A Lesbian’s Statement to Uganda’s Parliament and Speaker Kadaga

By Melanie Nathan, November 27, 2012.

PUBLIC STATEMENT OF MELANIE NATHAN, COMMISSIONER, Mother,  Sister, Daughter, Human Rights Commissioner, Marin County, U.S.A., Family Law Mediator and Human Rights Advocate.

Hon. Speaker and Hon. Members of Uganda’s Parliament:-

When I was in my early twenties I  realized that I was a lesbian.  I tried marriage to a man, but I was very unhappy because I was not attracted to him. We never had children together.

When I truly fell in love, it was later in life and it was with a woman. I was so happy I wanted to make a family. So I have two daughters. My first born was adopted as an infant from an orphanage in Vietnam.  She is now 15 and a happy well adjusted, a  caring and loving human being, who is a great sports person and gets  A’s at school.  My second born is a birth child and we were lucky to get a sperm donor from a local sperm bank here in San Francisco. This child is a shining light to our entire family.  She carries the genes of her ancestors , some of whom died in the Holocaust in Germany. We are so proud to have been able to reproduce.

I was a lawyer during the Apartheid years in South Africa and worked hard to help my fellow oppressed Africans. I am a person who has only done  good with my life. I have never hurt anyone or stolen anything. I have no desire to influence other people to be gay or lesbian because I understand that it is simply not possible to do that and what would I gain from it?  I was born gay, I tried to change my sexual orientation, but because it is God given to me, that was not possible.   Anyone who knows me would describe me as loving and caring and incapable of hurting a fly, and least of all  know I am not a criminal; yet if I were in Uganda, just by virtue of my love and existence you would consider me a criminal, one who is as bad as a thief and a murderer.

I am asking you, Hon. Speaker, Hon. MP Bahati, who has been my personal telephone friend for the past 2 years, the Committee, the Parliament of Uganda,  and of course President Museveni, to reconsider the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, for a few simple reasons.

A.The Bill is based on false information:-

1. The Bill is based on the lies of a few Evangelicals who influenced Ugandans into thinking their version of biblical interpretation is the only correct interpretation; on the influence of people who wrote books which  have been proven to be untrue and nonsense; on distortions about Gay people who you have never met or had a cup of tea with;
2. Recruiting children: Gay people have been accused of recruiting children in your schools; but we have yet to see one single piece of proof of this. Hon. Member Bahati promised to provide this evidence but he has failed to do so;
3. Gays are hurting children: This has been proved in the world to be impossible, why would it be different in Uganda:  the only people hurting anyone are pedophiles who are 98% of the time straight men;
4. Gays are deviants:  nothing could be further from the truth  we are lawyers, judges, teachers, doctors, nurses, senators, shopkeepers, construction workers, fathers, mothers, siblings we are everyone and do everything to contribute to society, just as others do – we are perfectly normal people who function to add our positive input to the sciences and the arts.

B. The Bill is based on fear:

We cannot hurt you and we do not harm society. When allowed to love in private and peace, we flourish as human beings. You need not fear us because if you are born straight, you will never become Gay, just the same as I can never become straight.

C. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill does little to strengthen Ugandan law and causes harm rather than good: 

1. It will be impossible to police and will cause witch hunts;
2. It will result in the overt persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTI) people as well as those who will be falsely accused  (Already taken place such as the Ssempa case – where fraud was found by the Court);
3. People will over react out of fear to the accessory clause;
4. It will be impossible to prove cases and so as ineffective will merely be an excuse for abuse and to persecute people, thereby harming democracy;
5. It undermines human rights and civil society in Uganda generally;
6. It severely threatens the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS, and would make organizations’ efforts to stem HIV in the long term nearly impossible;
7. The  world reaction will hurt Uganda’s poorest as most the world is outraged by a government legislating the persecution of minorities, with the World seeing it as a scapegoat from Uganda’s real problems;
8. It clearly derogates from the notion that Uganda is a democracy as its suppresses the basic human rights and freedoms of expression, assembly and is a direct assault on the Ugandan Constitution;
9. It impinges upon Uganda’s international treaties;
10. Gays and lesbians who are arrested will be made into martyrs by people all around the world. They will serve as the symbol of oppression and will be the heroes, while Ugandans who promote this Bill will be demonized, and ostracized with travel bans, excluded from many events around the world.

With due respect, Madam Speaker and Honorable Members of  Parliament, all I can say as a foreigner who has observed and actively advocated against the Bill since its first introduction is that I feel the deepest sadness and compassion for the Ugandan Parliamentarians and more for the Ugandan people who are consumed by the lies and distortions. I see your fear and I imagine how much pain that must cause you, so much so that you are willing to have your government sanction the killing of your fellow Ugandans.   

However, it is within your control to step aside from the lies and fears and to truly investigate, which I do not believe you have done at all.  I respectfully submit that you should rather deal with the matters and issues that truly impact the Ugandans, so that you can honor your Human Rights treaties and all the Constitutional rights of all Ugandans. If indeed you are as sovereign as you suggest, you will step aside from the influence of imported hatred and colonialism and go back to the day when Ugandans did indeed accept sexuality as a private event.

I wish you all well; may God be with you all during this very difficult time.

Melanie Nathan


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