12/18/2009 01:07 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Uganda Antigay Sentiments Hit Close To Home

In his State of the Union Address in January 2003, President George W. Bush gave one of his more eloquent and moving speeches about his upcoming HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention program, and included specific praise for the African country of Uganda in paving the way to lower AIDS population rates on the continent. This fall, the international community, feeling helpless and stunned, watched as severe antigay legislation was introduced in Uganda on Oct. 14, which called for a life imprisonment sentence for homosexual acts and the death sentence for those engaging in homosexual activity repeatedly and for any HIV-positive person doing so.

The current law in Uganda states that anyone who identifies as a homosexual, bisexual, or transgender should be sentenced to a minimum of 14 years imprisonment. While 14 years is the stated term, being convicted as an LGBT person commonly results in a life sentence. While it has never been safe to identifying as a gay person in Uganda, the bill introduced October 14, if passed, would make a nonstraight lifestyle impossible in the African country. The new legislation calls for a life sentence as a minimum punishment for any LGBT person and further states that anyone who fails to report a homosexual to the government within 24 hours.... READ ON IN MY ADVOCATE.COM POSTING HERE: