Uganda: homosexuality, porn, and paradoxes

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has refused to sign into effect the internationally controversial anti-gay bill that sends repeat offenders to a lifetime in jail.

Parliament had adopted the bill on December 20, 2013, which was first proposed in 2009 and had at one point included the death penalty for repeat offenders.

Ugandan politicians, lawmakers and religious leaders, including an overwhelming number of the general public hailed the law as a victory against “evil.”

However, according to Museveni, there are better ways to help “rescue” people from homosexuality, an “abnormality” which cannot be labeled “an alternative sexuality,” except in the West of course because “on account of random breeding, (they) have generated many abnormal people.”

Tentatively, I suppose gay Ugandans can consider the President’s choice as a positive move for the LGBT community. However, the word “tentative” is significant considering the logic behind Museveni’s decision.

He believes that imprisonment for repeat offenders would only send the gays underground where they would “continue practicing homosexuality or lesbianism for mercenary reasons.” Well, I guess he’s right that people would be forced “underground” with their sexuality. That’s true.

In the letter to Ugandan MPs, Museveni also insinuated that men are gay for money whereas women are lesbians as a result of “sexual starvation.”

When absolving the President of his logic, his decision to tackle homosexuality differently is in no way a bad thing. He has already rejected the idea that the way to tackle the “abnormality” is through imprisonment, which will hopefully begin to resonate with political leaders and the general public, all in time.

Just like the decriminalization of homosexuality in America, where it went on to be considered a mental illness, before finally becoming accepted as what it is (just about), the President’s decision is a stepping stone on a long haul bridge to acceptance. As long as that haul may be, it remains a significant stepping-stone nonetheless.

And, just in time for the President’s decision, it has come to light that ironically, despite all the hatred and violence against the gay community, Uganda sits as the third country on Google’s list of top consumers of gay pornography. Uganda cuts close behind Pakistan and Kenya, two other violently homophobic countries. Most specifically, the phrase “man fucking man” has been the highlighted typed phrase in Google search.

When the Huffington Post interviewed the Director of acclaimed documentary “God Loves Uganda,” Roger Ross Williams told them that Ugandan pastors are showing gay pornography in church to get audiences worked up about homosexuality.

Well, that’s one very interesting and somewhat disturbing use of gay porn.

Another reason it is so prominent on the list is due to Uganda’s extremely repressed ideas about sex. Culturally, sex is never talked about or addressed, making it a subject of “guilty” curiosity. Because of this sexual repression, “throwing homosexuality into the conversation” with this bill and the subsequent international outcry has led to intrigue, thereby leading people to want to see exactly what it is they hate so adamantly.

Williams explained, due to the financial and religious influence of American-style evangelical Christianity in Uganda, people’s ideas of homosexuality are based on a social “ideology of biblical law.” They crave an understanding of the physical act of homosexuality. Thus, apparently, they view some heavy-laden gay porn to get the ball rolling.

As Williams said, “people are curious.”

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