All India says Stop Killing Gays in Uganda!!

On this World AIDS day 1st December 2012, the sexual minority groups in Mumbai under the aegis of Queer Azaadi Mumbai (QAM) send our best wishes to our fellow community members in Uganda.

On this World AIDS day 1st December 2012, the sexual minority  groups in Mumbai under the aegis of Queer Azaadi Mumbai (QAM) send our best wishes to our fellow community members in Uganda, now facing an imminent Legislation where death sentences and life imprisonment are being contemplated by their  Parliament. The Indian LGBT communities condemn the government of Uganda and urge it to follow the directions of the UN Charter on Human Rights where LGBT citizens of a country must be treated equally without discrimination and free to follow their right to happiness. The Indian sexual minority communities urge the Ugandan government not to come under pressure from fundamentalist groups and legislate discrimination against helpless and voiceless communities which only wish to exist in peace as a fundamental right.

The current HIV prevalence in Uganda is estimated at 6.5 percent among adults and 0.7 percent among children. HIV prevalence is higher in urban areas (10 percent) than rural areas (6 percent).  An estimated 43 percent of new infections occur among people engaged in “mutually monogamous” heterosexual relationships.(ref: www.avert.org)

Women are disproportionately affected, accounting for 57 percent of all adults living with HIV.

The number of new infections (an estimated 120,000 in 2009) exceeds the number of annual AIDS deaths (64,000 in 2009), and it is feared HIV prevalence in Uganda may be rising again.

In spite of the above statistics the Ugandan Government is pushing to implement an Anti –Gay bill that will only drive an already stigmatized population underground. In fact gay men find no mention in Uganda’s strategy for HIV prevention .

This will create fear of access to services and absence of health seeking behavior amongst gay men and increase the HIV prevalence amongst them in a country where already there are one million people living with HIV.

QAM urges the Government of India and its Parliament to protest against the move by Ugandan Government to criminalize same-sex behavior with all its other implications.

As an Indian LGBTI community that is affected by similar Common Wealth Laws, we hope that the Indian Government continues to end discrimination against its LGBTI communities. We hope that the verdict in section 377 case is announced and positive steps to end the stigma and discrimination in India are followed.

QAM will meet on 1st December at The Humsafar Trust to be a part of the World AIDS day activity as well as participate in the march on 4th December to highlight the issue of discriminating laws and policies that devastate LGBTI communities in Uganda.

QAM will protest the Ugandan Anti Gay Bill until the 10th December 2012-Human Rights Day to draw attention to the dangers of laws that become death sentences for its citizens.

‘Queer’ stands for all LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) as well as for Hijra,  Kothi,  Panthi individuals. This is a sexual minority group not accepted by Indian society that recognises only two genders and considers only heterosexual relationships valid.  Queer Azaadi March(QAM) is an expression, a voice, a celebration and a platform to ask for equal rights of these individuals conducted in form of an annual parade in Mumbai. QAM also advocates for LGBTI equality through media, new age media and more importantly in real spaces.

Contact:             Pallav Patankar: 9619012251                                            Harish Aiyyar : 9833100340

About the guest author

Pallav Patankar

Director-HIV Programs @ The Humsafar Trust