Ugandan president told by actual scientists to veto barbaric anti-LGBTQ+ bill

Yoweri Museveni Uganda president LGBT rights

Scientists from around the world have written an open letter pleading with the president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, to quash a bill which would make homosexuality illegal in the East African country.

Prior to the bill being passed, Museveni asked scientists to investigate LGBTQ+ people, to understand if being homosexual was “nature or nurture”.

The president said: “The homosexuals are deviations from normal. Why? Is it by nature or nurture. We need to answer these questions. We need a medical opinion on that. We shall discuss it thoroughly.”

It is the second time Museveni has commissioned such a study, and the second time studies have shown homosexuality is “natural and normal”.

A group of leading scientists rose to the president’s challenge and wrote an open letter condemning the cruel Ugandan bill, reports CNN.

“We cannot say this enough: homosexuality is a normal and natural variation of human sexuality. The science on this subject is crystal clear and we call on you [Museveni], in the strongest possible terms, to veto the bill in the name of science,” the letter said.

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“We cannot think of one major scientific organisation which would argue against the idea homosexuality is not normal and natural.”

What is Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill?

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was passed by Ugandan legislators in March 2023. By law, Museveni has 30 days from when parliament sent him the bill to either enact or veto it. The deadline to sign it into law is Thursday (20 April).

If signed, the legislation will be one of the harshest anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the world.

Simply identifying as LGBTQ+ would become illegal and anyone found guilty could face a long jail sentence.

Even being an LGBTQ+ ally could result in a five-year jail term.

Anyone found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality” would face execution.

Yoweri Museveni, who has been president of Uganda since 1986. (RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)
Yoweri Museveni has been president of Uganda since 1986. (RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

In the open letter, the scientists added that while genetics might play a role, homosexuality cannot be caught like a “common cold”.

The letter goes on to say: “Exposure to rainbow flags will not make a child gay. Sexual orientation is not limited to any specific region. It is not confined by borders drawn on a map. It needs no passport to travel. Indeed, there’s clear evidence for same-sex relationships in Africa dating back hundreds of years.”

This isn’t the first time Museveni has called upon the medical community to investigate homosexuality.

In 2014, the Ugandan ministerial task team, asked by the president to advise him, doctored documents so he would vote against homosexuality.

The Mail & Guardian found the documents presented to the president contained falsified information given by medical and psychological experts, twisting it to show that homosexuality should be further criminalised.

The 2014 Scientist Consensus Statement concluded that homosexuality is not a disease or an “abnormality”, but that it “can be influenced by environmental factors” such as “culture, religion, information, permissiveness”.

But the report given to Museveni read: “Homosexuality is not a disease but merely an abnormal behaviour which may be learned through experiences in life. It should be regulated. Homosexuality has serious public-health consequences and should therefore not be tolerated.” 

In 2014, following the report, Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, enacted a new law that stiffened penalties for same-sex relations.