Seems that today, the Ugandan parliament is debating a bill which will, if passed, make the death penalty a possibility for 'serial homosexual offenders' and those with HIV. OGODOGOD do not read the comments for the sake of all that is good in the world.
It's being proposed as a potential solution to the HIV/AIDS problem in Uganda, which it seems has lately moved away from safer sex initiatives towards abstinence-only ones in its HIV/AIDS prevention programmes under the influence of American religious groups (read the section entitled 'Criticisms'*.
So anyway, if they plan to kill gays and lesbians to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, then they perhaps ought to consider killing anyone that's infected, regardless of sexuality. Last time I checked, viruses were less bigoted about their victims than that and would happily infect anyone without doing a sexuality-check first, you know?
So anyway, again I'm seeing parallels with drug law. "Whut", I hear you say. Well, they say that the aim is to reduce the harm caused by the spread of HIV/AIDS. In order to do that, supporters of the law want to deter homosexuals from engaging in intercourse by threatening them with death. We all know that making something illegal is not going to stop people acting on what is essentially a natural urge, even if the penalty is death (see also: drugs problem in Thailand).
What it will successfully do is make people hide what they are doing and marginalise them, reducing their access to healthcare and preventative measures. Which, by all standards of logic, is going to make the problem worse not better. See the parallels? Only with Uganda, we're talking about spread of an infectious and deadly disease.
So, WTF Uganda? You were doing so well! Whaargarbl! *gnng*
There are folks out there wondering why Uganda's law is getting so much publicity when there are many, many, many countries with similar laws, some of which already have the death penalty for homosexual acts. Well, it seems the BBC made a very smart (or very stupid) move, by publishing a poll with the question "Should all homosexuals be executed?" Hilarity ensued as people fell all over themselves to jump on their high horse about it, and the result was an internet furore in which the bill before the Ugandan parliament came into everyone's awareness**. And with any luck, people will think beyond the Internet Issue Du Jour and see that this is not a specifically Ugandan issue, and maybe the world will change a little bit.
Viral networking, it are work.
And yeah, Uganda really does have bigger fish to fry. Sorry to those who are particularly focused on LGBT activism, but it's true that issues such as health, education, poverty, lack of clean water, are probably much more important to your average person living in Uganda. Thing is, from my privileged perspective over here in a country where such things are not a day to day issue, I can kind of see where this law risks the health of a nation and also tramples on the human rights of those it affects, both of which come into the 'bigger fish' category. And it's such an ass-backwards (and destined to fail) way of making policy that I can't help but wonder if their methods of addressing those bigger fish are really any better.
I fear for their future.
* Yes, it's a Wiki page but if that's actually true, OMFGWTFBBQ! Unfortunately I'm limited in research today because of the work bandwidth cap being almost exceeded - I love that our IT guy let me know that btw, he's cool. So if anyone wants to check the facts on that assertion, please tell me what you find.
** The title of the poll has since been changed to something less incendiary.
I'll be at Fidels very briefly tonight because we are going to see Avatar! I've heard it's quite good, but even if it's not classic cinema, it's going to be SO PRETTY!
PS *sneaksneaksneak* SHHH!