In Uganda, 67 people were arrested at a queer-friendly bar on Tuesday, November 12 as the latest attack on LGBTQ people in the country. The individuals arrested were charged with “common nuisance” according to the Associated Press.
This police-involved attack on the queer community in Uganda is just the most recent in a series of targeted backlash on queer folks in the homophobic African country.
Only a couple weeks ago, it was reported by the Washington Post on October 26 that 16 LGBTQ activists were arrested by police at a sexual health organization where they worked. While the activists handed out condoms, lubricants, and anti-HIV medicines, they were charged with the crime of “gay sex,” which is an offense which is punishable by life imprisonment.
Ugandan police have subjected some of those arrested into forced anal exams which can be considered a form of torture under international law. Educators who teach on topics of tolerance of queer folks and diversity have reported being harassed, beaten, and even gang-raped by those in their own communities.
Laws in the East African country of Uganda currently ban “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” Attempts for stricter laws in 2014 were eliminated due to international pressure, thwarting lawmakers’ attempted to pass a “kill the Gays” bill which would have made homosexuality a capital offense.
The Washington Post reported that these arrests are connected to a civil uprising and general unrest in Uganda. Police and military are taking harsher action more frequently in order to “crack down” on the discontent, their source stated.
Using LGBTQ people and sexual liberation activists as pawns in their greater political schemes, the Ugandan leaders and lawmakers are implementing scare tactics to the majorities by silencing the minorities. Through the existing taboo and stigmatization of queer folks, these countries will continue targeting our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in order to keep the homophobic leadership in power.