LGBTQ people in Uganda need safe shelter and medical supplies after recent homophobic attacks and the passing of an Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Help the Children of the Sun Foundation defend LGBTQ Ugandans’ human rights!
What you need to know:
- The Ugandan President just signed one of the harshest anti-LGBTQ laws in the world, threatening LGBTQ people with dangerous conditions in prison or the death penalty
- The Children of the Sun Foundation fights for LGBTQ people’s rights in Uganda, as well as responding to their immediate needs of shelter and medical attention
- The foundation's founder told CNN he fears people will take the law into their own hands and harm LGBTQ Ugandans. "We are going to die," he said.
- The foundation is looking for funds to provide safe shelter and medical care to the LGBTQ community near Uganda’s capital in a time of extreme danger and fear
The situation facing LGBTQ-identifying people in Uganda is getting increasingly dire. The Children of The Sun Foundation (COSF) is an organization working to protect the LGBTQ community in Uganda, but it faces violence and oppression. The COSF runs a health clinic offering medication and safe-sex supplies to Ugandan sexual and gender minorities — who often face discrimination in other medical settings. The foundation runs a shelter for people kicked out of their homes because of who they are or who they love. COSF needs support to keep its essential operations going!
During the COVID-19 pandemic, police raided the COSF shelter and arrested 20 of the shelter's members and residents. The 20 people arrested were originally charged with conducting “homosexual acts” in the shelter. However, because the government had no proof, the charges were changed to disobeying COVID-19 laws. The COSF community members were taken to jail and told they would face court in 8 days. Those 8 days became 52.
[TW: sexual violence/ torture] For 52 days, the COSF members were subjected to brutal violence from prison guards and other prisoners. They were beaten and given inedible food as well as worm-infested water. They were subjected to beatings and the burning of the genitals. COSF’s Executive Director was unable to contact or speak with his lawyers outside the prison until the last day of their confinement. On the 52nd day, all of the group members were released — except for one. One member was forced to stay behind in these dangerous conditions due to paperwork errors.
Now, the Ugandan government has passed a new law criminalizing homosexuality. The 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill confirms the already-existing punishment for ‘same-sex conduct’ — life imprisonment. The bill punishes ‘attempts at same-sex conduct’ with a punishment of 10 years. “Aggravated homosexuality” — which applies to “serial offenders” or people in same-sex relations with a disabled person — will be punished with the death penalty.
The law also bans the “promotion of homosexuality,” which could include advocating for or financially supporting any LGBTQ group or individual. This prevents LGBTQ+ rights groups, shelters and clinics from their day-to-day operations. It bans these organizations from advertising, publishing, printing, broadcasting, or distributing material that “promotes/encourages homosexuality.” The law states that anyone who fails to report someone they suspect of same-sex acts can be fined or serve 6 months in prison.
COSF's founder told CNN he fears people will take the law into their own lands.
"We are going to be tortured," he said "I am just scared now about what is next. People have been waiting for the bill to be signed and then they will work on us. We are going to die.”
Even before the bill was signed, increasing homophobic sentiment made life more dangerous for LGBTQ people in Uganda. COSF leadership reports increased acts of violence against community members — with beatings, stabbings and cutting of genitals occurring daily — as well as LGBTQ people’s neighbors reporting them for homosexuality to the police.
The Children of the Sun needs money in order to relocate shelter residents to new locations where they will be safer — now that the original shelter's security is threatened — and buy medicine for the LGBTQ community as violent attacks against them become even more frequent.