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Secret Shame of Queer Hate Laws: How Intellectually Disabled Victims are Caught in Their Snare

By David Ayliffe

The fact that there are still places in the world today where people can be imprisoned, sometimes for life, or be executed for how they look or how they behave in private should be an international crime. Yet it is promoted by hate preachers of various religions and creates a culture of extreme cruelty.

Human Rights Watch says that at least 67 countries have national laws criminalizing same-sex relations between consenting adults, and that at least nine countries have national laws criminalizing forms of gender expression that target transgender and gender nonconforming people.

What is wrong with live and let live? What is wrong with life respecting the privacy and lives of others?

I run a small disability service with some wonderful cognitively impaired participants who I call “Supers”. Each of them have Super talents that I love and envy. The ability to see the world, no matter their age, with the excitement of wide-eyed children and to love those unconditionally who show them care, are just two of those talents.

Sometimes I think the rest of us are sometimes just too old from an early age and too concerned with economies of growth.

Living in any of those 67 countries Human Rights Watch names some of my Supers could easily have been imprisoned at various stages of their lives.

You see, every person working with people who have cognitive disabilities or acquired brain injuries will at some time be challenged by what the rest of society thinks is inappropriate behaviour.

Most organisations have had to tick all kinds of boxes and write copious reports after a minor, or major, sex incident has occurred.

In the past year in my small organisation I have had to do the same but not being a major provider with all kinds of constraints on my responses and extra box ticking I was challenged to find a way through what could have been a terrible occurrence.

Without going into details let me just say you take a physically mature adult with a child’s mind and an adult’s sexual desires and you have a recipe for not so much disaster but certainly a challenge.

We all understand and have witnessed our children, or remembered ourselves, discovering for the first time that our private bits are different from someone else. Boys and girls, boys and boys, girls and girls. We also know that children sometimes will play the equivalent of “you show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”

A capital offence? Bring back the guillotine? Employ the hangman?

In my case I negotiated with parents, researched the appropriate responses that I should take to protect my participants in future, and this included the primary offender. Without the proper response the primary offender could have been charged with a sexual offense. Yet the adult male has a disorder of the brain from birth. He might be middle aged, but in every other sense than physical he is a little child.

Deal with the adult in one way. Punish them, exclude them, teach them of the significance of their misbehaviour, even imprison them but surely you deal with a child differently, and this adult is definitely a child.

I’m grateful for understanding and compassionate parents of those involved who were horrified by what happened but didn’t want to see the lash brought out to deal with the one at fault.

All kinds of appropriate steps have been taken since to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Just consider what might have happened in Uganda where a new law, worse than the former, strengthens the homophobic anger of the state against anyone who is different. Be sure, if signed into law by the President it will see homosexuals caught in the act (how indeed you might ask), imprisoned for 10 years and some sentenced to death. These are people who are consenting adults. Different of course for those who abuse minors and I’m not prepared to address except to say that I stand with the abolition of capital punishment everywhere.

Trans people and Lesbians will also face the full effect of law. Imagine if the state was successful in dealing with all people it labels as deviants (aside from politicians) this could be 7 per cent of the population (generally considered the percentage of LGBTIQ people throughout the world). Now estimates from 2021 put the population of Uganda at 45.85 million. That means Uganda would have to find the means to imprison or kill over 3 million of its people. Does that make sense? Only if you want to decimate an already impoverished nation. And that is just Uganda. What about the rest of the 67 countries Human Rights Watch lists. Forget the Global Financial Crisis if all those countries chose the same actions our world economies and populations could well be completely stuffed.

Leaving that aside, let’s come back to the issue of disability. Working with people born with intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries or dementia for that matter you have to be prepared for a continuing learning curve that sometimes seem to spiral up or down.

When any of these people identify as same sex attracted, or wishing to dress in clothing different to their birth gender, what do you do? You can’t rationalise with them. It just doesn’t work. Tell them it’s wrong, they are naughty, the Bible says ditsy squat and they won’t get you at all. Take the actions of the law in Uganda and the simple answer: imprison them if they do or say something wrong; kill them if they influence others.

I seriously wonder how many people have been wrongly treated or imprisoned by the state in various countries of the world through suffering from autism spectrum disorder or a host of other diagnosed intellectual maladies. It must have happened. These untold stories of people victimised who were never in a position to speak up for themselves.

And so I think of the proposed law in Uganda with enormous grief and disdain. The small charity with which I have been working for the past two years has seen the deaths of too many gay, lesbian and trans people in East Africa. We have seen people burned to death, others subjected to curative rape where girls become pregnant to unknown assailants and are challenged to raise a child they will love despite the grief of their conception. Trans people stripped naked so their genitals would be exposed to ridicule in prison cells and to leering police. Gay men raped with brooms and other implements to teach them how wrong their desires are.

Does it change them? Not in the least. It simply creates wounds, deep wounds and pain that will not go away.

Disabled people will continue to suffer this sort of maltreatment too. Their desires are not the result of some demon or a theological theory, but the reality of who they are crying out for love, acceptance and an opportunity to be themselves.

Please consider supporting my podcast “No Sex Please – I’m religious” through Funds raised through the podcast save lives of people facing death and torture in Uganda, and in refugee camps in Kenya and other places. It also enables us to continue the work of advocating for a more just, humane world where laws are created for the benefit of all, not to persecute minorities.

Before writing this article I used Jasper Artificial Intelligence which produced the following. It adds to what I’ve written.


In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the need to protect people with cognitive disabilities from discrimination and abuse. Unfortunately, many countries have yet to take action to protect these vulnerable individuals. Homophobic laws are often used to target people with cognitive disabilities, leading to a rise in hate crimes and violence against them. This blog will discuss the implications of homophobic laws on people with cognitive disabilities, the need for legal protections, and how to create a more inclusive society.

Section 1: The Impact of Homophobic Laws

Homophobic laws have been used to target people with cognitive disabilities in many countries. These laws are often used to criminalize same-sex relationships and to prevent people with disabilities from accessing health services or receiving an education. This can lead to a lack of access to essential services, as well as discrimination and stigma. It can also lead to a rise in hate crimes and violence against people with cognitive disabilities.

Section 2: The Need for Legal Protections

It is essential that countries take steps to protect people with cognitive disabilities from discrimination and abuse. This means that laws must be put in place to ensure that they are not targeted by homophobic laws. This could include laws that protect people with disabilities from discrimination in employment, education, and health care, as well as laws that prohibit hate speech and hate crimes.

Section 3: Creating an Inclusive Society

In addition to legal protections, it is also important to create an inclusive society for people with cognitive disabilities. This could include providing access to education, health care, and employment opportunities, as well as creating safe spaces for people with disabilities to socialize and express themselves. It is also important to raise awareness of the issues faced by people with cognitive disabilities and to challenge any stereotypes or prejudices that exist.

Section 4: Supporting People with Cognitive Disabilities

It is also important to provide support for people with cognitive disabilities. This could include providing access to mental health services, job training, and other resources. It is also important to create safe spaces for people with disabilities to socialize and express themselves, as well as providing access to social activities and events.

Section 5: Conclusion

Homophobic laws have a detrimental effect on people with cognitive disabilities, leading to a rise in hate crimes and violence against them. It is essential that countries take steps to protect people with cognitive disabilities from discrimination and abuse, by providing legal protections and creating an inclusive society. It is also important to provide support for people with cognitive disabilities, by providing access to resources and safe spaces.”


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  1. leefe

    “The fact that there are still places in the world today where people can be imprisoned, sometimes for life, or be executed for how they look or how they behave in private … ”

    Coming soon to a Florida near you!

  2. James Robert LEONARD

    The great tragedy is that this country so narrowly escaped a national government dedicated to perverted poor imitation of Florida.
    There is much more hope in the recent announcement from the Territorial government of the ACT.

  3. margcal

    It was only mentioned in passing but we all ought to take notice of dementia, one result being the loss of inhibitions.
    It could happen to any of us – no matter how upright a citizen you had been before dementia.

    What happens in other countries is beyond appalling …. including the US.

  4. Clakka

    Listened to a segment on LNL on the Ugandan situation. The story is so utterly depressing and infuriating. Those moronic, hypocritical, neo-fascist hateful religious evangelists of cowardly-mad-America won’t be content until they’ve obliterated every bit of natural beauty and hard-earned freedom of choice in the world for the sake of the lunatic imaginings of their wretched antediluvian credo.

  5. Tanya Carroll

    @Daivd Ayliffe, should l say you can be excuse in what you mention above in regarding people with disability as other countries of nations are doing very horrible things when they see someone looking a bit different or has a disability too. I am sorry to say this but remember within our island home here back in the day when someone looks different & also has Mental Health issues use to be locked up out of sight out mind in way too.

    Technically speaking as you also said at the right at the start you also run a small Disability services business, l also uses to be part of a small community disability service for nearly 25 years until NDIS was slowly getting together but that’s another story. I guess you were certainly not expecting someone like me who you have talked about in general terms to respond back to your article either David.

    The only thing is you certainly missed & also did not mention has the main part “Neurological Birth Defect” once at all how do you expect those to understand the disorders of brain when there could be more than one of them too. Let’s get some facts right here yes “Neurological Birth Defect” is also defects to the brain area like Brain Damage, Cognitive function & behavioural issues including Mental Health issues. It also means Acquired Brain injury within the brain either from Birth or after the birth depending on the genetic cause to the brain & even how the circumstances occurred during the child or person growing up years too.

    I Certainly hope you also understand the different types & levels of capacity a person with an acquired disability in what they can do to what they can’t do either. As most who just might have 24/7 care including others who also feel like they don’t have a voice to express them self in the way they can either.

    Being born in the early 70s with a Neurological Birth Defect as l also meant to die the day l was born until l woken up 12 hours after my birth at a local Hosptial back then due to the lack of oxygen getting to my little infant brain as l also got label under the MR word. Then in the late 80s early 90s it got change to Intellectual disability as the Federal Government of the day removed the MR word for very good reason too.

    Then before or around when l was 3 months old Cot Death nearly got me apparently l was told l turn blue in face from the lack of oxygen getting to my little infant brain again, so l survived both incidents didn’t l.

    In what you said regarding with the Queer & LGBTIQ people if they what to be different to others let them be because l myself who is straight female lady married mother of 3 adult children. I technically had to challenge myself over the number of years to be who l am today. I look so dam normal to the average person like yourself & others no one can see my disability because it’s so invisible to others until l speak up & tell them my own story. It’s been more than the learning curve & challenging as you say “Disabled people with continue to suffer this sort of maltreatment too” yes, we will because were also dealing with childhood trauma on top of what l have been born with too.

    I also medically can’t work due to reason but one day to become a public speaker to expose a thing or 2 of how l got treated & hope no others got the same treatment as l behind closed doors of course. Having to deal with more than one disorders & impairments including being diagnosis borderline Autistic around 3 years of age & being profoundly deaf on my left side since birth. Maybe l should say lucky l been born in this Sunburnt Country of the green & gold l wouldn’t be anywhere ales in the world than here.

    Before l go as in the last few years l now know within my “Neurological Birth Defect” l am also born with 2 rare genetic brain disorders under the “Disorders of the Corpus Callosum (DCC)” also within my “Brain Damage” area l was born with way back than of course. I did know of one of them over 20 years ago until a few years ago l came across this website

    It basically made my world a little bit better to fully understand what l been dealing with all of my life since the day l born as l was not told anything about my birth or the stuff l been dealing with l had to do it all on my own with little to no help in the time l let myself to understand it all too Thanks. 🙁

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