(OF) Less than a month had passed since Ugandan police raided the countries fifth annual Pride celebration. In that month, advocates have stood up in hopes of changing the laws and public perception. But, the waters in Uganda for queer people are still dangerous.
Officials have recently taken an 8-year-girl into custody on suspicion of ‘lesbianism.’
Queer people in Uganda have no specific protections. Both male and female homosexual activity is illegal. Under the Penal Code, “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” between two males carries a potential penalty of life imprisonment. In November 2012, the speaker of the Parliament of Uganda promised to enact a revised anti-homosexuality bill, providing for harsher penalties against suspected LGBT people and anyone who fails to report them to authorities, including long-term imprisonment and the death penalty for what the law terms “repeat offenders”.
Uganda, thankfully, voted down that measure, but current law still holds that anyone found engaging in sexual activities with members of the same sex could face life imprisonment.
Related: Uganda Cracks Down On Pride
Jinja Police Child Family Protection, based in the eastern part of the country, states that they apprehended the girl because she was seeking “romantic relationships” with other girls her age.
The girl was reported to have been seeking “romantic relations’ with other girls her age.
According to police, a neighbor spied on the young girl as she repeatedly “lured” friends to a farm near her house. Once there, the neighbor claims that she and her friends would engage in inappropriate behavior with one another.
The neighbor reported her findings to police who then took the girl in for questioning. In their investigation, they determined that she had not only been acting out her “lesbianism” on the farm with friends, but also with classmates at school.
Officials are now looking into the parents of the girl to see if they might have influenced her decision to engage in these “illicit relationships.”