Before You Outlaw 'Homosexuality' in Uganda: A Letter To A Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian;

Re: The Love Where One Leaves The Beauty of A Woman And Settles For A Fellow Man

In this letter to you, I attempt to highlight or trace:

  1. What compels us to denounce homosexuality
  2. The people behind denunciation of homosexuality
  3. The rationale behind the denunciation
  4. Where outlawing homosexuality gets it wrong
  5. The ideology of homosexuality
  6. The biology of homosexuality
  7. The theology of homosexuality
  8. Homosexuality is not the pressing matter Ugandan Parliament makes it to be
And please, stop using the term "homosexuals" or "homosexuality." That is oxymoronic. It is also equivalent to tying someone up and expect them to carry water at the same time. Or eating your cake and expecting to have it at the same time.

The people you are dealing with are called: neurodivergent gender diverse persons.

This letter is about the love where one leaves the beauty of a woman and settles for the peace of mind that comes with choosing to go into a long term relationship with a fellow man. 

It is also about the love where one leaves the chivalrous man and settles for the fulfillment from a fellow woman.

In Uganda, the term "homosexuality" which is less understood, is heard bundled about with much frequency lately. Mostly, from the media and by Parliamentarians. 

It has become a cue for stoking conversations at household level, kitchen tables, market squares, community barazas, talking heads and Ugandan Parliament. Rather than deliberate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, ensure that communities become spaces where individuals can participate in learning entrepreneurship skills, eradicate poverty, HIV and conserve the environment. Uganda has the youngest population below 30 years old in the entire world. They need social development deliberations and policies.

The media houses have a field day, the dailies are scooped so fast off the streets once an attention grabbing headline “Alleged Homosexuality Behind The Closure of A Conference” is grandiosely emblazoned. Homosexuality commands higher listenership, readership and phone-ins, once it is the central talking point at various FM radios.

The Religious-Parliamentary Determinism Of Homosexuality:

Two or three renowned Pastors have short answers to this normativity. “Satanic,” says one. “Sodomites,”  remarks the other. “Devils,” adds yet another.

The Hon. Dr. Nsaba Buturo, MP of Bufumbira East, is preparing to retable the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The MP has taken leave from the Ugandan Parliament to create time for himself to mobilize numbers to support the Bill. As well, he expects to compose ditties on the one hand and articles that spell out in concrete narratives the criminal extent of Homosexuality. He accuses the United Nations of a surreptitious mission to impose acceptance of homosexuality on sovereign countries.

Hon. Dr. Nsaba Buturo is an accomplished Political Scientist, who holds several degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public administration, from Makerere University; postgraduate Diploma in Developmental Administration; a Master of Arts in Developmental Administration from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, which he followed up with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the same field at Birmingham.

He is popular with the Pentecostal Church and when he was appointed Minister, it was seen as a contribution of the Pentecostal Church in a homogeneous government led by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. He had the right resume. From 1977 until 1986, he served as a District Commissioner in the Ministry of Local Government under Milton Obote (II) and Okello Lutwa’s government.  When the NRM overthrew Okello Lutwa, Dr. Nsaba Buturo emigrated to the United Kingdom, where he served as a Development Manager, from 1989 until 1995. He returned to Uganda in 1999, and was appointed Director of Planning & Monitoring for the Uganda AIDS Commission, serving until 2001. In 2001, he joined politics and was elected to the Ugandan Parliament, to represent Bufumbira East, a county of Kisoro District. From 2001 to 2006, he served as the State Minister for Information & Broadcasting. He was re-elected in 2006 and retained as State Minister for Information in the cabinet reshuffle of 13 January 2005. In a subsequent cabinet reshuffle in June 2006, he was appointed State Minister for Ethics in the Office of the Vice President. In March 2011, he lost his parliamentary seat and resigned from the cabinet. However, he later on regained the seat and he is presently the MP. 

Uganda has several talking heads on Homosexuality. It pulls in revenue for TV and Radio Shows.  One was heard saying before the camera: “when it comes to homosexuals, I am strong, firm, determined. We shall not allow exhibiting, recruiting and canvassing.”

The other was heard saying: “this time, we are sure there will be no technicalities to stop this Act from going through. We shall have the 2/3 quorum to pass the law.”

The Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 (sponsored by MP David Bahati of Ndorwa West, was  annulled) stipulated:

“it is aggravated homosexuality for an HIV+ve same sex person to engage in sexual intercourse  with another of the same sex. The penalty is life imprisonment.”

“it is aggravated homosexuality for a same sex person to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor of the same sex. The penalty is life imprisonment.”

“it is aggravated homosexuality for a same sex person to engage in sexual intercourse with another same sex persons of consenting age. The penalty is 7 years in prison.”

In Outlawing Same-Sex Marriage, Uganda misses many points:

It demonizes the three parameters of normativity: identity, expression and self determination. The excuses are an overused cookie-cutter, inured to a public that has been denied the reasons entrenching tolerance. 

The public is denied erudition that unpacks identity, expression and self-determination. There is a tendency of painting a picture of an evil lurking in the dark, planning, devising and cunningly luring innocents into homosexuality. This is a fallacy. 

Homosexuality is now marketed as a vote-puller for many Parliamentarians. It fills the vacuum and expectation that comes with outlining manifestos that matter. 

Homosexuality is a readily available red herring, political enthusiasts dangle, to provoke ire, stoke high adrenaline parade chants, rowdy processions, unruly rallies and destructive backlash. At the end of the processions, parades and rallies, the voters are ready to get in lines, fill up ballot boxes and not question what exactly the manifesto was stipulating!

It turns out that those pushing for the Anti-Homosexuality are a breed of a certain age bracket or membership club. It is  a cohort-generation at the risk of base-rate neglect. Presently, there are more youths coming out as non-conforming, intersex, gay or lesbian in Uganda. Times are changing. Even the market  is changing. The global market is wider and accessible via internet. Laws falsely recalling draconian anachronisms such as “Homosexuality is Un African,” only serve to lock us into toxic hegemonic heterosexual traditional inequities. The Anti-Homosexuality Act is an adjunct to laws abusing privacy. Privacy, intellectual property, decency, dignity and sense of fulfillment go hand in hand. Once abused, it will in turn drive or scare away investment and Pariahize Uganda. 

The Anti-Homosexuality Act, is a likely excuse to get into people’s private phones, businesses, bedrooms, patios, beach parties, vacations, outings and homes.

Before Outlawing Same-Sex Marriage Know This:

Let us unpack the term "Homosexuality!"

Do not bundle up the definition, dismiss it and feel you have done society some good. If you do, this is the reason you will still face the issue again.

What you pontifically term "homosexuality," is actually: gender diversity and neurodivergence speaking to you. Crying out to you for attention. Do not hide your head in the sand please. You are dealing with neurodivergent gender diverse persons.

Not all people who are same-sex loving consummate each other through sexual intercourse, some just hug, others are just platonic partners.

Not all people who are same-sex loving who consummate each other sexually, identify as gay or lesbians.

Some people who engaged in same-sex sexual intercourse did so as a result of consequential interactions such as in prison or institutional settings. Many have since shed off that part of life. Or those who are still undergoing this phase will shed it off in near future of their life-span.

Some same-sex attracted persons are celibate for good (obligate) while others are intermittent (facultative). 

Same-sex attracted persons are dignified human beings deserving respect for their private life. 

Same-sex attracted persons are law abiding and denounce any acts of defilement, rape and non-consensual sex. Like any decent Heterosexual person would denounce any acts of defilement, rape and non-consensual sex. Hell! Even corruption! Don’t you know of some next to you, who enriched themselves with money intended to go to People Living With HIV?

Same-sex persons are intellectuals, engineers, medical doctors, bankers, renters, landladies, landlords, sons and daughters of the soil. They contribute to Uganda’s economy like everyone else.

Same-sex couples are as capable of being faithful, supportive, gain emotional well-being as Heterosexual couples.

We should accept in our midst, support those who are neurodivergent gender diverse persons. Stop using the term "homosexuals" or "homosexuality."

The Nature-Nurture Determinism Of Homosexuality (same sex sexuality):

The basis of neurodivergent gender diverse persons:

It is now politically correct to say same-sex or same-gender or neurodivergent gender diverse persons and not homosexuals. When one says “homosexuals,” they assume three things;

a) They assume that homosexuals are not human beings and they are aliens who must have come from other planets.

b) They assume it is okay to correct the anomalies before them, hence the arbitrary physical assault, healing by touching, dehumanizing therapies, healing by raping, extrajudicial arrests, denial of association, talk about them in a very degrading manner possible.

c) They assume that homosexuals are “sex” maniacs incapable of anything else but orgies, bars and lifestyles rooted in debauchery. 

d) They dismiss the fact that these are human beings they are talking about. All human beings are self-recognizing, self-affirming, self-preserving and enjoy agency and autonomy.

The politically correct same-sex/gender descriptor assumes a dignified whole person and affirms their right to life, happiness, liberty and freedoms. This is in turn based on breakthrough science into normativity and life span science.

Humans develop through a combination of nature (stressors for selectivity) and nurture (stressors for cognitive accomplishments) with both permeating each other equally.

The genes are autonomous self driving small robots with specific instructions on how, for instance, a single hair strand will be woven for instance. Nature further provides say, food-based nutrients used as a source of building blocks for the hair.  But, your hands must reach the food, your legs must transport you where the food is, the environment must be such that one can be able to move about. Nature-nurture for you!

The body has autonomous hormones that awash our blood stream with chemicals giving specific instructions on when or where a single hair strand will be woven for instance. It is also up to nurture to provide say, opportunities for you to sense changes in whether. This triggers your innate capacity to thermoregulate. Again, nature-nurture for you!

What ?

To create relations, requires a willingness to associate, trust, groom, bond and be accountable. Humans are self perceiving, self-recognising, self preserving and self determining. They acquire skills to recognize satisfaction. In other words, humans are capable of cognitive accomplishments such as what their body types are, gender other than that assigned at birth is, shared experiences of neurodivergent gender diverse persons, body shapes and who they prefer to associate with. 

In going on about preserving who they are, they select what works for them and what does not. They improvise and adapt.  They are capable of selectivity. They manipulate their environment to live a more fulfilled life. This is what makes people decide to emigrate from their countries of birth. it is what makes humans capable of self evaluation and enjoy decision making. This is also called the power of affordance. Affordance,  is the opportunity for interaction with what is perceived depends on sensory awareness, immediate motivation, current development, and past experience. Humans draw from within their desires and past lessons to inform themselves on how they can benefit or contribute to their own self actualization and transcendence.  

According to life span scientists, it is on this primer, that a disinhibition to create relations, a willingness to associate, trust, grooming, bonding and accountability are nurtured. This is what builds movements, numbers, associations, minorities and majorities. Some scientists refer to these as cohorts. There! It is a group thing.

Why ?

Personality, culture and convention come into play to make humans embody norms, values and beliefs. But, these very elements also produce diversity and behove all of us to embrace  the raw materials of inclusivity. There is need to think beyond dimorphic normativity. According to scientists, a wide range of sexuality, orientation and gender filters are what make us a humanity. All in all, we are our own legacy. In other words, we rely so much on what we go through over a lifetime internally and externally to affirm who we are (Erikson). 

Conventional and culture aligns with normativity (this could be hetero, same sex or pan sexual). Normativity can be affirmed or remain fluid as a result of the accumulated legacy inventoried by one. As they continue to develop, humans go through explainable stages. But these stages are in lock step. The stages are, the age-stage and hierarchy of needs: 

The age-stage stage (theory)

  • Identity versus Role confusion (a combination of identity, values and traditions) This is when humans figure out the four types of identity (sexual/gender, vocational/work, religious/spiritual, and political/ethic). This may enable one set a path to attain a certain identity and it may not necessarily be what the majority except. In some cases, due to pressure from, say parents, a child may agree to do something the parents ask without questioning them ( a stage called foreclosure). Or, the parents may give this child a time-out, allowing the child to find out who she or he really is ( a stage called moratorium).
  • Intimacy versus isolation (humans seek intimacy, collaboration, reciprocating connections with one another). Humans devote time to one another. This turns out to form decisions for intimate relationships whether hetero, same-sex/gender or pan-sexual.
  • Generativity versus stagnation (humans achieve generativity through care, engage in mentorship, teaching and helping others). This is extended to next generations through advocacy, standing in for those who are stigmatized, care, creativity and sacrifice.  This may determine why we have people strongly normed as hetero, same-sex/gender or pan-sexual.
  • Integrity versus despair (the goal to combat prejudice and helping all humanity is wired in many and is so motivating). Humans are connected to the histories, cultures and desires to be who they truly are. So, some people may be drawn to each other by these motives. The desire to care, to be compassionate to the stigmatized, the suffering attracts a big section of people. Why don’t you rather legislate on what will bring about socio-economic-political contexts for equitable development.

The hierarchy of needs theory gives further illumination on the commonality of humans and what motivates people to address or express how their needs are to be addressed (Maslow):

  1. There are physiology needs such as need to satisfy hunger and thirst.
  2. There is a safety need, satisfied by a sense of organization, predictability, safety, stability and security.
  3. The love and belonging need, means that humans desire to love and be loved; belong and be accepted; need to avoid loneliness and alienation.
  4. Humans crave success and esteem. There is a a need for self-esteem, achievement, competence and independence; recognition and respect from one another. 
  5. There is a need to live up to one’s fullest and unique potential. This is called self-actualization.
  6. Then comes a sense of higher achievement and supreme feeling called self transcendence.

The personality Traits (these ones are the reasons behind the choices we make. It is why we achieve ecological niches. It is why we select vocations, mates, locations to stay and adventure):

  1. Openness: The ability to be imaginative, curious,  creative and open to new experiences
  2. Conscientiousness: The ability to be organized, deliberate, conforming and self disciplined
  3. Extroversion: The degree at which one is outgoing, assertive and active
  4. Agreeableness: The state of being kind, helpful, easy-going, generous
  5. Neuroticism: The state of being anxious, moody, self-punishing and critical.

How ?

There is a capacity for  being self driven, self-imposing, self-recalling, self -checking and tolerance. Two important notions come to mind here. Allostatic load and affordance.

Allostatic load is the total combined burden of physiological stresses (power to advocate, ability to withstand burn-out or trauma, fear, anxiety, pain and a higher blood pressure) that an individual lives with.  This contributes to affirmation and the desire to lead the life people are comfortable with.

Affordance, on the other hand, is the opportunity for perception and interaction that a person can retrieve, access by drawing from experiences, learned lessons, places and objects. People look back into their history of attachment. There are preattachment (birth to 6 weeks), attachment in the making (6 weeks to 8 months), classic secure attachment (8-2 years), attachment as affirmation (2-6 years), mutual attachment (6-12 years), new attachment figures (12-18 years), attachment recalibrated (18 years) stages that provide accumulated experiences. This is what brings about the commonly agreed upon or uncommon phenomena. What the scientists call universals and outliers or majorities and minorities. This is the basis of uniqueness that abounds in humanity. One cannot claim to revere humanity but dismiss uniqueness.

When ?

We are our biological-hormonal-genetic-social raw materials. Our bodies grow at different paces, because our body parts don’t all grow at the same pace. For instance, our brain, grows at a different rates (neurological development). The limbic/amygdala system responsible for fear and excitement matures before the prefrontal cortex, where planning ahead , emotional regulation, and impulse control occur. Adolescence is responsible for much of who we become as adults. During adolescence instinctual and emotional areas develop earlier before analytic and reflective ones do. This is a time when one is exposed to novelty, excitement, adventure, relish high-stimulation experiences, high-adrenaline situations or bending gender norms. Adolescence is a time of discovery, arousal, stress and sensory bombardment. It is also a time, when one gets to know about their sexuality, orientation, gender and identity.  This is a time when a boy will  or not pierce the ears,  “throw or not throw like a girl” or “walk or not walk like a girl,” if you get the drift.  A girl will “prefer female or male assigned sports,” be or not to be a “tomboy,” cut off all hair or have or not ambiguous hairstyles. To hell with socio-cultural dictates. Awareness undergoes priming during adolescence due to what is known as adolescent thinking from age 10 years to 19 years. This is a time of brain maturation, intense conversations, schooling, challenges and increased independence. Adolescents begin to differentiate between focusing on one’s self to turning toward an abstract world. This is so due to two aspects: cognitive growth and puberty. 

For cognitive growth to be achieved, one goes through more stages:

  1. Personal fable (narcissism), where one feels unique, destined to be great, praised and on top of the world.
  2. Invincibility fable, where one believes no harm can come to them and no type of alcohol or drugs can intoxicate them.
  3. Imaginary audience, where one believes they are the centre stage and capable of making headlines
  4. Formal operational thought, where one finally is able to apply their thoughts outside of near-by reality or stimuli to abstract things. This is a time when one is able to think about life in a future. 

Puberty and nourishment:

We are our hormones. Previously, we have seen that at adolescence we form new attachment figures when but our brains have underdeveloped response inhibition, emotional regulation and organization, we enjoy risky thrills because our limbic grows faster than prefrontal cortex. This is compounded by the hormones that surge into our body at around this time. Note that all changes of puberty depend on nourishment. So, diet deficiencies of iron, calcium, zinc and other minerals should be addressed. Many transformations take place at puberty such as growth in height, growth in size, weight, muscle and organ growth. Sexual maturation follows these growths. The parts that are directly involved in reproduction such as uterus, vagina, penis and testicles increase dramatically and mature in function. The other features that do not affect reproduction directly, mature around this time too. These are shape of body, voice, hair and agility. Linking sexual interest, masculinity or femininity to sexual orientation or interest, must include that fact that it could be a masculinity-femininity, masculinity-masculinity, femininity-femininity or celibate outcome. This is biology and you don’t need legislation for this.

Where ?

Attachment is a lasting emotional bond between persons and it influences relationships throughout life (Grossman et al., 2005). We have seen that not all people are heterosexually normative. Some are neurodivergent gender diverse persons. Some engage in the love where one leaves the beauty of a woman and settles for a fellow man or where one leaves the man and settles with a woman is possible and may not be about sexual intercourse. It may be because of affinity over a similar experience  people went through. It could be as a result of backlash. It could be as a result of realizing similar likes and dislikes. Please do not assume that all same-sex relations are about sexual intercourse. Although some are. Nevertheless, these relationships thrive and survive. Again, rather than deliberate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, ensure that communities become spaces where individuals can participate in learning entrepreneurship skills, eradicating poverty, HIV and conserve the environment. Uganda has the youngest population below 30 years old in the entire world. Deliberate on how well to position this beautiful nation to be the fulfilling promise for achieving development goals for them and their loved one. We owe this to the younger generation with the resources we have in our cherished Uganda.

Tom, has  provided Life Span Counselling and Suicide Prevention Support since 1999.


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