Even though the Bahati Bill has seemed to have gone dormant, the debate is still going about homosexuality in Uganda. Here is something I recently wrote for an online forum. Somewhat surprisingly, the forum has some strong, Ugandan voices in favor of gay rights, very encouraging. These are the main arguments that people in Uganda make against homosexuality:
1. It’s “unnatural”
As humans, we do many things that one could argue to be unnatural, yet we seem to be so hung up on this one. What about circumcision, birth by caesarian section, tattoos, piercings? What about flying? That’s pretty unnatural for humans.
So many people are so uneducated about the whole subject that they assume that homosexual sex is anal sex. It is a fact that there are many heterosexuals who enjoy anal sex and also that there are many homosexuals who don’t actually participate in anal sex.
As a human race there are far too many things that we do that would be deemed “unnatural” if we cared to think about it that this point
b. Doesn’t lead to procreation
Estimates are that between 5 and 10% of the global population is gay. Fear that because these people aren’t procreating in the standard way, we will die out as a species is just plain silly. Not only are there billions of heterosexuals procreating in the standard way to more than make up the difference but there are options like surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, sperm/egg donations and adoption so that people who could otherwise not procreate in the standard way can actually have children.
The idea that these people are should not have rights because they are not able to reproduce the standard way is also illogical, by this argument, people who don’t/can’t procreate should lose their rights. This includes nuns, priests, people who choose not to have children people who are biologically unable to have children, some people with spinal injuries, some people who have had cancer, the list goes on. We’re not talking about taking their rights away.
Another idea, how many people actually have the aim of procreation every time they have sex? I’m not sure about this but my guess is very few. Sex is not just a means to an end.
2. It’s un-African, imported by foreigners, not meant to be here
There are words in local languages all over the world for “homosexual” and sometimes there are words for the act of homosexual sex. Taking a look at linguistics, things that were brought by outsiders, often carry the foreign name or at least a name that is influenced by the foreign word, i.e. motoka = car in Luganda, abion = airplane in Wolof (avion is airplane in French). Stories about homosexuality go back to pre-colonial times. It was not imported.
3. Many of the world’s religions condemn it, it’s evil, it’s a sin
To me this argument is moot on the basis that your religion, no matter how popular or how many people adhere to it, cannot and should not govern my life. People in this country have freedom of religion. That freedom is severely diminished when laws are made based on one religion over another. If the laws were to be based on Islam or Judaism, pork would be outlawed for everyone. If laws were based on Christianity, no establishments would be allowed to be open on Sundays. And remember, freedom of religion also means that I have the freedom to chose no religion at all if that suits me.
4. It is taboo in many of the world’s cultures
There are far too many things to mention that were once considered taboo in many of the world’s cultures. How about mixed race marriage? That was once considered taboo in many, many places, still is in many. Many of the world’s cultures also considered people with darker skin to be somehow lesser than those with lighter skin – how do we feel about that one now? As the world progresses, values and ideas change. We evolve.
5. They are “recruiting” children to be gay
If this is true, which I doubt it is, these people are pedophiles no matter if they are gay or straight. Pedophilia is a problem because it involves a person who is not old enough to give their consent. Homosexuality is NOT equivalent to pedophilia. Homosexuality is a relationship between consenting adults and pedophilia is an adult taking advantage of a child, something that should be condemned no matter the genders of the adult and child.
6. It is in the same group with incest, bestiality and pedophilia.
As described above, homosexuality implies consenting adults, this is not the case with pedophilia or bestiality. Incest is usually not consensual for both parties but if it is, it can lead to severe genetic problems in offspring and is therefore illegal on the basis that it causes pretty major health issues for the population and future generations.
7. People choose to be this way
If homosexuality was a choice, why on earth would anyone in Uganda choose to be gay? This would mean opting into a life where you would be very likely to be shunned by family and loved ones and put yourself in danger any time you told someone about your true feelings. Why would anyone opt into this life it all they had to do was choose to be something else? Did you choose to be heterosexual? Is anyone able to choose their emotions or feelings? Is anyone able to choose who they fall in love with? I’m guessing the answer to all of these is “no.”
Thanks for reading!