My cursory observation is that it is often the case discussions on homosexuality intensify in Uganda when there is a need to divert our attention from something else we should be paying attention to. They often seem like a red herring. This is because, generally, in Uganda, sexuality, sexual relationships, are rarely discussed, if at all. Certainly not to the extent that homosexuality is discussed.
Even public displays of affection by a heterosexual married couple is frowned upon. Why then the seeming obsession with discussing and making unnecessary alarms about the ‘scourge of same sex relationships’?
From a cultural anthropological perspective this obsession with homosexuality baffles me.
By the way, I can authoritatively state that those of the view that homosexuality is an import into African ways of life are wrong. Homosexuals have existed among Ugandan first nations even before the colonial period and they were treated with similar indifference that heterosexuals are treated. Read more here.
As a matter of fact, I think I know a man from our community, who served in the King’s African Rifles, who was a homosexual. He peacefully lived his life as such in full knowledge and view of the community in which he lived 40 or so years ago. He died of natural causes. I was a little girl then and I am simply putting two and two together. He had a wife and children living in the same compound, yes, but he was often in the company of boys/men in his hut, and it was said that he ‘liked boys’. He was masculine looking.
And I knew another one, who dressed in a gomesi (woman’s dress). I saw him often when he was at the spring well collecting water and interacting freely with the women. He had a feminine voice, but perhaps deeper than of most women. Yes, there is a word in Ateso, ebwacit, which means “a man behaving like a woman,” and I did hear people refer to him as ebwacit.
So, again, I ask, why the obsession with same sex relationships when it is the general norm that speaking about sexual relationships is a taboo? This is to the extent that defilers and rapists of young girls get away with it as long as it is heterosexual.
Dear fellow Ugandans, let us have a honest constructive conversation about homosexuality please. Is it the best use of time for the Parliament of Uganda to spend on an issue that is not improving the well being of Ugandans materially and otherwise? How is homosexuality the biggest problem and most urgent problem that needs solving by our legislative arm of government? Really, how?