Nairobi — One of the contradictions I came across this week in the Ugandan newspapers was a press conference called by homosexuals, asking to be left in peace.
A press conference is a sure way of attracting attention and this seems to be exactly what they wanted. If, as they say, people with this problem have been around a long time, why is it only now they are coming out in the open?
And they are going about it the same way other countries have. Most of the Western worlds have witnessed nasty demonstrations of homosexuals in the streets - Italy and Poland most recently - with the kind of behaviour you would like to keep away from everyone. What kind of explanation can a mother give an inquisitive child who wants to know what such people are protesting against?
Was the press conference the first step to making this practice acceptable? Are they just testing the waters, and assessing the response in a traditional and conservative society, such as Uganda, which is more tolerant and less puritanical than Kenya?
Their claims and demands were over the mark. They claim they are the "homosexual children of God". This is hardly fair. Didn't God destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, where homosexuality was practised?
The effect was such that this area, near the present Red Sea, is still, thousands of years later, sterile and hostile to human habitation. St Paul's Letter to the Romans (chapter 1), in the context of idolatry and the marginalisation of God, condemns those who dishonour their bodies and served the creature rather than the Creator Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men, likewise, were consumed by passion for one.
These people are saying there are at least 500,000 adult homosexuals in Uganda. That's a big number. And how did they reach this figure? Citing the Kinsey Report and other studies, they conclude that in Uganda between three and 10 per cent of the population is inclined this way. Such a conclusion hardly stands up to serious scrutiny. Besides, three to 10 per cent is a wide range.
Healthcare and proper treatment
In addition, they are demanding healthcare and proper treatment. For what? For their behaviour? They also claim that they were accepted in their communities before the colonialists came. Homosexuality is unAfrican. Slave traders brought it to Buganda.
It was considered an abomination in most cultures.
The Ugandan Penal Code criminalises homosexuality. It is considered an unnatural offence, punishable with life imprisonment. This code is based on British law. Now more countries are repealing laws against homosexuality and, predictably, the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction.
Not only is homosexuality no longer considered abnormal, it is now acceptable. Recently, orphanages in the UK were told they should be willing to hand over the custody of children to same sex couples. What kind of upbringing can a poor orphan expect in an arrangement like this?
Many people fear that we are accepting the bad habits of the West, without thinking or reacting, and before long will have legalised same-sex marriages like South Africa.
This is not to deny that some people (a small proportion) grow up with a certain homosexual tendency, which can be corrected.
If anyone justly claims the right to treatment and understanding it is these people. But this is different to declaring that the condition is irreversible, and that society has to make the necessary adjustments and allowances for their behaviour.
Some are born with a tendency towards kleptomania, but no judge will be so understanding as to let them steal other people's property. Others are born with a brutal nature. Others, regrettably, inherit a pre-disposition to alcohol from a dipsomaniac father or grandfather. These people need help, and can be helped if they co-operate.
They should also remember that most well intentioned people feel sorry for them. No one has anything against them; but people are repulsed by their acts, and no normal society can condone such behaviour.
Our sorrow reaches a limit when they display their weaknesses publicly, and expect to be given special treatment, instead of struggling against their tendencies and seeking medical, moral and psychological advice.