On Tuesday (March 21), Uganda passed a measure making LGBTQIA identification a criminal offense. In addition, law enforcement now has increased powers that allow them to persecute gay Ugandans, banning the promotion of homosexuality on any level.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Ugandan legislature, known as the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill, “confirms an already existing punishment of life imprisonment for same-sex conduct, while also increasing to 10 years the prison sentence for an attempt at same-sex conduct.”
The bill also refers to some LGBT+ acts as “aggravated homosexuality,” which would involve gay sex with individuals 18 and under or “when the perpetrator is HIV positive.” Under these circumstances, citizens could be sentenced to death, Reuters reports.
Furthermore, the anti-LGBT measure criminalizes anyone who fails or refuses to report someone they suspect of partaking in same-sex acts to the police. Those found guilty of failing to report the crime will receive a fine or a six-month detainment.
Family members and allies of LGBT members will receive jail time if they are unable or unwilling to report them to the authorities.
The bill also prohibits “accommodation that facilitates the offense of homosexuality.” For example, if someone were to rent an Airbnb out to a gay couple and were found guilty of doing so, they could be sentenced to ten years in prison.
Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s president, has 30 days to approve or decline the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.