Last year, the government of Uganda passed a bill making homosexuality–already a crime–punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty. The legislation was overturned, thanks largely to the international fury it provoked, but homosexuality remains illegal and massively stigmatized. Now, less than a year after the “Anti-Homosexuality Act” (nicknamed the “Kill the Gays” bill in Western media) was struck down, Ugandan officials are working to revive it.
The plight of the LGBT community in Uganda has largely dropped out of the headlines, but in the latest episode of VICE on HBO, correspondent Isobel Yeung travels to Uganda and shows that they’re as persecuted as ever.
Yeung meets with anti-gay activists preaching intolerance to schoolchildren–and shows how that manifests as full-blown hatred among adults. “Tell us something about Ugandan culture,” Yeung asks one man in Kampala. “The first thing we hate is homosexuality,” he responds. It shows: Yeung interviews a gay woman who’s been forced into hiding and suffered horrific violence.
Speaking on the condition that her name be left out and her face be disguised, the woman recalls how, walking home alone one night, she was accosted by a group of four men. They told her they knew she had a girlfriend and that she was not “a real woman” before raping her and leaving her pregnant.
VICE also explores the disturbing role Americans have played in stigmatizing homosexuality–not just anti-gay extremists like Scott Lively, the Evangelical pastor who compares homosexuality to pedophilia, but supportive U.S. politicians and even senators.
The episode, “A Prayer for Uganda,” is available on HBO from Friday at 11 p.m. Watch a preview below.