A Uganda gay teen has committed suicide over the homophobic law, it was reported today (7 April).
The young man, who we will call Denis, overdosed on pills and swallowed rat poison around a month ago.
For the past few weeks, he showed little signs of recovery as he slipped in and out of consciousness. He also lost his ability to speak.
Last Thursday (3 April), Denis was pronounced dead. He was just 17 years old.
Pepe Julian Onziema, a Uganda LGBTI activist, paid tribute to Denis saying he was ‘gone too soon’.
He told GSN Denis was the son of Muslim parents who consider homosexuals to be ‘proof of sin itself’ and ‘not people’.
‘This is the psychological effect of the anti-gay law,’ Onziema said. ‘It is affecting young people the most.’
The Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was made law in February, punishes homosexuality with up to life in prison. Promoting gay rights and refusing to report gay people to the police is also illegal.
Gay rights activists have said they have heard of at least 17 LGBTI people who have attempted to kill themselves over the law. It is unknown how many succeeded in their attempt.
Onziema called on Ugandan LGBTIs to keep safe and to seek help wherever they can, such as on social media.
‘It makes me sad that my community is unsafe. It’s intentionally put at risk,’ he said.
‘It’s like standing by the roadside and being pushed in front of a speeding car. That is what the president has done to us.’