaL Lhe 'senLence of deaLh may be lmposed only for Lhe mosL serlous crlmes', deflned by Lhe
Puman 8lghLs CommlLLee as crlmes LhaL resulL ln Lhe loss of llfe. 1he Puman 8lghLs Councll's Speclal
8apporLeur on LxLra[udlclal, Summary, or ArblLrary LxecuLlons furLher clarlfled Lhe lnLerpreLaLlon of 'mosL
serlous crlmes', sLaLlng: 'Lhe deaLh penalLy can only be lmposed ln cases where lL can be shown LhaL Lhere was
an lnLenLlon Lo klll whlch resulLed ln Lhe loss of llfe': 8eporL of Lhe Speclal 8apporLeur on LxLra[udlclal,
Summary or ArblLrary LxecuLlons, un uoc. A/P8C/4/20, 29 !anuary 2007, para. 39-33 and 63. lL ls Lherefore
recommended LhaL, ln equallzlng sexual offence laws, uganda ensures senLences are compllanL wlLh
lnLernaLlonal law.
SMuC !anuary 2014

age | 34

1he expanded crlmlnallsaLlon provlded by Lhe proposed law ls llkely Lo have Lhe unlnLended and serlous
consequence of exacerbaLlng Plv lncldence ln uganda, by drlvlng hlgh-rlsk groups furLher underground.
8esources should be dlrecLed Loward lmplemenLaLlon of Lhe Plv revenLlon and ConLrol 8lll 2010, raLher
Lhan lmplemenLaLlon of Lhe proposed law.