In the 'anti-gay capital of the world,' searches for man-on-man porn are way up

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In Uganda, homosexuality is now punishable by life in prison. But you'd never know it by the country's Google trends.

Last month, the Ugandan parliament made national headlines after passing an anti-homosexuality bill, which made engaging in gay sex a crime punishable by life in prison. The penalty was amended from the original bill, which dictated that “aggravated homosexuality” should be punishable by death.

First introduced in 2009, the bill sparked international outcry from humanitarian groups, many of which urged EU nations to withdraw aid from Uganda. Some referred to the bill as more draconian than similar anti-gay measures in the Middle East, and Uganda itself as setting a dangerous precedent for other conservative African nations. 

While many Ugandans are celebrating the bill’s passage, viewing it as the culmination of a national effort to purge homosexuals from the country, data from Google Trends indicates that while the threat of life imprisonment may be effective at preventing gay Ugandans from acting on their desires, it hasn’t done anything to staunch the desires themselves. 

According to Google Trends, Uganda is third on a list of countries where “man fucking man” is a leading search term, trailing behind Pakistan and Kenya, where homosexuality is also illegal.

Oddly enough, Ugandans’ interest in “man-fucking-man” porn seems to have increased since the anti-gay bill was introduced into parliament, with searches for gay porn peaking in July 2012. The data also indicates that interest in “she-male sex” or “teen anal sex” is also high in countries where such acts are illegal, like Tanzania, Sri Lanka, the Sudan, and Ethiopia. 

Overall, there seems to be a whiff of a link between religious fundamentalist countries and Internet searches for LGBTQ porn. While there’s nothing particularly surprising about the fact that those from conservative Middle Eastern or African nations would display an increased curiosity about taboo sex acts, it’s particularly interesting in the case of Uganda, which thanks to the anti-homosexuality bill is steadily gaining prominence as “the anti-gay capital of the world.”

Given that it’s relatively common for unacknowledged same-sex attraction to manifest itself as homophobia, it makes sense that some Ugandans are confining their desires to Google searches, rather than acting on them and risking harsh punishment.

H/T The Guardian | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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