January 28, 2010
Dear Black AIDS Institute Supporter,
The Ugandan Parliament recently proposed an extremely dangerous piece of legislation. It completely violates any standard of human rights and undermines efforts to confront HIV/AIDS in that country. The bill would not only criminalize being gay -- exposing consenting adults who may act upon their same-sex attraction to arrest and even death -- it would also, in effect, criminalize knowing someone who's gay, requiring that nation's citizens to report homosexual activity or face imprisonment themselves. Can you imagine a mother being compelled to betray her child or face going to prison?
Here's what led to this urgent situation: last March, three American right-wing extremists, posing as "experts" on homosexuality, led a conference in Uganda where they claimed that gay men prey upon teenagers, that there is a gay agenda to destroy families, and that gay people can and should be changed to straight.
Then, in October, Uganda's legislature introduced a bill making homosexual acts punishable by death and failure to report them punishable by jail time-including doctors, other healthcare providers and clergy. This new proposed legislation could have disastrous effects on the already rapidly growing trajectory of HIV/AIDS in Uganda.
President Obama has already denounced the law in a written statement. But given the incredible danger this legislation poses, we must urge him to do more. Organizations like UNAIDs are working on this but we all need to call and speak to our member of congress, senators; and the state department directly. Our leaders need to know that we expect our foreign policies to reflect our commitment to civil rights and human rights.
The speaker of the Uganda Parliament, Edward Ssekandi, leading the efforts to pass the legislation recently asserted that all Black people share his bigotry. "As black people, the way we understand this issue (of homosexuality) is not the same way the whites understand," he told journalists. As Black people and as people of good will, it is important that we reject any attempt to paint us as homophobes or bigots.
Uganda's Parliament is about to return to session, we need your help to launch a nationwide call to get Congress involved. Write Congress today and urge them to stop Uganda from passing a mass death sentence for its LGBT citizens.
Thank you for standing up for our brothers and sisters in Uganda at this critical moment.
Yours in the Struggle,