Scientific report has been manipulated to justify Uganda's anti-gay law
The Ugandan president on February 12, signed a bill that provides for harsh penalties for homosexual behavior, reaching the imprisonment mechanism.
The law signed by the president Yoweri Museveni comes into force at a time of tension for the gay community on the African continent. About a month ago, the president of Nigeria had already passed an anti-gay law, a fact that increased the number of cases of violence against homosexuals in Nigeria. Museveni claims to have been persuaded by a scientific advisory committee that homosexuality has no proven genetic basis and can therefore be "learned and unlearned" for the uprising of researchers involved in the formulation of the document.
International organizations and governments in other countries oppose the enactment of legislation. In a statement, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said:
Experience from other jurisdictions with similar draconian laws, such as Nigeria and Russia, indicates that their implementation is often followed by an outbreak of violence against individuals who are presumed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
According to Ugandan law, "grievous" acts - defined as the repeated practice of consensual gay sex between two adults and the practice of homosexual acts involving minors, the disabled and people living with HIV - are punishable by life imprisonment. Also prohibited are the "promotion" and "attempt" of homosexuality, respectively, the dissemination of pornographic material or funding of homosexual rights groups and touching a person with the intention of "committing acts of homosexuality," the newspaper reported Folha de S. Paul. The initial text of the law included the death penalty for some cases, but this excerpt was removed after international criticism.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has confirmed that the country will conduct an "internal review" of its relations with the Ugandan government, including those on financial assistance programs, a position reiterated by President Barack Obama. The World Bank, in turn, has postponed the granting of a loan to the African nation's $ 90 million healthcare system, according to spokesman David Theis, to ensure that "development goals would not be adversely affected by promulgation of this law ".
Museveni accused "arrogant and careless Western groups" of trying to recruit Ugandan children into homosexuality through prostitution, although they have not officially identified these alleged groups. "We have been disappointed long ago with the conduct of the West. Now there is an attempt at social imperialism, "said the president.
Manipulation of results
Before signing the anti-gay law, Museveni asked a group of scientists from the Ministry of Health and Makerere University in Kampala, capital of Uganda, to organize a report that could answer whether (i) there is a genetic / scientific basis for homosexuality, and whether (ii) homosexuality can be learned and unlearned. The report to which the president and the high-level leadership of the NRM (political party of the current president) had access, entitled "Scientific Statement on Homosexuality"Can be read (in English) here.
NRM spokeswoman Evelyn Anite told the press that, after hearing the scientists, the president demanded their signatures in the dissertation, as it would be "a historical document" in laying the foundation for ratification of the bill. Undeterred, the scientists responsible for the work give their version of what happened.
"They cited our work erroneously," he said. Paul Bangirana, a psychologist at Makerere University and a member of the team of experts, to the magazine's online portal Science. "The report does not say anywhere that homosexuality is not genetic, and we have not said that it can be unlearned," he adds. Two of the 11 members of the advisory committee have resigned their posts in opposition to the use of the report to create legislation.
Among the propositions of this work, it is emphasized that "sexual expression is a function of biology, psychology, sociology and anthropology", the latter including cultural and religious influences. Ahead, "all sexual functions are determined by genes and their interactions with the environment." Therefore, the causes of homosexuality may be "biological, social, environmental, psychological, or a combination of them."
The report acknowledges that the current science has not identified a gene solely responsible for homosexual behavior but embraces the hypothesis that it is not a disease. In addition, "[G] ethically, homosexuality represents one of the variants of 'sexual orientation' possible in the same species. As is the case with many human behavioral variants, the evolution and emergence of self-identification of someone as 'homosexual'"Must be governed by innate and acquired characteristics.
Dean Hamer, a geneticist (quoted by the Ugandan study) who discovered the first evidence that homosexuality probably has some genetic causes, ensures that the Ugandan report conforms to the science of sexual orientation.
Although researchers have concluded that homosexuality is not a disease, nor an abnormality, the NRM party convention interpreted it as "not a disease but merely an abnormal behavior that can be learned through life experiences"
In an interview with African Center for Media Excellence, Bangirana revealed to be personally disappointed:
"We did not say that homosexuality is an abnormality. We categorically affirm that it is not an abnormality. We also report that there may be a biological basis for behavior, but there is no conclusive link for the time being. They [the party convention] left out some vital facts in our report. "
Dr. Bangirana says it is understandable that some media reports were produced by journalists who did not have the report at hand, "[w] hen they had the report, they have a responsibility to inform the nation on the basis of factual reports ".
Note from the editor of seropositivo.org. Anti-gay law, to me, is a tight-knit thing. Where did you first meet?
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