Lifestyle & Belief

You will not believe the appalling things Ugandans in power are saying about gay people


A religious leader addresses a Ugandan anti-gay rally at Jinja, Kampala, Feb. 14, 2010.


Trevor Snapp

If actions speak louder than words, then Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, screamed on Monday.

That's the day he signed into law the infamous anti-gay bill, which defines some homosexual acts as crimes punishable by life in prison.

But still, there have been so many upsetting things said by those in power in Uganda on the matter. Here's a selection from recent years:


1. Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda

(Marcel Mochet/AFP/Getty Images)

Museveni had gone back and forth over whether he wanted to sign the bill. Back in January, he said he wouldn't sign it because gay people were "sick" and in need of rehabilitation, not imprisoment. 

But this month he changed his tune, saying there is definitively no gene for homosexuality and it is merely a choice people make to embrace "abnormal" behavior.

He said at the signing:

"I could not understand why a man could fail to be attracted to the beauties of a woman and, instead, be attracted to a fellow man. It meant, according to me, that there was something wrong with that man — he was born a homosexual — abnormal.

"Since my original thesis that there may be people who are born homosexual has been disproved by science, then the homosexuals have lost the argument in Uganda. They should rehabilitate themselves and society should assist them to do so."

Here is a full transcript.


2. Simon Lokodo, ethics and integrity minister

(Trevor Snapp/AFP/Getty Images)

Defending Museveni's decision to sign the bill, Lokodo expressed his various anatomical concerns about homosexuality to The Guardian last week.

"Excretion is through the anus, like the exhaust of an engine. The human body receives what it takes from the mouth. They're twisting nature the wrong way. Homosexuality will destroy humanity because there is no procreation; it will destroy health because the backsides will not hold."

In 2013, Lokodo told English actor Stephen Fry — who was in Uganda working on his documentary "Out There," about what it's like to be gay in different parts of the world — why Ugandans are more concerned with what gays do in the privacy of their homes than with the high incidence of men raping girls.

Fry: There’s so much more to worry about in your country than the odd gay person going to bed with the other gay person. For example, you have almost an epidemic of child rape in this country, which is just frightening.

Lokodo: Ah, But it is the RIGHT kind of child rape. It is men raping girls and that is natural.

Here is Fry giving his version (min. 5:05):


3. Martin Ssempa, Ugandan pastor

In a now-infamous speech at a press conference in January 2010, Ssempa shocked reporters by showing them hard-core gay porn. The following month, he showed extreme gay porn to his church congregation that included minors.

The video below, widely circulated on the internet as "Eat da poo poo," captures the essence of his anti-homosexuality campaign:

Ssempa, of the "Task Force Against Homosexuality," has also become known for depicting fisting and anilingus at conferences.

He went on Uganda television in December 2012 and demonstrated with fruit and vegetables how he believes gay men and women have sex.

Ssempa said the “anus is for exit only,” and illustrated his opinion with a banana.


4. David Bahati, Ugandan parliamentarian

(Trevor Snapp/AFP/Getty Images)

Bahati, who introduced the anti-gay bill in 2009, told the Guardian this week that Museveni's signing into law was a victory for all. 

"This is a victory for the family of Uganda, a victory for the future of our children…"

Investigative journalist Jeff Sharlett recalls meeting Bahati in 2010. NPR reports:

"Bahati said: 'If you come here, you'll see homosexuals from Europe and America are luring our children into homosexuality by distributing cell phones and iPods and things like this,' " Sharlet recounts.

"And he said, 'And I can explain to you what I really want to do.' " Sharlet accompanied Bahati to a restaurant and later to his home, where Bahati told Sharlet that he wanted "to kill every last gay person."

"It was a very chilling moment, because I'm sitting there with this man who's talking about his plans for genocide, and has demonstrated over the period of my relationship with him that he's not some back bencher — he's a real rising star in the movement," Sharlet says. "This was something that I hadn't understood before I went to Uganda, that this was a guy with real potential and real sway and increasingly a following in Uganda."