NBJC Calls on the U.S. Government to Support Our LGBT Brothers and Sisters in Uganda
Washington, D.C.– The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading Black LGBT civil rights organization, strongly condemns the so-called “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Under this anti-gay law, anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts in Uganda will be sentenced to life in prison. The bill also proposes years in prison for anyone who counsels or reaches out to gay and lesbian Ugandans, a provision that would dangerously complicate humanitarian work and implicate those providing services to Uganda’s LGBT community.
“These horrific, inhumane abuses are happening under our watch,” says Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and CEO. “As we work vigorously to end racism and homophobia, it is essential that we petition our government here in the United States to take a stand against these international tragedies that are occurring daily to our Black LGBT brothers and sisters overseas.”
Uganda is among more than 70 countries in which being gay remains criminalized. On the continent of Africa, specifically, government-encouraged intolerance of LGBT relationships and activism is widespread. According to human rights groups, more than two-thirds of African countries outlaw consensual same-sex acts, and discrimination against LGBT people is commonplace. Earlier this year, Nigeria passed an anti-gay law, which contains penalties of up to 14 years in prison and bans marriage equality, same-sex relationships and membership in a gay rights group.
The United States Department of State has confirmed an internal review of our relationship with the government of Uganda. President Obama also previously stated that signing the anti-gay bill “will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.” According to The Wall Street Journal, Western nations collectively give over $2 billion in aid to Uganda. NBJC calls on the Obama Administration to withhold all aid to Uganda, with the exclusion of HIV/AIDS resources that are vital to the survival of so many Ugandans.
“We must take all the necessary steps to bring voice to the millions of Black LGBT people who are living under governments that blatantly legalize violence, stigma and discrimination,” adds Lettman-Hicks. “NBJC calls on the U.S. Department of State to expedite the asylum process for all Ugandans affected by this oppressive and inhumane law.”
NBJC, a domestically focused organization, is currently revising its institutional policy provisions to take a stand internationally. Increasing acceptance and respect for Black LGBT people in every corner of the globe will guide the organization’s agenda as it continues to build a more safe and inclusive nation and world.
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia.