LGBT+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s snapshot of the current state of affairs for LGBT+ people, through the lens of international business. The Business Climate Score score is out of ten possible points, and is based on ten independently verifiable indicators of the legal, cultural and business context for LGBT+ people.

1.5
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1.
Are consensual homosexual acts between adults legal?
0
No
2.
Are marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples available?
0
No relationship recognition
3.
Is being LGBT+ punishable by death?
1
No
4.
Are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment prohibited?
0
No
5.
Can transgender people legally change their gender markers?
0
No
6.
Is sex reassignment surgery at birth for intersex children prohibited?
0
No
7.
Are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the provision of goods and services prohibited?
0
No
8.
Is there a U.S. State Department warning against travel for LGBT+ individuals?
0
Yes
9.
Do companies sponsor Pride?
0
No
10.
Are there laws prohibiting freedom of assembly or speech for LGBT+ people (i.e. “anti-propaganda laws”, media gags, etc)?
0.5
No, but officials act as though there were
Talking Points
  • The criminalization of same-sex intimacy creates a hostile environment for LGBT+ people and anyone who supports LGBT+ rights in Uganda. This causes serious obstacles to global talent mobility for many multinational companies.
  • The anti-LGBT+ statutes in Uganda make it challenging for international corporations and institutions to do business here without incurring intense criticism from the global LGBT+ community.
  • Uganda would be a more attractive country for foreign investment, tourism, and development aid if Sections 145, 146, and 148 of the Penal Code Act, Chapter 120, Laws of Uganda, which criminalize homosexual acts, were repealed.
  • Parliament’s 2013 passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, annulled by the Constitutional Court the following year, and continued threats by some MPs to push for new anti-gay legislation have severely damaged Uganda’s reputation as an open society that is friendly to international business, globally.
  • The 2005 constitutional amendment that made same-sex marriage illegal (Article 31, section 2a) makes it hard to consider relocating top LGBT+ talent to Uganda.
  • Even based on conservative estimates reporting that 4-6% of the general population identifies as LGBT+, there are between 1.5 and 2.3 million LGBT+ people in Uganda. If the government repeals its anti-LGBT+ laws, hundreds of thousands of LGBT+ people will be able to participate more fully and openly in the economy.
Talking Points
Impact of LGBT Discrimination on Business and Talent
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    NO RISK
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    LOW RISK
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    MODERATE RISK
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    NOTABLE RISK
  • 5
    HIGH RISK
BRAND RISK
  • 5
    HIGH RISK
There is high brand risk in supporting the LGBT+ community in Uganda due to the possibility of provoking negative reactions from Ugandan politicians.
CLIENT RISK
  • 5
    HIGH RISK
For many companies, doing business in Uganda involves significant compromises on diversity and inclusion policies. Given the global LGBT+ community’s increased scrutiny of Uganda’s anti-LGBT+ laws, LGBT+ clients may choose to move their business away from companies that conduct business in Uganda.
TALENT RISK
  • 5
    HIGH RISK
Many top LGBT+ identified employees cannot be relocated to Ugandan offices due to a reasonable fear of imprisonment and violence. Because anti-LGBT+ actions can be based on the mere perception of homosexuality or support for LGBT+ rights, even heterosexual employees may be at risk of discrimination and prosecution.
MARKETING RISK
  • 5
    HIGH RISK
As a result of anti-LGBT+ laws, corporations cannot undertake any LGBT+ specific marketing efforts when doing business in Uganda. Furthermore, because of loose interpretation of laws, support for the LGBT+ community in Uganda could lead to legal prosecution.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBT+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • — Pride events were brutally shut down by police forces in 2016 and 2017, as were International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia Intersexism and Transphobia and HIV/AIDS conferences in 2018, but Pride Uganda and Sexual Minorities Uganda. Sexual Minorities Uganda currently plans to hold an event in 2018.
  • — Isaac Mugisha, a co-coordinator of Pride Uganda, told reporters in 2018 that in recent months “cases of people being arrested, put in police cells, and tortured have been greatly reduced.”
  • — The hostile legal and cultural climate means that being “outed” is a daily fear for LGBT+ people in Uganda. The media spreads fear and harassment through tabloid publications with headlines like “Top Homosexuals.” Outing often leads to LGBT+ individuals being evicted from their homes.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

  • — Homophobia is a colonial import to Uganda and deeply rooted in colonial laws. Over the past few decades, American Evangelical Christians have exacerbated the colonial and Christian underpinnings of homophobia through anti-gay religious propaganda and tactics. As a result, nearly 90% of Ugandans believe homosexual behavior is morally unacceptable.
Local Leaders Advocating for LGBT+ Equality

Out Leadership encourages you and your firm to engage in safe and cautious discussion with local leaders around LGBT+ equality and to leverage your firm’s influence to support their work. Below are several key leaders who are advocating for LGBT+ equality in Uganda: Rev. Mark Kiyimba LGBT+ Activist, Founder & Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda, Dr. Frank Mugisha Executive Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Pepe Julian Onziema Programme Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera Co-founder and editor of Uganda’s first and only LGBT+ publication, Bombastic, head of sole LGBT+ news outlet Kuchu Times, and founder of the LGBT rights organization Freedom & Roam Uganda (FARUG), Warry Senfuka Executive Director, FARUG.