LGBTQ rights in East Africa: U.S. sometimes takes an active role

This is the fourth in an eight-part series focusing on the impact of President Joe Biden’s February 2021 order to U.S. government agencies to “promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.” In April 2022, a total of 14 U.S. departments and agencies, ranging from the State Department to the Peace Corps, combined to create a comprehensive report about what they have done in response to that presidential order. Of the 32 African nations where homosexual activity is illegal, today’s post focuses on East Africa. It includes excerpts about U.S. activity promoting LGBTQI rights in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. In 2021, Uganda’s parliament passed a Sexual Offenses bill that provided for up to ten years imprisonment for same-sex sexual activity and criminalized sexual activity between females. The U.S. Department of State firmly and clearly noted its public opposition to violence and discrimination against members of the LGBTQI+ community and its concerns with wording in the bill that might violate the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons. In August, President Museveni returned the bill to parliament, and the Embassy has continued engagement with key members of parliament.