By Georgia Davis Conover
The Parliament in Uganda is considering a law imposing the death penalty or life in prison for some homosexual acts. The law was proposed a few months after American evangelical and president of “Defend the Family International,” Scott Lively, spoke before the parliament calling homosexuality a threat to societies organized around the family, and recommending that gay people get therapy. Lively says he did not suggest making homosexuality a crime punishable by death and he thinks the bill goes too far. Some other notable American evangelicals have remained silent on the Uganda bill. So far, the sponsor has not withdrawn the bill despite calls to do so by the President of Uganda who has expressed concern about international relations.
Some American evangelicals who have broken from US churches because of disagreements about homosexuality, have gravitated toward some countries in Africa where gay people are less tolerated. This story is of interest to cultural geographers in many ways. Evangelicals, concerned about the diminution of the patriarchal family structure in the United States, are taking their anti-gay message international, to more sympathetic locations. Yet, how that message gets interpreted and played out is different in different places due to cultural differences.
According to the work of Andrew Tucker, it is also important to understand that the politicization of sexuality cannot be separated from other social processes, like Imperialism and racism. Tucker’s work shows how racial difference is a vehicle for creating difference and exclusion even within homosexual communities in South Africa.