Today Tranz Network Uganda (TNU) joins the rest of the World to commemorate the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), as we celebrate this day ironically in Uganda, transgender persons have been made more invisible when on March 21, 2023, the Parliament of Uganda Passed the Anti- Homosexuality Bill 2023 into law. This was triggered after a wave of homophobia and transphobia a few months preceding the passing of the Bill that was majorly spared by political leaders and religious fundamentalists.
Among the objects of the draconian bill is to establish comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect the traditional family by ‘prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex and the promotion or recognition of sexual relations between persons of the same sex’; ‘strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional, heterosexual family’; ‘protecting the cherished culture of the people of Uganda, legal, religious, and traditional family values of Ugandans against the acts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Uganda’; and ‘protecting children and youth who are made vulnerable to sexual abuse through homosexuality and related acts.’ All these are aimed at stripping transgender persons of their identity based on unverified allegations of recruitment of children and erosion of culture.
Once implemented transgender persons will greatly be affected by the law since they are the face of the “gay” community in Uganda. The Anti- Homosexuality Bill 2023 is unconstitutional as it violates a myriad of rights for transgender persons, it also puts us back in the efforts to end HIV/AIDS Pandemic by 2030. The effects of the passing of the Bill have been witnessed through outings of transgender Persons, evictions, physical violence, unlawful arrests, and hate speech, especially through social media. etc. This has greatly threatened the security and lives of many transgender persons in Uganda.
We, therefore, implore the government to take a strong stance in favour of defending the rights of transgender people and commit to its obligations to promote protect and respect the rights of all persons including transgender persons, rather than further criminalise and marginalise them. Transgender persons have witnessed discrimination for a long time, and this should be addressed with respect and dignity. Acknowledging the rights of transgender people to live openly and freely without threats of being persecuted, bullied, or subjected to discrimination.
We urge the public to refrain from disseminating erroneous unsubstantiated information and misleading allegations that individuals are “recruited” into being transgender or homosexual. Such information further perpetuates hatred and prejudice against transgender people.
We conclude by recommending to the President of Uganda not to sign the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, into law as the provisions are unconstitutional. We also call upon all domestic and international partners to condemn the bill in the strongest terms possible and advocate for visibility other than the invisibility of transgender persons in Uganda.
Tranz Network Uganda