Muslim-ruled Brunei OKs stoning for gay sex

Location of Brunei (on the island of Borneo)

Location of Brunei (on the island of Borneo)

The predominantly Muslim nation of Brunei has adopted a new penal code that calls for death by stoning for sexual crimes, including gay sex, adultery, rape and extramarital sexual relations, and for declaring oneself to be non-Muslim.

The United Nations human rights office appealed to Brunei to hold off enforcement of the new penal code, scheduled to take effect April 22.

Homosexual activity has long been a crime in Brunei, but the maximum punishment had been a 10-year prison sentence, as noted in ILGA’s 2013 edition of “State-Sponsored Homophobia” (PDF version).

This is the U.N. office’s statement:

11 April 2014 – The United Nations human rights office today voiced deep concern about the revised penal code in Brunei Darussalam [the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace] which stipulates the death penalty for numerous offences, including robbery, adultery, and insult or defamation of the Prophet Mohammed, and introduces stoning to death as the specific method of execution for crimes of a sexual nature.

Rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, and murder are the other offences for which the death penalty could be applied under the revised code, which is due to come into force on 22 April.

“Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offences contravenes international law,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“We urge the Government to delay the entry into force of the revised penal code and to conduct a comprehensive review ensuring its compliance with international human rights standards,” he told a news conference in Geneva.

Noting that Brunei has maintained an effective moratorium on the use of the death penalty since 1957, OHCHR urged the Government to establish a formal moratorium and to work towards abolishing the practice altogether.

Among other measures, the revised code introduces stoning to death as the specific method of execution for rape, adultery, sodomy and extramarital sexual relations.

“Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited,” stated Mr. Colville.

He added that a number of UN studies have also revealed that women are more likely to be sentenced to death by stoning, due to deeply entrenched discrimination and stereotyping against them, including among law enforcement and judicial officers.

The criminalization and application of the death penalty for consensual relations between adults in private also violates a whole host of rights, including the rights to privacy, to equality before the law, the right to health and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, Mr. Colville noted.

“The provisions of the revised penal code may encourage further violence and discrimination against women and also against people on the basis of sexual orientation,” he warned.

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Posted in Anti-LGBT laws and legislation, Asia, Faith and religion | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Will UN goals exclude gays, lesbians and transsexuals?

English: Ban Ki-moon, South Korean politician

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Advocates for women, LGBTI people and other disadvantaged people worldwide have launched a campaign to persuade the United Nations to ensure the inclusion of human rights and justice as it makes plans for post-2015 development.

Are gays, lesbians and transsexuals again going to be left out as the world is setting its priorities? So far in the process, there has been strong resistance to including and naming specific vulnerable groups that require human rights protection in the documents to be presented to the world’s leaders.

The goal articulated by hundreds of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is to ensure that “no one is left behind” as the U.N. sets goals for action from 2015 onward.  How can this be done unless the vulnerable groups are specifically identified?

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly promised to exclude “no one,” but the NGOs’ letter presented to the U.N states that sustainable development is impossible unless human rights are at its center as a foundational pillar of vibrant, equal and prosperous societies.”

Alessandra Cabral dos Santos Nilo delivered a strong statement a few days ago to the United Nations on human rights in the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.  She called for “a new cycle where human rights and justice will prevail” instead of a process too focused only on old-style economic growth while leaving behind the most vulnerable.

The U.N. is set to debate what comes next after the Millennium Development Goals. These included cutting extreme poverty by half, stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS and universal primary education.  Now the process is under way to plan goals for the world after 2015, in a process launched two years ago.

Over a million people from 88 countries have participated so far in creating a vision with key messages (“A Million Voices: The World We Want”) directed to the world’s leaders who will eventually decide the post-2015 agenda at the U.N.  Among the key messages to world leaders:

  • “People call for a new agenda built on human rights, and universal values of equality, justice and security. Better governance underpins many of their calls.
  • “The focus on concrete, measurable goals should be retained but measurement of progress needs to be improved. A data revolution will support an accountability revolution.”

We all have a stake in this process; goals and mechanisms will be adopted by the world’s nations which will affect us all for most of the next generation.

On April 9, 2014, Alessandra Cabral dos Santos Nilo co-founder and executive director of GESTOS, a human rights, democracy and AIDS NGO out of Recife, Brazil, spoke out at the U.N. in New York at the opening  joint session of the General Assembly and of the Economic and Social Council. In a hard-hitting statement, Alessandra spelled out what she meant by human rights and, in her speech, listed the issues and people traditionally left behind.  She said in part:

Alessandra Nilo, executive director of GESTOS, Brazil

Alessandra Nilo, executive director of GESTOS, Brazil

“There will only be sustainable development if human rights are a reality for all. And this is why I come before you here today, to inform you that Civil Society has raised a Red Flag…

“We express our concern that the current Post-2015 debates are still too much focused on economic growth only, without strengthening the commitments towards a new cycle where human rights and justice will prevail.

“Despite the call from the UN Secretary General that ‘no one will be left behind’ we witness the growth of conservative forces at the UN from different sides. We still have some untouchable themes in this house:  sexual rights, gender identity, safe abortion, recognition of the rights of people who use drugs, gays, lesbians, transgender and sex workers are among the pending issues at the UN.

“This means that the people that historically have been left behind will continue to be so, because at this point of the UN history, despite all agreements and commitments affirming they are inter-linked, there is still a dangerous disconnection between development and human rights.”

At the end of her presentation, she delivered the letter to the U.N. “The letter, titled “The actions we need for the future we want – a civil society red flag,” was signed by over 750 NGO’s world-wide.

The letter was initiated by NGOs after the March 10-21 meeting of the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women in New York. from March 10 t0 21.  Attended by member states, U.N. entities, and accredited NGO’S world-wide, the theme of discussions was the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.  Despite efforts by the attending NGOs, the 44 agreed conclusions remain conservative and do not mention any specific vulnerable group of women needing human rights protection and inclusion in the process.

The NGOs’ letter states: “…we are alarmed that within the post 2015 discussions, little seems to be underway to reverse the trend of doing business as usual…”.  The letter is critical of the current trends stating the post 2015 agenda is: “not on track to be built on the essential priorities for a sound and effective post 2015 global agenda, namely human rights and dignity for all” despite explicit commitments by governments, …“there is still a dangerous disconnection between development and human rights”. The letter adds: “that sustainable development is impossible unless human rights are at its center”

Among the signatories are some of the major international LGBTI groups across the globe including the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, COC Netherlands, the Global Initiative for Sexuality and Human Rights, International Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the Global Forum of Men who have Sex with Men (MSMGF), and the Coalition of African Lesbians.

 

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Posted in Commentary, Human Rights, International pressure for LGBT rights | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Senegal art show to feature LGBT Africans

Photo from Andrew Esiebo's "Who We Are" project showing images of gay men in Nigeria. (Photo courtesy of AndrewEsiebo.com)

Photo from Andrew Esiebo’s “Who We Are” project showing images of gay men in Nigeria. (Photo courtesy of AndrewEsiebo.com)

The Art Newspaper reports:

An exhibition about homosexuality in Africa is due to go ahead in Senegal next month, despite a leading academic advising the gallery against it. “The show will cause controversy, but we will not censor ourselves,” says the independent curator Ato Malinda, although she declined to reveal the name of the academic.

“Precarious Imaging: Visibility and Media Surrounding African Queerness” (7 May-18 July), will feature works by Kader Attia, Andrew Esiebo, Zanele Muholi, Amanda Kerdahi M. and Jim Chuchu. Malinda is co-organising the show with Koyo Kouoh, the artistic director at Raw Material Company, a non-profit art centre in Dakar where the exhibition opens as part of the informal programme for Dak’Art 2014, the 11th Biennale of Contemporary African Art (9 May-8 June).

The aim, says Malinda, is to shed light on a persecuted African minority and to examine the African media’s often denigrating coverage of same-sex-couples. Homosexual [activity] is illegal in Senegal, as it is in 37 other African countries. …

Zanele Muholi, an activist and photographer from South Africa, is showing her popular “Faces and Phases” series, which she has worked on since 2007. The photographs, depicting black lesbian and transgender women, have not been shown in Senegal before. … “They might be our daughters or the girl next door,” Malinda says. “It is important that people see these women in this light.”

Detail of work by Jim Chuchu from his "Pagans" series. (Photo courtesy of JimChuchu.com)

Detail of work by Jim Chuchu from his “Pagans” series. (Photo courtesy of JimChuchu.com)

The Egyptian-American artist Amanda Kerdahi M. is also presenting a work about African women. 100 Conversations, 2014, is a video of Kerdahi interviewing 100 women in Cairo about their sexualities while smoking with them. Women are forbidden from smoking in public in Egypt. To protect their identity, the camera zooms in on the interviewees’ mouths and the conversations were filmed without sound.

Gay men from Lagos are the subject of the Nigerian photographer Andrew Esiebo’s ongoing project “Who We Are.” …

Jim Chuchu, who is from Kenya, where homosexuality is illegal but accepted in some parts of society, is showing three works from his “Pagan” series, which explores the idea that homophobia was a concept introduced by missionaries and colonials. “Chuchu’s work speaks to a known past when the word ‘sodomy’ was unknown by us, and same-sex activities were an accepted preference,” Malinda says.

Meanwhile, the French-Algerian artist Kader Attia presents Collage, 2011, an hour-long video about the lives of transsexuals in Algiers and Mumbai.

“The time is ripe to talk about homosexuality in Africa,” Malinda says.

For more information, see the full article in The Art Newspaper,  “Gay art show to go on in Senegal.”

Posted in Africa (Sub Saharan) | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welcome to a second editor at Erasing 76 Crimes

Denis LeBlanc

Denis LeBlanc

The Erasing 76 Crimes blog welcomes new editor Denis LeBlanc, who has joined editor/publisher Colin Stewart on the blog’s editorial team.

LeBlanc is well-suited for work on the blog, which focuses on the human toll of 76-plus countries’ anti-gay laws and the struggle to repeal them.

He is an HIV+ gay activist based in Ottawa, Canada, and has been an active volunteer in the Gay Liberation Movement since 1971 and later with the HIV/AIDS movement.   LeBlanc also has a community journalism background, having written for and edited the Go Info tabloid newspaper from 1982 to 1988 in Ottawa.

He has been a strong supporter of LGBT rights activists in Africa and of the Erasing 76 Crimes blog. He said of the blog:

Giving voice to those without a voice and spreading the word is one of the best ways to secure liberty and freedom.  Eventually, those with power will succumb because the word is always more powerful as long as it also holds truth. 76Crimes has become a trusted news source worldwide in only 2 years. It is the only news source to focus attention on those most needy countries that criminalize LBGT.

I have no doubt that it will continue to have growing influence as it expands its reach into under-served French Africa, because 76Crimes listens to those voices and gives them substance.

In the Global South, it is giving voice; in the Global West, it is raising red flags.

For more information about Denis LeBlanc, see a biography of him in the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives.

Posted in International pressure for LGBT rights | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Stemming Britain’s tide of exported homophobia

On March 29, 2014, the first same-sex weddings were celebrated in the U.K. (Photo by XX courtesy of Twitter, LGBTQNation)

On March 29, 2014, the first same-sex weddings were celebrated in the U.K. (Photo by Alice Hutton courtesy of Twitter, LGBTQNation)

I was proud and elated to witness the first same-gender weddings in the U.K. last week. The historic event got me thinking about what Britain could/should do to help its former colonies achieve full recognition of the rights of LGBT people. It is my thesis that the U.K. has an ethical responsibility to address Jamaican anti-gay animus, but not for the usual reason of the homophobic colonial legacy.

Like most former British colonies, Jamaica is still grappling with the “alien legacy” of imposed anti-gay laws. And although the UK has long jettisoned these perverse edicts to the dustbin of history, while (almost) granting full equality to homosexuals, Jamaica seems defiantly stuck defending ancient Victorian morality as a sign of Jamaican nationalism! The whole situation would be quite hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.

However, the real tragedy is Britain’s continued export of homophobia to Jamaica.

Paul Diamond (Photo courtesy of TransformWorkUK.org)

Paul Diamond (Photo courtesy of TransformWorkUK.org)

Two years ago, fundamentalist Christian barrister Paul Diamond visited the island to speak at a conference put on by the conservative group Lawyers Christian Fellowship. The meeting was attended and enthusiastically endorsed by the country’s former Attorney General, Ransford Braham, Q.C. Mr. Braham is now the lead counsel for one of the religious groups opposing the constitutional claim filed by AIDS-Free World that seeks to overturn the anti-sodomy law.

During his rambling presentation Diamond trumpeted that Jamaica’s 1864 Offences Against the Person Act, which criminalizes all male same-gender intimacy, was a vital bulwark against the encroaching “gay agenda.” In his fear-mongering fantasy world, Mr. Diamond feels that allowing consenting adults to engage in their private acts of love-making would lead to the destruction of Christians’ “rights” (read “privilege”), including the seemingly essential need to publicly condemn gays. So, in order to preserve fundamentalists’ right to hate, gays must remain criminals.

I was astounded as I listened to this very skilled Queens Counsel weave his hysterical tale of impending doom.

UNAIDS logo

UNAIDS logo

I was shocked at one point during Diamond’s presentation when he admitted that he really does not care what two people do in the privacy of their bedrooms! “So, why oppose the repeal of the anti-sodomy law?” I wondered. By his logic (a misnomer if there ever was one) the right to privacy of LGBT people has to be sacrificed on the altar of religious expediency. The resultant harassment, abuse and murder of gay Jamaicans was just unavoidable collateral damage in an almighty righteous crusade! Clearly, Diamond also viewed the horrendous 33% HIV prevalence rate among Jamaican men who have sex with men (MSM), which is the highest in the western hemisphere, as God’s “punishment.” However, as recently as yesterday, UNAIDS again reiterated that anti-gay laws drive the HIV epidemic by forcing MSM underground, away from effective HIV prevention interventions. And many of these men also have sex with women to mask their true orientation, allowing HIV to bridge between the two populations.

Andrea Minichiello Williams (Photo courtesy of Peter-Ould.net)

Andrea Minichiello Williams (Photo courtesy of Peter-Ould.net)

Despite these awful and well-documented facts, another gay-hating British barrister washed up on Jamaica’s shores to spread her toxic message. Andrea Minichiello Williams made the hazardous trek as part of her missionary purpose to “save” Jamaica from the treacherous gays who were intent on “destroying families.” Using utterly discredited “evidence” she claimed that homosexuals were made that way because of absent fathers. She declared that British Olympic swimmer Tom Daley became gay because his own father died when he was quite young. She also theorized that we gays had suffered sexual abuse, which effectively recruited us into the “lifestyle.” Ms. Williams therefore urged the large audience to constantly remind Jamaicans of the (totally false) notion that gays are all pedophiles. This elected lay leader of the Church of England is clearly out of touch with reality. I am one gay man who was raised in a nuclear family with two loving parents and two very straight brothers. I have also never endured any sexual abuse. Ms. Williams is also out of step with her own church’s teachings on homosexuality! Anglican theology has repeatedly affirmed that homosexuality is just another form of human diversity, even though the church [the Church of England] still refuses to perform gay weddings.

Recently, I had a discussion with a senior British lawyer who was horrified to learn how his colleagues were helping to fuel the savage gay-bashings and homophobic abuses for which Jamaica has become infamous. He wondered aloud what Britain could do to prevent this continued export of homophobia. He suggested that the UK should treat these hate-mongers in the same way that it does “child-sex tourists,” namely, strip them of their right to travel. He felt pretty certain that their passports could be revoked.

Homeless LGBT youths sleeping in Jamaican sewers. (Photo courtesy of Micheal Forbes)

Homeless LGBT youths sleeping in Jamaican sewers. (Photo courtesy of Micheal Forbes)

I am not sure how effective this strategy would be, however, I do know that the export of homophobia by British legal luminaries is particularly insidious in the context of Jamaica. This is because the font of Jamaican jurisprudence is the British common-law. Therefore, the opinions of British barristers carry a lot of weight on the island. It is for this reason that I think UK-based LGBT activists and their allies should seriously look at how they can first educate their more conservative colleagues about the serious harm being caused by their deliberately bigoted diatribe. Unlike Britain, reducing anti-gay animus in Jamaica is often a matter of life and death. This is because misguided Jamaican parents are kicking their LGBT kids out on the streets as young as 10 years old. These parents have been brainwashed by (imported) fundamentalist religion into thinking that their offspring are devilish “abominations.” The now homeless kids have been forced to live in sewers, sell sex to survive, and are paid extra by their often married clients to have condomless sex. This situation compounds the already dreadful HIV prevalence rate described above.

Sizzla was one of the anti-gay entertainers whose sponsorship by Coca-Cola came under attack by AIDS-Free World.

Sizzla has been denied visas by both the U.S. and the U.K. because of the campaign against “murder music.”

If British fundamentalist lawyers are confronted with these and other devastating facts about Jamaica’s deadly homophobia, and they still refuse to halt their reckless and irresponsible anti-gay global advocacy, then they should be sanctioned. First, their funders should be alerted to the harm they are causing, and, if necessary, their professional associations should also be formally notified of their patently unethical behavior. Finally, if it is in fact possible, these persons should be denied the right to travel anywhere in the world where they can do further harm.

A similar approach to what I have just outlined was successfully pursued against Jamaican musicians who performed anti-gay “murder music.” Indeed, the successful Stop Murder Music campaign received vigorous support from that indefatigable British human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who in no small way helped to secure marriage-equality for England and Wales. It would only be fair if Peter and other UK-based LGBT human rights campaigners now fought as hard to halt Britain’s own export of toxic homophobia, as they did to prevent Jamaican murder music reaching the UK’s shores.

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In turnaround, Russian court OKs two LGBT rallies

The Advocate reports:

Nikolai Alekseyev (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Nikolai Alekseev (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

A district court in the Western Russian region of Kostroma on Friday [April 4] declared that two LGBT rallies can proceed as planned, overturning two decisions by lower courts that sided with local officials refusing to allow the demonstrators to protest.

Interfax news agency reports that the case was filed by prominent [and controversial] Russian LGBT activist Nikolay Alexeyev, who wanted to hold two rallies protesting the country’s nationwide ban on so-called gay propaganda, which imposes fines and possible jail time on anyone speaking positively about “nontraditional sexual orientations” in areas visible to minors. City officials banned the requests in June of last year.

Interfax reports that Kostroma officials had initially banned the events, “saying that their participants intended to promote homosexuality and the police cannot ensure their safety. The authorities also said that the city administration had received letters from city residents who said they did not want the events to take place.”

Although the decision will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court, LGBT advocates hailed it as an incremental step toward pushing back against the onslaught of violence and discrimination directed at LGBT Russians since the “gay propaganda” ban took effect last summer.

For more information, see the full article in The Advocate:  “Russian Province Declares Ban on LGBT Parades Illegal.”

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Researcher: In raid, Uganda police were clueless

Stella Nyanzi

Stella Nyanzi

Ugandan police who raided the U.S.-funded Makerere / Walter Reed health project on April 3 didn’t know enough to understand how researchers recruit and work with people involved in their research, says a research fellow at Makerere University.

The police believed they were seeing men being “recruited into homosexuality” when they were actually seeing homosexual men being recruited into a research project aimed at slowing the spread of AIDS, says researcher Stella Nyanzi.

Nyanzi is a postdoctoral research fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) and a senior researcher at the Law, Gender and Sexuality Research Project at Makerere University School Of Law in Kampala, Uganda.

Uganda police claimed that undercover investigators “infiltrated” the combined clinic and research facility, the Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP), to  verify a report that it “was carrying out recruitment and training of young males in unnatural sexual acts.

Galaxy radio report about the April 3 raid.

Galaxy radio report about the April 3 raid.

Ugandan media described the raid as “Police bust Homosexual training camp in Kampala.”

In response to the raid, the project was temporarily suspended “to ensure the safety of staff and beneficiaries, and the integrity of the program,” U.S. officials said.

Police bust Homosexual training camp in Kampala

Specifically, the police reported that the project:

  • “Targeted youth between the ages of 18 and 25.”
  • Showed its trainees “videos of men engaging in homosexual activity, and they were encouraged to bring along their sexual partners.”
  • Gave trainees “literature describing safe sexual practice between males, as well as condoms and lubricant.”
  • Paid trainees “UGX 10,000 to UGX 100,000 [US$4 to $40] as transport refund, at the end of each training session.”
  • Showed “a same-sex pornographic film” to “a large number of participants.”

Not so, says Nyanzi. In fact, she says:

  • Logo of the Makerere University Walter Reed Project

    Logo of the Makerere University Walter Reed Project

    “If a research study wants to measure the relationship between HIV infection and sexual behaviour, including homosexuality, a group of homosexuals will be recruited into the study. This does not mean recruitment into homosexuality. Individuals who identify as homosexuals are recruited into the research project.”

  • “The claim that poor individuals are paid money by this research project in order to become homosexuals is a lie. Most researchers in the sciences provide transport for individuals to participate in their studies. … Giving money to individuals for transport does not equate to paying them to become homosexuals. “
  • The police apparently believed they saw pornographic films when they were actually seeing sex-education films that are part of a research project aimed at learning how best to educate LGBT people about safe sex.

This is the full text of Nyanzi’s explanation of the research and what Ugandan police misunderstood:

Bollocks to the idea that research projects hide under affiliation to Makerere University in order to recruit young Ugandans into homosexuality.

Uganda Police Force logo

Uganda Police Force logo

The language of police officers speaking about their infiltration into the Walter Reed Project reveals misunderstandings about how research trials in epidemiology work. As a researcher based at Makerere University, who has variously been blamed for ‘recruiting homosexuals’, I am compelled to explain simply some of the apparent misunderstandings.

Firstly, all positivistic research aimed at measuring impacts and effects of one variable or more MUST recruit individuals into the study. Recruitment is a term used to mean that individuals who were not part of a research study are approached through various ways, given information about the study procedures and expectations, invited to voluntarily participate in the study, given the opportunity to refuse to take part and then upon accepting they are given identification numbers which help keeping tabs on their involvement in research activities. This recruitment procedure has been used to bring people into any research project especially in the sciences that work with human subjects.

If a research study wants to measure the relationship between HIV infection and sexual behaviour, including homosexuality, a group of homosexuals will be recruited into the study. This does not mean recruitment into homosexuality. Individuals who identify as homosexuals are recruited into the research project.

Secondly, the identification numbers that are given are an old technique in scientific research which help ensure the anonymity of people involved in research. Instead of using a person’s names, the identity remains a secret which is private. Confidentiality is enhanced because the information given cannot be traced back to the individual who spoke it, but rather to a serialised identity number. These numbers have got nothing sinister or necessarily ‘homosexual’ about them. Researchers have used this technique for years.

Thirdly, the claim that poor individuals are paid money by this research project in order to become homosexuals is a lie. Most researchers in the sciences provide transport for individuals to participate in their studies. Sometimes this transport involves a driver going to pick people from their homes to a research location and then taking them back home. More often the money that individuals spend on transport fares is refunded whenever they participate in a research activity. Giving money to individuals for transport does not equate to paying them to become homosexuals. Sometimes we give refreshments or a meal to research participants when they participate in our activities. Will the police then say that we are feeding Ugandans in order to make them homosexuals?

Fourthly, the police assert that the research project showed homosexual pornography to the research participants in order to make them homosexuals. What is pornography? The legal definition of pornography in the recent Anti-Pornography Act (2014) that was passed early this year is vague, problematic, too wide, and open to misinterpretation. Thus the violence targeting women wearing miniskirts. Given that our sex education in Uganda lacks balance because it is only limited to knowledge about men having penetrative vaginal sex with women, anything that may teach about men having sex with men or women having sex with women will be deemed pornography. In fact our president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni recently revealed that for him any sex outside the vagina is not sex.

But wait a minute. Men who have sex with men are among the most at-risk population groups for HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Sex education that targets improving their safe-sex in order to prevent or reduce high-risk sexual behaviour that may expose them to further risk for catching HIV is part of the necessary public health education that will reduce HIV levels in Uganda. Government claims that HIV/AIDS-prevention, care and treatment programs specific to homosexuals will not be affected by the Anti-Homosexuality Act (2014), but the police has already rushed to raid and stop a safe-sex education program for homosexuals. Do you think we do not see the inconsistencies here?

Why would a research project provide sex education to homosexuals? People have asked this question, as if it is evidence for the claimed recruitment into homosexuality. Well, randomised controlled trials often have single or combined interventions that they provide to specific sub-samples. In my previous research around sex education and STIs including HIV/AIDS among young people in rural Masaka, we provided safe-sex education. Nobody complained because we were providing heterosexual sex education to our target groups which were students in primary and secondary schools.

Although I have not seen the research design of the MUWRP, it is highly likely that safe-sex education for men who have sex with men was part of the RCT interventions being tested through this particular research. If this is the case, then the research trial’s design demands that sex education be provided to this sub-sample of research participants. This was not pornography aimed at recruiting homosexuals into homosexuality. This was an integral component of how scientific research is conducted. There is nothing unethical about it.

I think that our police need a basic minimum of training into research methods. If they are going to be working with scientists and researchers producing cutting edge knowledge particularly among high risk groups that are criminalised including homosexuals and sex workers, it is important that they get exposed to research design – at a minimum! Otherwise, their lack of education, ignorance and enthusiasm is not only a disgrace but also a revelation of the gaps in knowledge requisite to engage with academic researchers. And then vital police resources are spent on bollocks rather than going for the thieves eating our public funds.

Posted in Africa (Sub Saharan), Harassment / murders, HIV / AIDS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments