Negotiating Sexual Citizenship in Uganda


Image, self esteem and self actualization are nurtured in family settings, dictated by culture, education, skills-set, religion and policy. It entails patriarchy, matriarchy, peerage, guidance and a status quo that promotes heterosexuality. Society enacts means through which values are passed on to next generation in form of laws and practices. Enduring community activities are then entrenched in constitutionalism.  Hetero-normativity has got a recent entrenchment in Uganda (The anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009) as criminalisation, media outing and a homophobic atmosphere fueled by policy, patriarchy, masculinity, and religious-sponsored hatred for same sex practicing persons. This fuels homonegative deterrents translated into fear of evictions, arbitrary arrests, lynching with impunity and expulsions from nurturing communities for same sex practicing persons. This report shows that heteronormativity and homonegativity are linked in form of criminalisation, reward system and peerage that discriminates same sex practices.

Heterosexual Affirming normativity: 

The social organisation and moral lores among the Baganda celebrate patriarchy; revolving around respect for elders, male-husbands, responsibility bearing of younger people towards elderly and heteronormative family settings anticipating bearing of children. Buganda part of over 50 ethnic tribes in the Republic of Uganda has a culture that celebrates marriage and child bearing. This is strengthened by the Constitution of Uganda, Section 140 where same sex marriages are prohibited. Section 140 of the constitution of the republic of Uganda criminalizes "carnal knowledge against the order of nature" with maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Also, Section 141 prohibits "attempts at Carnal knowledge" with maximum penalty of 7 years' imprisonment. Section 143, punishes acts of procurement of or attempts to procure acts of gross indecency" between men in public or private with up to 5 years imprisonment. Uganda has enacted laws that favour heterosexual relations in form of constitutional laws of marriage, family laws, labour laws, social- welfare, domestic relations, school enrolment, job enrolment, political aspirations and community integration. These are the very structures within which heteronormativity and homo-negativity thrive.

Penalizing Homosexuality: 

The Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009; patriarchy and;  criminalization environment in Uganda are the bedrock of heteronormativity and homonegativity. The fear of deprivation, expulsion, evictions, arbitrary arrests, corrective rape, ridicule, print-media outing, death, lynching, poor self esteem, deprivation of self actualisation structures, poor community integration and lack of a peer-reward system outside heteronormative structures influence and force majority of same sex practicing persons to lead a double life in Uganda.


This environment denies enjoyment of sexual citizenship for same sex loving persons. Once one is outed as a same sex practicing person no one wants to be acknowledged as a friend or relative to such a person in Uganda. This is a symbol of societal ridicule.


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