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Country Overview


At a glance

Same-sex Relations for Men Legal Throughout the Country?


Same-sex Relations for Women Legal Throughout the Country?


Legal Gender Recognition Possible?


LGBTI Orgs Able to Register?


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Same-sex relations have been criminalized in Uganda since British colonial times. Sections 145 on “unnatural offenses” and 148 on “indecent practices” have been retained in the penal code since independence. “Carnal knowledge against the order of nature” between men carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. The so-called “Anti-Homosexuality Act,” which foresaw imposition of the death penalty for same-sex relations, was first passed by the parliament of Uganda in 2013 and signed into law by President Museveni in early 2014. It was invalidated by the Constitutional Court of Uganda on procedural grounds the same year. Rumors of a resurrection have been circulating ever since, with the death penalty foreseen not only for same-sex relations but also for the promotion and "recruitment" of homosexuality. In May 2021, the Parliament of Uganda passed the Sexual Offences Bill. The Bill purportedly aims to prevent sexual violence, enhance punishment against sexual offenders and provide additional protection for victims.  However, it also reinforces the ban on same-sex relations. Police regularly target, abuse and arrest people on the basis of their presumed sexual orientation and gender identity, with forced anal examinations used against those detained, allegedly to gather evidence. Although the laws do not explicitly mention transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, law enforcement officials often conflate gender identity with sexual orientation. As a result, trans people are detained and charged under the same laws. Government officials have repeatedly shut down Pride events, LGBTIQ events, and conferences as well as raided LGBTIQ-friendly social spaces. Films, television shows and radio programs have been banned for “homosexual content.” Violence from private individuals is also high and hate speech in the media is strong. Despite threats, violent attacks and arbitrary arrests, Uganda has an enthusiastic and persistent LGBTIQ activist community. In  August 2022, the Ugandan government suspended the operations of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a local nonprofit advocating for the rights of sexual and gender minorities.

Global Impact

Sub-Saharan Africa

Outright supports LGBTIQ organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and works with mainstream human rights organizations to respect human rights and influence positive changes in laws, policies, attitudes and beliefs that cause discrimination against LGBTIQ people.

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