First they come for the Lesbians and Gays…

I want to congratulate my fellow Ghana blogger Nana Yaw for highlighting an issue which many Africans shun from – the issue of same sex relationships. His series throughout the week highlighted different aspects of same sex relationships and were insightful in many parts… apart from a minor slippage in his first post in the series; I felt Nana Yaw also made a real effort not to be judgemental.

Talking about same sex relationships in our current context is always controversial. There is always the assumption that if you support gay rights then you’re gay, which of course comes with the attendant stigma associated with homosexuality.

In recent times I have found myself being increasingly bothered by the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Yes, in most African countries homosexuality is illegal (which is bad enough) but what this bill proposes goes far beyond any draconian bill one can imagine. The proposed bill:

• Requires parents to denounce lesbian daughters/gay sons and report them to the police.
• Expects teacher to report gay/lesbian students to the authorities within 24 hours
• Targets house owners/landladies/landlords that provide housing to gays/lesbians – the penalty could be 7 years imprisonment.

I am reminded of that famous quote attributed to Niemoller:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me

Who knows they could be coming for the sexuality bloggers next…

9 comments On First they come for the Lesbians and Gays…

  • When you argue like this, who can win against you? Incidentally, I heard about the Ugandan situation on Al Jazeera this weekend, and I was horrified. What kind of homosexual ‘offence’ should warrant life in prison. Tolerance is more important (more so in Africa) for development than many of the false issues our governments pretend to focus on.

  • I totally agree with you Nana..this bill being passed in Uganda is nothin but absurd..the fact that one is gay doesn’t mean he/she should be cut off from the society..Ope it doesnt get to Ghana considering the rise in same sex relationships.

  • I had no clue about Uganda’s crazy laws on gay marriage. Denounce your child as a requirement of the law??? They would be better served focusing on development, rather than worrying about who’s sleeping with whom. It’s all just smoke a mirrors for a failed gov’t, looking for a scape goat.

  • Wow is Uganda serious? Talk about creating a Big Brother state. I can’t say I’m necessarily a supporter of gay rights but I am a firm believer in letting people live their lives as they wish with no judgement.

  • Hi Nana – great post – thanks for highlighting this issue in Uganda. Is there not a huge human rights outcry about this?!

    I posted on this same topic last month here (, but was focusing on Ghana and had not heard what is going on in Uganda. What can be done?!! Why do you think the government would take this seemingly backward step in this day and age?

  • Oh my gosh! I had no idea about this going on in Uganda. I’m amazed, it’s an outrage!

  • @NY – Yep that is one of the things that pisses me off the most. Out of all the issues that Uganda needs to deal with – legislating against people’s right to choice should definitely not be on the lisr

    @Akwelesuma – Hmm, that is one of the reasons why everybody needs to protest against this bill – it could set a really dangerous precedent

    @Abena – What is also really scary is that these smoke screens tend to work, don’t they. It seems that every time a state is failing rather than deal with the reality they look for easy scape goats/targets. In some countries its “immigrants”, in Uganda it is homosexuals

    @Sankofa – Ideally we should all be able to live and let live, right?

    @Holli – Will check out your post. I do like your style of writing, I just need to subscribe to your blog so I remember to check it out. In terms of why the government would take this step – it appears that the Ugandan Goverment is recieveing some sort of financial support from fundamentalist Christian groups in the state to pass this bill. I will post some more information about what civil rights groups in Uganda are doing to protest

    @Nsoromma – Yep, completely outrageous

  • from wat am reading I can understand everyone’s frusrations about the Homosexuality Bill and well much as I feel that legislation alone has never been a solution to moral issues. I can also understand where the homosexuality bill is coming from. In uganda we’ve had homosexuals coming up publically to tell us how they have been recruiting school children.I have had the expereince of witnessing a guy over 30yrs of age lure a 13yr old boy using a bottle of soda. my main worry is that the gay seem to target children and the very poor youth who r desparate for anything. and so putting up tough laws on them is probably meant to discourage them.
    True pple shd be allowed the freedom to decide the kind of life to lead but they shdnt use this freedom to destroy the lives of innocent children
    The bill is at the extreme almost every Ugandan is a potentail culprit but I think you need to understand whr its coming from

  • people need to stop equating homosexuality with pedophilia. true there have been unfortunate incidents where some homosexuals have preyed on kids, i’m not going to dispute that, but heterosexuals abuse children too, i daresay more frequently too; look at all the “man 71 rapes girl 8” stories in our papers. child sexual abuse is a serious issue that warrants all our indignation and concern but it should not be viewed as part and parcel of a homosexual lifestyle. in my opinion homosexuality is a valid sexual orientation and not some kind of perversion.

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.