Over the weekend I received this from psychiatrist David Scasta:
I want to thank you for keeping me and the American Psychiatric Association apprised of the situation in Uganda regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill – which failed to make it on the agenda of the last Ugandan Parliamentary Plenary but apparently is being resurrected in a modified form for the current Plenary. As you know, the American Psychiatric Association was alarmed that there has been a credible attempt to criminalize homosexuality in Uganda with draconian punishment that includes the death penalty. While the APA likely will not comment on the religious dynamics behind the bill, the APA can comment on the psychiatric implications of the bill and the quality of the scientific pronouncements about homosexuality by Ugandan mental health organizations.
By way of context, the APA is the largest psychiatric organization in the world, numbering almost 38,000 members. On May 14, 2011 the legislative Assembly of the APA passed legislation without dissent putting the APA in opposition to criminalization of homosexuality and reiterating the APA’s longstanding positions about homosexuality that decry stigmatization and discrimination. The Assembly’s legislation made its way up to the Joint Reference Committee and the Council on Minority Mental Health and Mental Health Disparities. The Joint Reference Committee then called upon the APA Board of Trustees to direct the President of the APA to write to the President of Uganda and the Speaker of Parliament expressing the APA’s concern about the health and safety of Ugandan gay and lesbian citizens. Dr. John Oldham, the current president of the APA, sent that letter on July 26, 2011. I attach that letter for your readers’ perusal.
Thank you again for keeping all of us informed about this critical issue for the African continent.
David L. Scasta, M.D., DFAPA
Representative to the Assembly of the APA
Association of Gay & Lesbian Psychiatrists
Vice-chair, Assembly Allied Organizations Committee
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Temple University Medical School
The letter from Dr. Oldham is attached and is addressed to President Museveni, Speaker of Parliament Kadaga and David Bahati, mover of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. It also is copied to Charles Tuhaise, the President of the National Association of Social Workers – Uganda. That group has endorsed the AHB which seemed to bring motivation to the APA to go on record opposing the bill and criminalization of homosexuality in general.