Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, on homosexuality:
“The question at the core of the debate on homosexuality is what do we do with an abnormal person? Do we kill him/her? Do we imprison him/her? Or we do contain him/her?” the president was quoted as writing in a letter to parliament.
He said that homosexuality was caused by either “random breeding” or a need to make money.
And lesbians, he said, chose female partners because of “sexual starvation” and the failure to marry a man. But he said improving the nation’s economy would stop people becoming gay.
Museveni continued: “You cannot call an abnormality an alternative orientation. It could be that the Western societies, on account of random breeding, have generated many abnormal people,” he said, adding that other people became gay for “mercenary reasons”, or, in the case of lesbians, a lack of sex with men.
The report said the president believed that improving Uganda’s economy – including rapid industrialisation and modernising agriculture – was the best way to “rescue” young people from the risk of “disgusting behaviour”.
Here’s the thing: when he wrote all this in a letter to the parliament, Museveni was actually arguing against a bill that the Ugandan parliament recently passed that would imprison gays and lesbians for life. He’s refusing to sign the bill into law, and facing accusations of kowtowing to Western pressure. In Uganda, the guy who calls gays “abnormal” and argues that lesbians are lesbians just because they haven’t found a man is actually one of the more tolerant political figures in the country. This is as close to “it’s not a ‘lifestyle choice'” as any Ugandan politician is likely to get anytime soon. Don’t take my word for it:
Prominent Ugandan gay rights activist Frank Mugisha told AFP that the president’s decision not to endorse the bill was nevertheless “progress” and may be a sign that his stance was softening — given that politicians have previously insisted homosexuality was only a lifestyle choice.
“The president’s view is evolving but he needs to get more scientific information, more information from us and our partners the activists,” Mugisha said, adding he hoped the president would one day come to view gays as “a minority or different people”.