Metro Weekly

Museveni Denies Ugandan Gay Discrimination

Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan president, spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour for an exclusive interview, Wednesday, in which he extensively denied that gay discrimination is present in his country. 

“I want to inform the world that…homosexuals were not killed. They were not persecuted and they were not discriminated against,” he said. “However, Africans are by nature discrete people.  Even for heterosexuals, we never exhibit our sexual acts in public.”

President Museveni explained that the problem at hand is “exhibitionism.”

There is some truth to Museveni’s statements.  In 2011, Frank Mugisha, leader of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activist organization in Uganda spoke to Metro Weekly about his country’s sexual taboo. 

“If you had people in Uganda kissing on the street, heterosexuals, Ugandans would not take that easily,” he said. “They would not harass them or bash them, but they would see it as something not normal, whereas in other countries people can kiss on the street and no one would take time to look.”  

“People just don’t want these things talked about, and many times the media portrays homosexuality as sex,” Mugisha said.

Mugisha, winner of a Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights award in 2011, told Metro Weekly that his organization is working to change that.   

According to its website, SMUG’s mission is “to lead and organize LGBT organizations in Uganda in the fight for the recognition of same sex relationships and the removal of all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“There is a lot of homophobia,” he said. “There are a lot of hate crimes, violence towards LGBT people. But we are not standing back. We are standing up to this homophobia.”

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