More than 20 teenage girls have been expelled from their high school in Uganda for “lesbianism.” It is yet another sign of the destructive homophobia in the country and of the discrimination and persecution that LGBTs face in Uganda, where, under the just-passed Kill the Gays Bill, LGBTs could face life in prison.
As Gay Star News notes, a former politician in Uganda started a campaign earlier this month to create more support for the legislation which had been delayed and is opposed by the Prime Minister. As a result of this, Chris Mubiru, the former manager of one of the country’s main soccer teams, was arrested earlier in December after graphic photos of him were published on the cover of Red Peppar, a Ugandan daily.
Based on local news sources, the girls (four of whom were only 11 years old) were expelled because they had allegedly “formed a ‘society’ on campus where they regularly met to discuss how to ‘convince’ more students to practice the ‘act of lesbianism.’”
The school’s officials reportedly feared that they would be “questioned on why the girls were realizing lesbians existed, and did not want the parents to blame the school.” School staff, that is, feared that they might be accused of condoning homosexuality and so expelled the teenagers.
Whether any of these claims are true or not is not at all clear. Gay Star News says that, when it contacted Isanga SS, it was told that “no comment would ever be made” about the students’ expulsion.
What the school, or at least its staff, thinks about homosexuality — that it is a crime — is apparent from what one teacher said to the Ugandan Observer. According to the teacher, Iganda SS was “resolved to bear with [homosexuality] until the end of the year such that the innocent students are not affected” and to maintain order because “you sometimes get learners going on rampage when their colleagues are expelled.”
One parent of a child at the school, Tom Kimaliyo, has said that expelling students is “bad and even evil” and would be “disastrous” for the girls’ future. He called on the government to “intervene,” saying that school is a place where students should be “sensitized and educated” and that the girls should be allowed to return to school and have their protection “ensure[d].” Kimaliyo’s comments show that not everyone was in favor of expelling the students, in no small part because of what are very likely to be permanent and disastrous effects on their lives.
Kimaliyo also said that, “if found to be of any negative influence, the best is to get the young girls involved in counsellng and monitoring to help them change behavior or support them in coping with the situation.” While he believes the school’s action to be irresponsible, his words still show traces of the homophobic attitudes that have led to Uganda being a country where something like the Kill the Gays Bill has been passed into law.
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