What’s Sex Got to do With… Uganda?

Uganda Anti-Gay Law Struck Down by Court – Aug 1, 2014


In the article entitles “Global and transnational sexualities,” the author makes a point to address the effect of globalization on non-Western countries. They describe this reaction to either be positive, and result in “sexual subcultures within countries rejecting rigid sexual and gender binaries,” or negative, and lead to a framing of acceptance of non-normative sexual expression as a “symptom of Western cultural imperialism.” What this means is that in reaction to the growing turmoil, acceptance, and media coverage of things like the same-sex marriage debate in the Western world, other countries as a whole feel pressured to either accept these new standards, or reject them altogether.

When I read this article, I remember flashing back to 2009, when Uganda passed an anti-gay bill so merciless, that even the suspicion of one being gay could result in a death sentence by the state. Here we see the governing force of the land trying to not only dictate moral scripts of its inhabitants, but literally force these discourses of morality onto them. Only this year was the bill overturned, and the country will most likely experience much more debate before the issue is finally settled. The most disturbing part of this situation is the fact that a support group of pastors from our country pledged to support Uganda in their quest to “rid their country of the gays.” In fact, it was a group of anti-gay pastors from the United States who helped the Ugandan president draft the original bill. So this is to say that what we may see as a debate that rages on only in our country can have deadly consequences for those outside of it, like David Kato, an outspoken gay rights activist who was beaten to death with a hammer in Uganda, in the wake of this 2009 bill.

Even though the Western world as a whole is considered intellectually progressive on a lot of issues, the United States is still the least progressive of these countries. Our battle for acceptance of gay marriage in all states still wages on, and this prolonged dispute seems to not only be affecting our marginalized citizens negatively, but also those within other countries.

Do you think the average member of Western society understands the implications of globalization detailed in this article? Do you think if they were made aware they would do anything different? By being complicit in a system which affects so many, do we have a responsibility to demand more accepting scripts of understanding? This is to say – to what extent are we responsible for the deaths of those killed in response to this bill?

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