How the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023 is going to affect the performing arts, film, dance, and even visual arts

The Creative Arts world over is a potent tool for communication, mobilization, and sensitization but also for entertainment and education. While some people in Uganda tend to use the word drama to mean something unserious, they too know the power of the actual dramatization as this gives individuals knowledge without laboring and they all understand. Whereas we have mostly foreigners buying art pieces by Ugandan visual artists, we all know that a painting or sculpture can change the way an individual thinks and feels about anything or anyone.

The anti-homosexuality act of 2023 which came into force in May 2023 has a few things for artists in Uganda and the foreign artists that hope to perform or exhibit in Uganda. I will share what I think we should remember.

20 years Imprisonment for any promoter of homosexuality

In the Act, a person promotes homosexuality if;

  • He/She persuades another to engage in sex with another individual of the same sex
  • He/she funds the promotion of the same.
  • He/she knowingly advertises, publishes, prints, broadcasts, or distributes by any means materials that promote or encourage the same.
  • He/she Leases, subleasesor allow another person to use a house for the promotion or performance of the act.
  • He/she operates an organization that promotes, or encourages homosexuality.

The first thing you should note as an artist from the act is that it doesn’t directly talk about the artist and or his agent as possible promoters. You should also note that you could end up as a promoter by doing some of the things that you have been doing all along and they were okay because the law wasn’t here yet. Some of the things you need to note include;

  • Creating cross-dressing characters
  • Creating same-sex characters that are extremely close to each other
  • Creating male characters that use makeup in any way
  • Creating male or female characters that act like the opposite sex
  • Hosting known homosexual individuals at venues, rehearsals, shows etc
  • Being sponsored by known homosexual-leaning individuals and organizations.

You should also note that anyone can report you or your organization to the police for promotion of homosexuality and you can be arrested as investigations go on. It is therefore paramount that artists and artist organizations in Uganda start making the necessary changes to be in line with the law.

It is imperative for you as an artist to not take any law that comes for granted as going against the law is going against the government and the people. You can read the act here.

Read our article on The importance of stage theatre and live performing arts on progress in developing countries like Uganda

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