By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com February 06 2014 9:04 PM ET
Antigay activists and scientists apparently took to heart Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's comments last month that he would not sign the country's "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" that imposes lifetime prison sentences on LGBT people, "unless [he] got confirmation from scientists that this condition is not genetic, but a behavior that is acquired."
Less than a week later, Ugandan scientists have apparently prepared a report that claims to prove that homosexuality is not only "socially acquired," but also curable. The team of scientists, backed by the ruling political party known as the National Resistance Movement, intend to present their findings to the president at a 10-day parliamentary retreat beginning today, according to Uganda's Observer newspaper.
The team of scientists is composed of lawmakers from the ruling NRM party who have a medical background, reports the Observer. One of those scientists, who is also a member of parliament, said that his researched proved that homosexuality is "socially acquired" and can be cured.
"From the research that I have engaged in for some time ever since we were assigned by the caucus, I have discovered that there is no gene that is said to produce [homosexuality] as claimed by some people,” Medard Bitekyerez told the Observer Monday.
Another doctor on the team agreed, stressing his belief that gay people can be turned straight.
"One study revealed that actually 50 percent of the homosexuals revert to heterosexuality if rehabilitated in time," Dr. Kenneth Omona told the Observer. "This, in itself, reveals a behavioral aspect."
LGBT activists in Uganda are mobilizing to offer genuine scientific data to contradict the psuedoscience offered in the lawmakers' report, but they note that President Museveni has so far refused to engage in dialogue with the LGBT community on any level.
Even without the president's signature making the bill law, reports of antigay witch hunts have begun circulating, with news that Minister of Ethics Simon Lokodo has a "homo terror list" with the names of those who he calls "filthy gays that must be brought down," according to a Ugandan academic and LGBT supporter who blogs at SebaSpace. The author notes that Lokodo and his antigay "investigators" are casing homes and bars in suburban Kampala, assisted by Kira Road police officers — who just days ago arrested two men and examined them, without their lawyers present, for supposed "sodomy" and for watching a film police dubbed "gay porn;" That film was Sex and the City.