Transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse (TNBGD) Ugandans, similar to other African countries, face harsh and violent experiences daily in a country that does not value the lives of LGBTQIA+ people. The new anti-LGBTQIA+ law, titled the Anti-Homosexuality Law, 2023 and signed into effect on 29 May 2023 by President Yoweri Museveni, will aggravate and amplify this violence.
This new law criminalises homosexuality, a decision that has sparked outrage from human rights groups around the world. Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Tigere Chagutah, writes that “this deeply repressive legislation will institutionalise discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people.” Chagutah urges that Uganda should instead be “enacting laws and policies that align with the principles of equality and non-discrimination enshrined not only in Uganda’s Constitution, but also the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
The anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation, which was first introduced on 9 March 2023, was voted on by the Ugandan parliament on 21 March 2023 and passed with an overwhelming majority supporting the law. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed it into law on 29 May 2023. The new law, while not criminalising Ugandans for identifying as LGBTQIA+, does criminalise “engaging in acts of homosexuality” with a punishment of life imprisonment. Further, the law also “stipulates a 20-year sentence for ‘promoting’ homosexuality” – it is not yet clear how this may be interpreted and used to target LGBTQIA+ Ugandans. It may also infer those who support and show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community.
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