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Lifesaver for ages 9 & up - Uganda: Where being gay is a crime

    Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 15:22

    Uganda is a dangerous place for gay people, and yet these individuals are expressing pride in who they are, and supporting the rights of other people who are gay.

     

    Do you or your friends have one parent? Both a mother and a father? Two mothers or maybe two fathers?

    In Canada, some families have two mothers or two fathers. But in some countries, including Uganda, it is against the law for two men, or for two women, to love each other.

    Gay* people love someone of the same gender. In many countries, gay people are bullied and harassed, put in prison, and sometimes even killed.

    In February 2014, the government of Uganda passed a bill to make being gay unlawful. Gay people can now be put in jail for the rest of their lives.  

    Gay people are not the only ones affected by the new law. Those who provide them healthcare, or who defend the human rights of gay people, can also be put in prison.

    Since the law was passed, gay people are being arrested and abused by police. This can happen if the police even think someone is gay. Many are losing their jobs because their bosses are afraid of being associated with them.
    Some doctors have stopped treating gay patients because they don’t want anyone to see them supporting gay people.

    Gay people, and gay human rights activists in particular, are living in fear. And yet they continue their courageous work to overturn the anti-gay law. They do so because anyone, anywhere in the world, has the right to love whomever they choose without fear of being hurt or thrown in jail.
    Sometimes gay human rights activists get very sad and feel alone. It is important to let them know that they are not alone. They need to know that people in Canada understand what is going on in Uganda, to know about the great work that they are doing, and to support them.

    * The word gay in this context refers to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.

    Let gay rights activists in Uganda know that they are not alone. It will mean a lot to them. A Ugandan activist sent this note to Amnesty International in January 2014 after receiving some messages of support:

    "The solidarity cards were amazing. I cried for a while when I received them. Public statements have great impact, but personal messages provide us as individuals with strength to keep going. Thank you. Really, thank you."

    Write a message of hope to Ugandan activists. Here are some examples:
    o Being gay shouldn’t be a crime. I support what you are doing.
    o Stay strong and keep hope. People in Canada support you.
    o We know what is happening in Uganda and we know what great work you are doing for gay people in Uganda.

     

    Where do I send my message?

    Attn: Jackie Hansen
    Amnesty International
    312 Laurier Avenue East
    Ottawa, ON K1N 1H9

    Postage: $0.85

     

    What else can I do?

    Are you going to a Pride parade in your community this summer? If so, make a sign that says “Uganda: We march with you” and take it with you. March in the parade or stand on the sidelines holding your sign.  Encourage a friend to do the same.

    For more information on Pride activities and how to get involved visit www.amnesty.ca/lgbt. On the left hand side, click Pride and Amnesty to see a list of Pride events in Canada.