Adopted by the 223rd WMA Council, Nairobi, Kenya, April 2023
Revised and adopted by the 74th WMA General Assembly, Kigali, Rwanda, October 2023
The WMA is gravely concerned about the “Anti-Homosexuality law” that was passed in the Ugandan parliament on March 21, 2023 and signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in May. The WMA originally condemned the bill in a press release issued on March 24.
The Ugandan law criminalizes homosexual acts and makes them punishable by death or life imprisonment. A provision on the “promotion” of homosexuality is also of grave concern, exposing anyone who “knowingly promotes homosexuality” to as much as twenty years in prison.
This kind of legislation challenges the role of physicians to objectively provide information to patients and, where appropriate, those close to them. Physicians could face disciplinary action or retribution for pointing out in the context of treatment that homosexuality is a natural variation of human sexuality. This can impact the professional practice of a physician, as can be seen in other countries that have implemented similar legislation. It can also impact the health of individuals and the population as a whole if patients of the LGBTQ+ community are fearful of accessing healthcare or of being forthcoming with information when they require medical care.
As stated in its Statement on Natural Variations of Human Sexuality and supported in its Statement on Transgender People, the WMA condemns all forms of stigmatisation, criminalization of and discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation.
The WMA reasserts that being lesbian, gay, or bisexual are natural variations within the range of human sexuality and that discrimination, both interpersonally and at the institutional level, anti-homosexual or anti-bisexual legislation and human rights violations, stigmatisation, criminalization of same-sex partnerships, peer rejection and bullying continue to have a serious impact upon the psychological and physical health of lesbian, gay or bisexual people.
Further, the WMA emphasises that everyone has the right to determine one’s own gender and recognises the diversity of possibilities in this respect and calls for appropriate legal measures to protect the equal civil rights of transgender people.
- Ugandan authorities to immediately repeal the Anti-Homosexuality law;
- WMA Constituent members to condemn the Ugandan law and advocate against any similar legislation that is proposed or enacted.