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    “Christmas Gift” to the Ugandans



    Not long ago, less than a year, was when the anti-homosexuality bill was opposed in Uganda and withdrawn by the Parliament discourse. Uganda is now reconsidering the bill as a “Christmas gift” to the Ugandans!! Rebecca Kadaga, Ugandan Parliament speaker, is convinced that the whole nation wants that Bill to pass and become effective by the end of 2012, which is a month away.

    “Ugandans want that law as a Christmas gift. They have asked for it and we’ll give them that gift,” quoted as said by Ms Kadaga.

    Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but with this Bill, homosexual acts are now banned!! Severe penalties will apply to the “criminals”, or in other words people who are homosexual, including life sentences for gay men!!!

    Additionally, death penalty will be applied for people found guilty for “AGGRAVATED HOMOSEXUALITY”!!!!! Who even knows what that means!!! “Aggravated homosexuality”!! Is it an epidemic now?? So that heterosexuality is the cure? Within the Bill, they define the term as when one is a minor, HIV positive, or disabled.

    It is very hard for me as an individual with personal and professional beliefs values, who absolutely supports human rights and the well being of the systems, to verbalize or put in a paper or a blog my exact thoughts, and do it delicately!

    I recently met with a previous colleague of mine, whose youngest brother is gay and lives in Uganda currently. My colleague’s concerns about the situation were over the ceiling. One could tell how upset he was, because his brother has been born HIV positive, and is still a minor right now. Quoting him, “I cannot stand the idea that something might happen to M….”. I can only imagine the stress this former colleague might be feeling at the moment and the emotional wreck he feels like.

    If there is even one social worker, who acknowledges and respects the values and principles of the profession and science, and who does not understand the unfairness of the policy making right now in Uganda, then this is the wrong profession for that person. I have personally lived in Uganda, in 2007, for a short time, and have a few friends there, some of them gay. I am devastated every time I talk to them and they tell me all those upsetting stories about how they are bullied by the government because of their sexual orientation.

    Homosexuality is not an identity that opposes other identities a nation has, or does not conflict with cultural values. It is only a bid of “normality” among other bids!

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    Dr. Panagiotis Pentaris is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Integrated Care. He is a Social Worker with particular specialty in Thanatology. LGBTQ issues, due to his personal sexual orientation as well, have become a critical focus for him since more than seven years ago. Follow: