Here we go again…Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill a.k.a “Kill The Gays” bill which was first introduced by Ugandan MP David Bahati in 2009 went in the back burner when the parliament was adjourned last May without deciding the fate of the bill, has now been re-introduced this Tuesday in the parliament.
Among other inhuman punishments against LGBT people in the country, the most controversial was the death penalty for active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. If people continue to have homosexual sex, which is termed in the bill as “Serial Offenders”, would face death penalty too.
The bill would also put people behind bars irrespective of gay or straight, for up to three years if they fail to report within 24 hours the identities of anyone they know who is LGBT, or who supports the human rights of people who are.
The bill has been strongly critisized by other leading nations including US and after the huge condemnation from the rest of the world and LGBT and human rights activists, Bahati informed the death penalty clause has been dropped from the original bill. Although an amended bill has not been published.
In support of the bill Bahati said, it will help protect the children of his country who are apparently in danger from the gays.
28 years old Sanjeev Vandse is an LGBT activist from the small town of Udipi, Karnataka, India. He fights of the rights of gays and male sex workers. He has tied up with NGOs to help these people who otherwise have been neglected by most as homosexuality is still a taboo and not discussed or a subject barely touched by the mass specially in small towns.
Sanjeev himself is HIV positive. He was gang-raped by his bosses when he came to mumbai to work for a hotel, Sanjeev claims. He further claims that incident changed his sexual orientation.
For the past 3 years he has become an sexual health advisor, mentor, almost a messiah to LGBT people in his town and around. The concern is, his belief that rape changed his sexual orientation is scientifically wrong and probably he is still trying to justify his sexuality with that excuse of being a victim. It looks like he needs councelling himself. He needs to accept who he is and not feel ashamed of it and find the need to have an excuse to justify his being gay.
If rape could change sexual orientation, then all the african lesbians who are forced to have sex with men (corrective rape) with the believe that it would turn them straight would work too. But it doesn’t. His claim could backfire. In those small towns, where most are uneducated, illiterate, such a claim would do more harm than good.
We have already seen in one family in States, father forced his 14 year old son to have sex with a hooker while he stood vigilant outside the door because he thought his son might be gay.
Sanjeev’s work to make the lives of LGBT people in his community easy, is commendable to say the least but he needs to be councelled before its too late.
For the longest time in India, HIV was a decease predominant among the female sex workers in India. For decades now, they have carried the stigma and faced the brunt.
Finally, latest study shows new HIV infection are more among gay men and drug users than among females. Hindustantimes issued a new article which gives the latest comparitive figures from 2000 and 2009.
There were 120,000 new HIV infection cases out of which 7.3% were gays and drug users while female sex workers were 4.94%. This data was collected in 2009. In sharp contrast to the data collected in 2000 where out of 270,000 new infection registration 11% were female sex-workers and gays accounted for only 4.3%.
According to Sayan Chatterjee, secretery in the department of AIDS control in the health ministry, the concern now is the estimated 250,000 gay men who fall in the high-risk catagory of infection. The states which were previously saw less prevelance of HIV are now the most vulnerable. States like Orissa, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bangal, UP, Rajasthan and Gujrat have more HIV positive men.
The new 5 year plan (2012-2017) would essentially focus more on this states and the LGBT population.
The United Kingdom has proposed to lift the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood.
Men who have not had sex with another man in the past 12 months, now would be allowed to donate blood in Wales, Scotland and England. Northern Ireland has not reached a decision yet but is expected to declare their stand on the issue soon.
The restriction which was brought forth at the wake of HIV outbreak in the 80s are not relevant in today’s time as proposed by the latest medical evidences.
More detailed report can be viewed by the BBC.
Here is hoping, other countries like Canada and US would follow suit soon.