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It Will Soon Be a Crime to Identify As LGBTQ in Uganda

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Uganda’s parliament passed a law making it a crime to identify as LGBTQ, making it a country with one of the most restrictive anti-gay laws in the world. On Tuesday night, lawmakers voted in favor of the anti-homosexuality bill, with only two of the nearly 400 representatives voting against it.

The bill not only criminalizes identifying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but it also outlaws same-sex intercourse, promoting and abetting homosexuality and conspiracy to engage in homosexuality. Friends, family and community members would also be required to report individuals in same-sex relationships to the authorities.

“Congratulations,” said Speaker Anita Among. “Whatever we are doing, we are doing it for the people of Uganda.”

Ahead of the vote, Asuman Basalirwa, an opposition MP, remarked that homosexuality has become a “cancer.”

“In this country, or in this world, we talk about human rights. But it is also true that there are human wrongs. I want to submit … that homosexuality is a human wrong that offends the laws of Uganda and threatens the sanctity of the family, the safety of our children and the continuation of humanity through reproduction,” he said, to applause from his fellow legislators.

Ugandans who violate the new laws will face up to life in prison or even the death penalty.

Amnesty International condemned the “appalling,” “ambiguous,” and “vaguely worded,” bill.

“This deeply repressive legislation will institutionalize discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people – including those who are perceived to be LGBTI – and block the legitimate work of civil society, public health professionals, and community leaders,” Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s director for East and Southern Africa, told BBC. The bill has also been condemned by both the UK’s Africa Minister Andrew Mitchell and the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is expected to sign it into law.

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