Open Letter to the (9th) Ugandan Parliament

Dear Sirs and Madames,

I am writing to you, as I did earlier this year to the members of the 8th Parliament, to express my concern for the proposed anti-gay legislation as well as for some of your recently passed laws that criminalize sexual orientation.

Mr. David Bahati, who has introduced the bill to Parliament, has based his position on discredited sources which erroneously and maliciously blame all manner of dangerous behaviors towards children and declare that homosexual behavior can be eliminated.

I urge you to distance yourselves from those American fundamentalist Christian Right, anti-gay extremist who have descended on your country and are fanning their homophobic agenda, which could have grave consequences for your country's human rights. They have not done your country any favors.

I am a Christian myself. I am also a transsexual. But more importantly, I am grateful to live in a city and country that has afforded me the ability to live without fear. Additionally, I am grateful to live in a day and age when my condition is recognized by the medical profession and that there aremedical professionals throughout the world who have dedicated themselves to learn everything they can about how to help individuals like myself to live healthy and productive lives.

Even though gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things that must be understood and discussed separately, they have one thing in common. Neither of them are a choice. One does not choose to be gay or a transsexual any more than one chooses to be straight. It is therefore inhumane to single out those who don't happen to conform to the binary view of sexuality and criminalize their personhood.

Additionally, to make it a crime not to report a gay person within twenty-four hours is beyond evil. To lay charges against family, friends, counsellors, ministers, doctors, landlords, employers and neighbors will turn your country into a land full of suspicion, tyranny and fear. Where then can someone who is ostracized and persecuted for being deemed different turn to for soccur? How much more inhumane can laws become?

In closing, please know that I will continue to uphold your country in prayer, that all elected to the 9th Parliament on February 18, 2011, will be marked with compassion and that the legacy of your tenure as a Member of Parliament will be how you protected the human rights, the dignity and the diversity of all the citizens of Uganda. Please repeal and abolish all laws that target any minority group, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Ugandans.

Respectfully yours,
Lisa Salazar
Vancouver, Canada


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