A PanAfricanist Queer Womanist Collective
A little while ago on the 1st of August (whilst HOLAA was in Entebbe attending an African Women’s Writers workshop hosted by FEMRITE and AWDF, full of beautiful women, coincidence? we think not) the Anti Homosexuality Bill was overturned. It has been declared null and void and people are waiting with bated breath to see what happens next.
Will people let sleeping dogs lie or try and beat the dead horse one more time?
Where has it gone you ask? In legalese it was ruled that the speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the ilBl despite three protestations that not enough MPs were present. Basically they did things in a really dicey manner and that is not cool when you rule a lot of people.
Being dicey in your own home is bad enough, but in the house of the nation is worse.
Even the Pan African bodies are done with the law in general. You know its bad when your continental family are like ‘this is getting foolish now dude.’
Celebrate good times!
You just need to look on Facebook to see how hard some people had been working to get this Bill thrown out.Activists and scholars have been campaigning on a monumental scale to get this monster slain. This amazing milestone was then followed by a Pride Event that went off without any trouble. It was held at the Botanical Gardens, rather than having a traditional ‘march’ in order to give people a sense of security while they were celebrating.
The theme this year was ‘Taking Care of Each Other’ a theme that every Pride should take once in a while, no? Apparently even some of our Kenyan and Rwandan neighbours attended and if you wanted hand crafted rainbow souvenirs, they were there.
This is a huge milestone for the country and continent in general because it shows that the Rule of Law (fancy talk for doing what the rules tell you and not what you want) continues.
But what does it mean for people on the ground?
The problem with this change coming from a legal technicality is that people are still homophobes or as Morgan Freeman says:
But now the Bill is gone are people being better…?
Of course striking it down in law has not struck it from people’s minds. When the Bill first came about people were slightly scared but by the time it became law a lot left the country. The situation on the ground went from bad to worse and clearly a mind set begun to take over with people in the country.
It was open season for gay people, because the law allowed it.
Now this is not an idea that will just disappear.
There are still some lone wolves who plan to try and get the Bill re-passed such as anti-gay Pastor and professional Twitter Troll Martin SSempa . (Go find him on Twitter and harass him, he loves to do it to others).
There is also the problem that apparently the president himself is trying to get the Bill back on the table in a ‘lighter form’.
The only MP who fought the Bill, Fox Odoi said in a Mail and Guardian interview that he has had stones thrown at him, been spat on and even taunted. Apparently when you are not a raging homophobe people say that you must be a raving homosexual. Being a decent human being means you must sleep with the same sex apparently.
He looked at the problem when he said that its one thing to have it struck down on a technicality and another to change the hearts and minds of a society that was ‘99% homophobic’.
Before the Bill came about a lot of ground work was put in place. Newspapers put out lists of ‘who is gay’, politicians went on record calling for the prosecution of homosexuals and no one can forget the they eat ‘they poo poo’ sermon. This all went of for years, literally putting in place the societal structure that you need to pass a Bill based on who someone sleeps with.
This video by Binyavanga speaks to how ridiculous this entire thing is.
So even though this is an amazing coup for the LGBTI community there is still so much work to be done. As FARUG (Freedom and Roam Uganda) board member, Mac ilakot said ‘we are strong and will keep advocating.’
People’s minds do not change overnight but there are small times when the light shines through the clouds and this is one of those important times that we must look to when everything feels heavy. The little victories when things seem like they are constantly lost. The LGBTI community has a long way to go.
But until then life is about celebrating the little wins, so we are gassing up the party bus and making our way to Uganda, who is coming?