Gay Ugandans are being promised a gift this Christmas, and it is definitely worse than coal.
Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Ugandan parliament, has promised once again to wrap up a legislation so horrific that it’ll give the population of what is essentially a license to persecute, discriminate, torture, engage in mob violence and worse of all kill LGBTIs with impunity.
With the Anti-Homosexuality Act dead, lawmakers are hoping to pass the Prohibition of Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill before the end of this year.
No government in Ugandan history has ever politicized, criminalized, stigmatized, persecuted, and scapegoated LGBTIs like the current government.
In my country, Christmas and the holidays are supposed to be something every single individual – young or old, religious or atheist, looks forward to celebrating.
As a child growing up in Uganda, I always looked forward to the presents.
But while other people are waiting to unwrap their gifts from their loved ones, the LGBTI community is busy thinking of strategies on how to live in hiding and stay safe.
While many may not be recieving any presents at all, it is a horrible feeling to be expecting something that is guaranteed to make your life worse.
This year, many LGBTIs in Uganda are going to be hoping that Christmas gets cancelled this year as each day is bringing more misery and fear.
While we are trying desperately to stop the re-tabling of the anti-gay bill, there are clear indications from lawmakers this bill will be a reality.
But we are still optimistic we can stop it. After all, what is the festive period but a celebration at a time when the world’s nights are (traditionally) longer? Of when you gather together with friends and family and remember that we are halfway out of the dark?
Please bring the light to the LGBTI community of Uganda this Christmas by sending cards, seasonal greetings, festival cards, love letters, messages of hope, solidarity and other presents. You can send them to Sexual Minorities Uganda through P.O Box 70208 Clock Tower, Kampala, Uganda.
Let us reclaim the true meaning of Christmas. We call upon the international LGBTI community and the human rights fraternity to give their time to charity during this period, offer their presents and gifts to an organisation that can send them to those in need.
A simple message may seem small, but to the people living in one of the worst countries in the world to be LGBTI? It is a beam of hope.