Uganda’s ‘Red Pepper’ – defending the indefensible.

redpepperIn 2011, the unfathomably brave gay rights activist David Kato was brutally murdered in Uganda, after a newspaper in the country published his name and photograph and demanded his execution. In 2014, A day after Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda signed the anti-gay bill into law, the nations homophobic tabloid newspaper ‘Red Pepper’ launched a brand new witch hunt, by releasing a ‘top 200 homosexuals’ front page, designed to incite the same hate and violence toward the LGBT community in Uganda that led to the horrendous death of David Kato.

It is very difficult to reason with the mentality of people who, when asked why they care more about what two consenting adults do in their home, rather than the growing number of child abuse cases, said:

“Ah, But it is the right kind of child rape. It is men raping girls and that is natural.”

– Simon Lokodo. Uganda Minister for Ethics & Integrity. Here is a man who seeks to oppress the rights of the adult gay community, whilst championing the sexual abuse of children. That is the nature of the men who currently run Uganda. Men that shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near children. And so it is perhaps futile to reason with them, but reason can be a powerful weapon and it is worth trying.

‘Red Pepper’ in their support for the anti-gay law, posted the warped and child-like reasoning of the President on their Twitter feed here:

– I thought I’d address both points. Both points are of course primarily hateful rather than based on reason, and so even if the claims were true, would be no excuse for oppression and hate. But I wanted to focus on the points specifically, given that this is their attempt to defend the indefensible.

The second point is the easiest to dismiss. A state has no inherent right to abuse its citizens without consequence, in much the same way that a parent – let’s call that parent ‘Simon’ – does not have an inherent right to abuse his children without consequence, or without others stepping in to stop the abuse from continuing. The gay community in Uganda should not have to live in fear for their lives, or to have to live without the basic human need to express love and enjoy happiness, and they should absolutely be protected by the international community. It is not a ‘Western value’ to not oppress others. It is a universal right to be free from such vicious oppression. It should be considered far more important to defend that right, than it is to ‘respect’ a government’s decision to abuse that right. The Ugandan government does not own those people, it is not free to abuse and oppress the fundamental human rights of anyone. The rights of all should not be at the mercy of the religious dictates of anyone else. There is no inherently supreme sexuality that has the right to command others to do as they say. The spectrum of sexuality is amoral. I have no more right to oppress the rights of a gay person, than a gay person has the right to oppress me. Heterosexual privilege is therefore not natural, it is ideological. Much like white supremacy is not natural, it is ideological. The government of Uganda and Red Pepper are the abusive parent, endangering the lives of their citizens, simply for whom they fall in love with. It is ideological and nothing more. National borders – like the four walls of the home – do not change the oppressive and abusive nature of the ‘parent’. Uganda has legalised abuse, discrimination, and oppression based on supremacist ideals of one group. Completely absurd, dangerous, and unjustifiable.

On the second point, ‘Red Pepper’ and the President promoted the line of reasoning taken up by the sponsor of the bill, Ugandan MP David Bahati, who said that homosexuality was a:

“…behaviour that can be learned and can be unlearned”.

– This is of course, not based on reality, but on an attempt to enshrine Christian ‘values’ into law. It’s simply what Christian extremists would like to be true. We should be under no illusion that ‘Red Pepper’ or those who back the anti-gay law have any justification based on anything but tribal myths. As with most enforced religious morality, if human dignity, human rights, justice or reason conflict with those tribal myths, they are considered less valuable and to be oppressed. As with all ideologies that seek state power; there are always those who are considered less than equal. Whether it be Jewish people in a Fascist state, or gay people in a Theocratic state. The powerful in an ideology-drive state, will always oppress those who do not fit its dictates. In this case, the right of Christians to oppress, is given supremacy over the right of those who don’t fit its antiquated system of moral righteousness, to not be abused. This is indefensible.

Contrary to what ‘Red Pepper’ tweeted, the scientific community is fully aware that sexuality genetic natural spectrum with no one sexual orientation being “right” and another “wrong”. That isn’t how nature works. That’s how ideologies work. We know that sexuality is a spectrum echoed throughout the natural World. Since a review by Canadian researcher and biologist Bruce Bagemihl in 1999, it has been widely understood that at least 1,500 species have been shown to exhibit homosexual tendencies. At least 10% of the population of domesticated sheep, are exclusively homosexual. A study in London by M.J Cole noted that homosexual behaviour in Giraffes tends to be more common than heterosexual behaviour. The African Lion has been noted to have homosexual tendencies.

On human sexuality, A wonderful in-depth study by Binbin Wang et al, found that allele types differed greatly between homosexual men and heterosexual men. A further study by Sven Bocklandt et al, found that mothers of gay sons, have higher rates of extreme skewing of X-Chromosome inactivation, than those without gay sons.

Another study – and more recently – showed that a section of the X Chromosome called Xq28 influenced sexuality. The same is true of an area of chromosome 8. The theory being that genes in the region of Xq28 – passed from mother to son, and linked to sexual orientation – make women who carry them far more fertile, hence surviving the harsh realities of natural selection. Here is a further study that links genetic material passed down on the X Chromosome, to both homosexuality, and the fertility of the female. Study after study after study show that genetics plays a role in determining sexuality, that it isn’t a “behaviour”, it is a natural spectrum. To suggest otherwise, is both uneducated, and based solely on the advancement of an oppressive ideology.

Dr. Jerome Goldstein, Director of the San Francisco Clinical Research Center, says:

“Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice, it is primarily neurobiological at birth.”

– Goldstein continues:

“Using volumetric studies, there have been findings of significant cerebral amygdala size differences between homosexual and heterosexual subjects. Sex dimorphic connections were found among homosexual participants in these studies.”

In fact, there is not one reputable scientific source that will in any way suggest that sexuality is merely a ‘behaviour’ as suggested by the Theocrats in Uganda who seek to justify the unjustifiable. None. This includes:
The American Psychiatric Association, The World Health Organisation, The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The Academy of Pediatrics, The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists Council on Child and Adolescent Health, The British Psychological Society, The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. All of these intensely reputable sources, with a wealth of research and evidence, will all tell you that sexuality, is part of a natural spectrum. There is no debate here. The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists released a statement to:

“…clarify that homsexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.”

– Further, Alfred Kinsey, the great biologist noted:

“Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.”

– This fundamental fact of nature is only ever opposed by those who seek to harm others. I cannot imagine how terrified gay individuals in Uganda must be right now. No one deserves to be abused, everyone deserves the right to love, and to pursue their own happiness, free from supremacist oppression based on any ideology. .

Therefore, both points promoted by ‘Red Pepper’ and President Museveni do not stand up to simple scrutiny. They exist only as a smokescreen to mask the true intent; to promote the supremacy of one ideology, and abuse and oppress those who don’t fit its violent and irrational dictates. It is a weak attempt to justify the inherent desire to control others, through abuse. This is echoed in the chilling comment on child abuse, by the horrendously named Minister for ‘Ethics and Integrity’.

Like an abusive parent full of excuses, the powerful in Uganda have given themselves the ‘right’ to abuse others. The international community should work to protect the LGBT community of Uganda from the extremists that wish them harm. That is the absolute right thing to do.

One Response to Uganda’s ‘Red Pepper’ – defending the indefensible.

  1. […] work. I wrote on the science of sexuality in response to Uganda’s rejection of basic science here and so wont go into detail again, but needless to say; Ssempa is entirely wrong. As I noted in the […]

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