UK Guardian. Check on it below...
The anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda is more than simply a bill about homosexuality, and it is more than a pernicious piece of local legislation that affects Uganda alone. Of course, the bill itself is bad enough. Originally conceived back in 2009, it was introduced with the aim of ridding Uganda of homosexuality and, to begin with, contained the death penalty. An international outcry forced the Ugandans to drop that section of the bill, but the form in which it passed through the legislature just before Christmas is dreadful enough, with homosexuality now leading to life imprisonment and a prison sentence for those who do not report gay people to the authorities within 24 hours.
Last year, Google published statistics about the places in the world where their search engine was most used to find gay porn sites. The results were extraordinary. According to its figures, Uganda is third on the list of counties where "man fucking man" is most searched for, behind Kenya and Pakistan, both of which are countries where homosexuality is illegal. These figures also demonstrate a high degree of correlation between places of conservative religious practice and internet searches for gay porn.
Is there a connection, then, between homophobia and suppressed homosexuality, along the lines of "me thinks he protesteth too much"? Is it that homosexual desires, when shut out because of some sense of shame, can easily express themselves as a form of homophobia? When the US conservative evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, well known for his anti-gay preaching, was discovered to have been paying a masseuse for gay sex, he explained that "I think I was partially so vehement because of my own war". Freud coined the description "reaction-formation", in which anxiety-generating feelings are masked by an exaggerated reaction in the opposite direction. There is some experimental evidence to back this up, with one study showing that 20% of those who self-described as "highly straight" indicated some level of same-sex attraction. This discrepancy is often put down to highly controlling parents who do not allow their children room to explore their sexual identity.
Yes, of course, there are many people who do not experience same-sex attraction who are anti-gay. But one of the features of reaction-formation is its paranoia and lack of proportion. And this is precisely what the scaremongering nonsense about gay people being out to get our children – a common line in the Ugandan debate – clearly demonstrates. In conservative religious environments where God is depicted as a powerful all-controlling parent, it makes sense to me that this reaction-formation will be particularly strong.
Which is why so much homophobia is rooted in religion or, as I would argue, in a form of bad religion that has a misplaced understanding of the divine. And I suspect also that this "bad God" is not unconnected with having been introduced as part of western colonialism with all the control and domination that this involved. For my part, if God is love, then the so-called "kill the gays" bill is not of his doing. And so the battle to overcome the instinct behind this cruel legislation has to include some element of theological deprogramming.