Earlier this evening, the American Psychiatric Association’s legislative body formally condemned the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. Their action will now go to the APA Board of Trustees where it is expected to become official APA policy.
Although the bill appears to be finished for this Parliament, it may be back during the next one. The APA reps wanted to make clear to mental health professionals in Uganda that the proposed bill was counter to professional guidance. Here is the action paper:
Title: Ugandan Anti-homosexuality Bill
Whereas: The Hon. David Bahati, a member of the Ugandan Parliament, has introduced an Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the Ugandan Parliament calling for:
- Seven years of imprisonment for anyone who attempts to engage in homosexual contact
- Life imprisonment for anyone who engages in sexual penetration of a member of the same gender;
- Death for “aggravated homosexuality” which includes repeated offenses of homosexuality or engaging in a homosexual act while HIV-positive.
- Imprisonment of up to three years for failing to report violations of the statute within 24 hours of awareness of the offense
Whereas: The bill is based on a misguided attempt to “protect” the traditional heterosexual family from corruption and to prevent the corruption of traditional Ugandan concepts of morality by Western influences;
Whereas: the bill is predicated on the assertion that “same-sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic” and that Ugandans can be seduced into homosexuality if Western thought takes hold;
Whereas: the Ugandan National Association of Social Workers has issued a position paper supporting the concept that homosexuality is pathological drawing from religious concepts and from “scientific” studies of 50 years ago that have long since been discredited by the scientific community;
Whereas: the death penalty is mandated for HIV positive gay people who engage in same sex contact but a similar penalty is not mandated for HIV positive heterosexual people who engage in sexual relations despite the fact that, in Africa, the primary mode of HIV transmission is through heterosexual sexual contact;
Whereas: the Ugandan tabloid, the Rolling Stone, called for gays to be lynched and published a list of people alleged to be gay;
Whereas: at least one gay activist in Uganda has been murdered after being listed in the Rolling Stone — which Ugandan police have attributed to a robbery;
Be It Resolved: That the American Psychiatric Association reaffirms its position that there is no credible scientific evidence that same sex attraction is pathological, chosen, needs “cure,” or entails threat to heterosexual families or to children;
That the American Psychiatric Association condemns societal scapegoating and stigmatization of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people anywhere in the world;
That the American Psychiatric Association condemns criminalization of homosexual behavior and calls upon the Ugandan legislature to reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Refer to: Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities
Author or Authors:
David L. Scasta, M.D., DFAPA, AAOL for the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists
I helped work on this paper and believe that, once official policy, the APA will use this statement to reach out to Uganda’s mental health and medical communities in the coming months.