Local activism played a major role in resisting the 2014 Bill.
“The bill was meant to make us go underground, but instead the community organized to fight,” Clare Byarugaba, an LGBTQ activist at the human rights organization Chapter Four, told CNN.
This involved petitioning the courts to repeal the law, lobbying MPs and encouraging international partners to impose economic sanctions, Byarugaba said.
Byarugaba added that the community will resist “legalized homophobia” this time around, too.
The activist, who headed a coalition that successfully fought the last anti-gay law and now works with the parents of LGBTQ people in Uganda, said the government is “underestimating the resilience and strength that exists within the Ugandan LGBTQ community.”
‘Preach love, not hate’
In a Friday statement, Amnesty International called on Ugandan MPs to “resoundingly reject any plan to legalize this kind of bigotry and witch-hunting of anyone who is perceived as being different.”
Transgender activist Javan (officially named Ronald Mugisha) told CNN she was not surprised by the move and has also vowed to challenge the homophobic legislation.
“As Ugandans, we have the right to be who we are,” she said. “And Ugandans (need to) start respecting LGBT people. These are your children, they are sisters, they are mothers, they are brothers. … Let’s not preach hate but preach love. Together we stand as the LGBT community in Uganda.”
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, described the move as “outrageous” and warned that it will ” fire-up more hatred in an already homophobic environment.”
Uganda is a socially conservative country, and in 2014 it introduced the Anti-Pornography Act which included a “mini-skirt ban.” In recent years the law has resulted in the arrest of revenge porn victims.
In May, Uganda’s “ex-gay” community petitioned Uganda’s parliament to bring back the 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Bill to “create awareness on sexual orientation,” according to a statement on the parliament website.