Calling it a “Christmas gift” to the Ugandan people, the speaker of the Ugandan parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has promised she will pass the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill in the next two weeks. In effect, this would place a bounty on any head deemed lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ).
The latest version of the “Kill the Gays” bill removes the death penalty for the act of simply being gay, but offers a punishment for anyone providing shelter to a gay person, refusing to notify police if they suspect someone is gay, and “touching another person with intent of committing homosexuality.”
“This is outrageous,” said Shaun Knittel, founder and executive director at Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea). “The LGBTQ equality movement is a global movement. Regardless of nation of origin, religion, ethnicity, and so on, we are linked to the Ugandan struggle because we belong to the same community, the LGBTQ community. The time has come and gone for debating the issue or letter-writing. What we are now faced with is the question: How will we – the global LGBTQ community – react to this?”
Knittel added that SOSea will begin to look into ways to help the LGBTQ community in Uganda.
“Through solidarity events, lobbying, editorials, and more, SOSea will do our part in demanding that the government of Uganda make right this wrong,” Knittel said. “Nobody should be killed, jailed, or intimidated because they are LGBTQ. This is not a hard concept to understand. Love is something we all have the capacity for.”
“With limited quantities of resources and understanding, homosexuality was declared a mental illness until it was removed from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 1973 and ratified in 1974,” added co-director of SOSea, Sarah Toce. “We are not wild animals in need of correction. We are human beings and we deserve to be treated as equally as any other flesh and blood being in this world. Location matters not. Whether you reside down the street or around the world, if you are a human being and you identify as LGBTQ, this bill affects each and every one of you. It affects us all.”
SOSea is a coalition of LGBTQ and allied persons who care about the issues, politics, and social inequalities that exist in the world. Since July 2012, founding members have worked with local LGBTQ and allied businesses, orgs, clubs, groups, and individuals that believe in the SOSea mission. SOSea is governed by a dedicated group of local LGBTQ and allied committee members.