Things are looking grim in Uganda right now, where President Yoweri Museveni just signed a bill that will make life pretty miserable for LGBT people, their friends and family.
Homosexuality was already against the law in Uganda, but the new bill will increase penalties to life imprisonment. It will also make it a crime to not report gay people to authorities.
For a little while, there was a glimmer of home: Museveni said that he needed guidance from America on whether he should sign it. America is a major source of aid for the country.
According to Museveni, Ugandan scientists have told him that a person’s sexual orientation is a choice that can be affected by environment. No word on exactly who those scientists are, whether the actually believe that to be true, or if they even exist. If we had to guess, we would guess that it’s a case of experts just saying what they think powerful elected officials want to hear, whether it’s true or not.
We wanted to give Museveni the benefit of the doubt. But clearly, he was not interested in what scientists really think. If he’d bothered to do a simple Google search, this is what he would have found.
American Psychiatric Association: “homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation”
American Counseling Association: “We found no scientific evidence published in psychological peer-reviewed journals that conversion therapy is effective in changing an individual’s sexual orientation from same-sex attractions to opposite-sex attractions.”
National Association of Social Workers: “…reparative or conversion therapies … cannot and will not change sexual orientation.”
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy: “the association does not consider homosexuality a disorder”
“Just the Facts” Coalition: “The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be ‘cured.'”
World Health Organization: “Sexual orientation by itself is not to be regarded as a disorder.”
British Medical Association: “Sexuality is such a fundamental part of who a person is, that attempts to change it just result in significant confusion, depression and even suicide.”
Royal College of Psychiatrists: “There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.”
British Association for Counseling & Psychiatry: “BACP opposes any psychological treatment such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder.”
Australian Psychological Society: “The Australian Psychological Society acknowledges the lack of scientific evidence for the usefulness of conversion therapy, and notes that it can in fact be harmful for the individual.”
General Assembly of the Norwegian Psychiatric Association: “Homosexuality is not a disorder or illness, and can therefore not be subject to treatment.”
American Academy of Physician Assistants: “The American Academy of Physician Assistants opposes any psychiatric treatment directed specifically at changing sexual orientation…”
American School Counselor Association: “sexual orientation is not an illness and does not require treatment…”
American Psychoanalytic Association: “Such directed efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damaging internalized homophobic attitudes.”
The American Psychological Association: “Empirical research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships…”
American Anthropological Association: “A vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.”
American Psychological Association: “…it is unfair and discriminatory to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage and to all its attendant benefits, rights, and privileges.”
American Psychiatric Association: “The American Psychiatric Association supports the legal recognition of same-sex civil marriage with all rights, benefits, and responsibilities conferred by civil marriage, and opposes restrictions to those same rights, benefits, and responsibilities.”
Meanwhile, here in America, a high-powered GOP lobbyist has drafted a bill to ban gays from playing sports. Good work, everyone.