News :: International

Uganda Teen Commits Suicide Over Anti-Gay Law

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Apr 7, 2014
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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni  (Source:AP Photo)

A teen from Uganda was pronounced dead on April 3 after attempting to take his life last month over the East Africa’s controversial anti-gay law, Gay Star News reports.

The teen, who GSN calls Dennis, was just 17 when he was pounced dead last week. He reportedly overdosed on pills and then ate rat poison last month. He apparently did not die right away, and over the last few weeks he slipped in and out of consciousness, showing little sings of recovering; he also lost the ability to speak.

Uganda LGBT activist Pepe Julian Onziema spoke to GSN about Dennis’ death, saying he was "gone too soon." Onziema said the teen’s parents are Muslim and consider gay men to be "proof of sin itself" and "not people."

"This is the psychological effect of the anti-gay law," Onziema told the news site. "It is affecting young people the most."

Gay rights activists said that at least 17 other LGBT people in Uganda have attempted suicide due to the law but it is unknown how many have died, GSN reports. Onziema is urging Uganda’s LGBT community to be safe and seek help any way that they can.

"It makes me sad that my community is unsafe. It’s intentionally put at risk," he said. "It’s like standing by the roadside and being pushed in front of a speeding car. That is what the president has done to us."

Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, singed the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law in February, which criminalizes homosexuality, sentencing offenders to life in prison. Individuals, companies, media organizations and non-governmental organizations can be penalized for supporting LGBT rights. The measure sparked international outrage, with the United States and other countries limiting aid to Uganda over the law’s passage.

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