Due to the many false news reports about Family Watch International’s activities in Uganda, FWI is providing the following facts to clarify the misinformation that is being disseminated in the media. Many of these questions have been sent to us by journalists from major news outlets.
How did Family Watch International become involved in Uganda?
Family Watch became involved in Africa in 2002 when we promoted a family-centered, abstinence-based HIV/AIDS-prevention program called “Stay Alive” for children ages 9-12. Uganda was one of the countries implementing the program. Please note that the “Stay Alive” program did not address homosexuality or any LGBTQI issues. We also previously supported a “Families for Orphans” project in Uganda. Our work in Uganda over the last several years has been focused on protecting Uganda’s children from harmful comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) which sexualizes even the youngest children.
What was the role of Family Watch International in the April 2023 inter-parliamentary conference in Uganda?
Family Watch’s purpose for participating in the inter-parliamentary conference held in Uganda was two-fold.
First, it was primarily to brief African parliamentarians on the harms of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), which is negatively impacting African children. We have an entire website dedicated to exposing the harms of CSE (StopCSE.org). For example, sexually graphic comprehensive CSE programs pushed by donor countries and UN agencies in Africa:
CSE advocates deceptively claim and convince governments that CSE is the answer to all the ills in the world—teen pregnancy, STIs, HIV, human rights violations, gender inequality, gender-based violence, even global warming. Yet governments and parents are rarely shown the full curriculum, which sexualizes even the youngest of children and promotes sexual rights and sexual pleasure at the expense of sexual health.
How many African parents would want their 10-year-old children to be taught about sex with animals, sex with corpses, and sexual arousal from feces and urine? What possible purpose could these kinds of instructional materials have? Many policymakers are deceived by the false claims and propaganda used by CSE advocates, and when they are shown actual curriculum materials being taught to children, they are livid that they were deceived.
The second reason for our participation in the Uganda inter-parliamentary conference was to raise awareness on the harms of the pending ACP-EU Partnership Agreement and the Eastern Southern Africa Commitment on CSE. Through these and other initiatives, Western governments and UN agencies are pushing highly controversial, graphic sexuality education and “sexual and reproductive health services” for children without parental consent.
While the conference was convened by the Ugandan parliament, the African Bar Association, and the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage, Family Watch Africa contributed to the development of the program, and we provided three speakers. Our Family Watch Africa team was not in charge of, nor did they have control over the speakers or messages that were presented beyond our three staff members who spoke. We were invited by the Uganda parliament to participate, and they chaired and ran the conference and thus controlled the messaging.
How did the visits to President Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni during the Uganda inter-parliamentary conference come about?
While participating in the 2023 African inter-parliamentary conference in 2023 in Uganda, Family Watch representatives were unexpectedly invited, along with other conference participants including parliamentarians from across Africa, to have impromptu meetings with President Museveni and the First Lady. While a few of the other invited guests expressed support for the anti-homosexual bill at these meetings, Family Watch did not. Prior to the meetings with President and Mrs. Museveni, Family Watch had not even read the Uganda bill, although we were concerned by the media reports about its contents.
Contrary to false media reports, Family Watch did not at any time lobby the president of Uganda or the First Lady to support the anti-homosexual bill passed by the Uganda Parliament. Indeed, among a variety of issues that were discussed, when the bill was brought up by others, Family Watch pleaded with Uganda’s president that if he planned to sign the bill, to ensure that it be softened to include a safe-haven clause whereby people with unwanted same-sex attraction can voluntarily come forward to ask for help without fear of being arrested or penalized.
What is the relationship between Sharon Slater and First Lady of Uganda Janet Museveni?
The First Lady of Uganda, Janet Museveni, and FWI president, Sharon Slater, have never had any kind of ongoing working relationship. The only encounters Mrs. Slater has had with Her Excellency, Janet Museveni, was when Mrs. Slater, as chair of an event at the United Nations in 2002 on the margins of the UN’s Summit on Children invited Mrs. Museveni to be a keynote speaker at a dinner with UN diplomats. She came and shared how she and her husband, President Museveni, substantially lowered HIV rates in Uganda with their ABC program. Then when Mrs. Slater was in Uganda for the recent inter-parliamentary conference, Mrs. Slater and a number of other conference participants were selected by a representative of the Ugandan parliament to meet with the First Lady on the first day of the conference. At that meeting Sharon Slater informally addressed the First Lady, thanked her for not having Uganda sign on to the ESA ministerial commitment on CSE, warned her of the harms of the pending ACP-EU Agreement and requested further engagement with the First Lady on Uganda’s sex education programming. To date, FWI has not communicated further with the First Lady. Mrs. Slater did not advocate for Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill then, or ever.
What connection does Family Watch International have to Martin Ssempa?
Sharon Slater, president of Family Watch International, first became aware of Pastor Martin Ssempa because of the work he was doing in Uganda teaching abstinence to youth. He was once listed on our website as an unpaid Family Watch volunteer promoting the abstinence-based “Stay Alive” HIV/AIDS prevention program. But Family Watch ceased any formal association with Mr. Ssempa sometime around 2014 when he began promoting the proposed Ugandan law calling for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” and we removed his name from our website because we strongly opposed the bill.
Did Family Watch International play a role in creating or passing Uganda’s bill?
No. Despite media reports to the contrary, Family Watch has never advocated for or lobbied in favor of Uganda’s anti-homosexual bill, nor were we ever involved in promoting Uganda’s previous anti-homosexual bill—in fact, we opposed them both. Family Watch has never supported any efforts in Africa to promote anti-homosexual bills.
What is the position of Family Watch International on the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 signed into law by President Museveni?
Family Watch International is opposed to the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023.
What is the position of Family Watch on punishment for individuals who engage in homosexual behavior as called for in the Uganda anti-homosexuality law?
As stated in many of our materials, Family Watch opposes harassment of or violence against all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, therefore, Family Watch opposes the Uganda anti-homosexuality law. Family Watch opposes legislation that penalizes a person for having same-sex sexual attractions or for their gender identity. Family Watch opposes the death penalty or harsh penalties in the context of Uganda’s pending law and other similar bills. Further, Family Watch opposes provisions that penalize people for failing to report on another person’s sexual activity, whether heterosexual or homosexual.
Does Family Watch International support the death penalty for so-called “aggravated homosexuality” as outlined in the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023?
Family Watch does NOT and has never supported or advocated for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” or for any other reason. However, we do support the criminalization of all sexual acts between adults and children, and we will always champion the protection of children from being abused or prematurely sexualized.
Does Family Watch International support laws that criminalize homosexuality?
Family Watch has not taken a policy position on the decriminalization or criminalization of homosexuality. Rather, we have promoted the rights of nations to determine their own laws with regard to sexual issues in line with their own religious and cultural values.
Does Family Watch work to change laws in Africa and in other countries?
No. The bulk of the work of Family Watch outside of the U.S. is helping countries protect their national children, laws, cultures and values, not to change them. Family Watch works to expose and stop the cultural imperialism pushed by Western donor countries, UN agencies and radical NGOs with sexual rights agendas in Africa.
What is the position of Family Watch International on national sovereignty?
Family Watch supports the right of all nations to determine their own values and laws, especially with regard to sex, sexuality and sexual education, without undue foreign pressure.
What is the position of Family Watch on “conversion” therapy for same-sex attraction or gender identity?
Family Watch strongly supports the right to voluntary, noncoercive therapy to help people reduce their unwanted sexual behaviors, whether heterosexual or homosexual, in line with their own personal values. We do, however, strongly oppose all forms of coercive and aversive “conversion” therapies but especially “conversion” therapies that promote invasive, “transition” medical or surgical interventions that seek to “convert” or permanently change or remove a person’s healthy body parts rendering them infertile for life and with a loss of sexual functioning similar to the negative results of FGM. We consider this form of “conversion” therapy to be one of the greatest forms of child abuse today.
What funds has Family Watch International spent on shaping policy, spreading the organization’s beliefs or supporting politicians or political campaigns in Uganda?
To date, FWI has never funded any public candidates for office or any political campaigns in Uganda, nor the promotion of any bills.
We have promoted family-based care for orphans and supported an orphanage to work on creating a foster care program whereby children can be cared for by relatives or families in their communities. We have also promoted and supported the implementation of an abstinence-based, HIV/AIDS-prevention program for children ages 9-12, which does not address any LGBT issues whatsoever (see StayAlive.org). In fact, it is the orphan and HIV issues that brought our attention to Uganda in the first place. We have also funded a small campaign to raise awareness on the harms of comprehensive sexuality education in general and uncover and expose the Western-funded, donor-driven CSE agendas hidden within proposed policies such as the ESA ministerial commitment on CSE and the ACP-EU Agreement, all of which advance harmful, foreign-funded and highly controversial comprehensive sexuality education programs designed to sexualize African children.
Why is Family Watch International involved in Africa at all?
Our main purposes in Africa have been to promote family-based care for orphans, abstinence-based, HIV-prevention programs for children, parenting skills for primary caregivers, and to rigorously oppose the sexual exploitation and premature sexualization of children, especially through foreign-funded, donor-imposed comprehensive sexuality education. And finally, we promote respect for national sovereignty and the religious and cultural values of African countries and strongly oppose the sexual-social and cultural imperialism of donor countries and UN agencies.
Has Family Watch International been involved in replicating the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 or laws like it in other African countries, including Kenya and Tanzania?
Contrary to false media reports, Family Watch International has never promoted, supported or tried to replicate any anti-homosexuality bills like the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023.
The Southern Poverty Law Center alleges Family Watch International is an extremist hate group. Is this true?
No. Ironically, since that “hate” claim is coming from a group that has been discredited by both the right and the left for their malicious and unfounded accusations—a group that has even incited a violent hate crime with their false hate-group labeling—we encourage diligent journalists to seriously examine the source of that claim before irresponsibly and gratuitously repeating it. We invite you to go to SPLCexposed.com where you will find verifiable information that the SPLC is a political organization that has made millions of dollars in profits from falsely labeling people and organizations with which it disagrees as “hate groups.” It even labeled former U.S. presidential candidate Ben Carson as a “hater” and was later forced to apologize to him. In fact, all the SPLC’s training materials were stripped from the website of the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity when it was found to be an unreliable source of legitimate “hate group” information. Increasingly, we see when someone can’t debate on the merits of an argument, they often play the “hate” card instead.
The Southern Poverty Law Center alleges Sharon Slater, president of Family Watch International, “promotes anti-LGBT pseudoscience.” Is this true?
The “pseudoscience” claim is a cheap shot used when a person cannot debate on the merits of an argument. Family Watch publishes summaries of the outcomes of peer-reviewed scientific studies to support our positions. Dishonest journalists have sometimes taken the outcomes of the studies Family Watch reports on and mischaracterized them as Family Watch opinion rather than forthrightly reporting that we were quoting from or paraphrasing from a study. We don’t create the facts, we just report on them. We challenge anyone to identify any specific study or medical fact we have reported on or cited that has been done in error. Family Watch is not a religious organization. We promote evidence-based policies that have proven to lead to the best outcomes for men, women and children, and thus, for societies.
What is the situation with regard to FWI president Sharon Slater and her husband Greg adopting children from Africa?
FWI president Sharon Slater and her husband Greg adopted three African children from Mozambique. (See their story here.) They have seven African grandchildren and an African son-in-law. Many members of their African children’s extended families live in Africa. So personally, Mrs. Slater feels her family has a vested stake in protecting their African grandchildren from the global child sexualization agenda pushed across the continent of Africa by Western nations.
It was while working on their adoption in 2002 when their then 9-year-old Mozambican daughter received graphic instruction in school about anal sex. Both the children’s biological parents passed away from AIDS, and Mrs. Slater cared for their older brother during the last painful stages of his death from AIDS. So to see organizations like International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) working with the WHO, UNAIDS and other UN agencies encouraging the very sexual acts that spread AIDS at the highest rates, she could not keep silent.
The World Health Organization’s sexuality education guidelines for Europe recommend that 9-year-olds be sent to IPPF to learn about their “sexual rights.” (Excerpts from this publication are at StopCSE.org.) IPPF tells children they have a right to sexual pleasure, and they don’t have to tell their sexual partners if they are infected with the deadly AIDS virus. (See IPFPF’s “Healthy, Happy and Hot” also at StopCSE.org.) Radical UN-promoted CSE programs are rampant throughout Africa.
Is it true as reported by some media outlets that Sharon Slater is part of a private WhatsApp group with conservative campaigners in Uganda that discussed the idea of re-tabling the anti-homosexuality bill? What response, if any, did she make to that suggestion?
Mrs. Slater belongs to dozens of WhatsApp groups and only occasionally has time to read some of the thousands of postings in various groups that come through, and she never saw the post discussing the re-tabling of the Uganda bill, nor did she participate in any discussions of such. When asked about this by a reporter, Mrs. Slater did search a WhatsApp Group that someone else added her to, and found the discussion to which the reporter referred. Ironically, one of the few comments Mrs. Slater has made in that specific WhatsApp group expressed her disgust and outrage at a video that had been posted showing the actual beating of two transgender women in India by a mob. Here is a screenshot of her comment:
Mrs. Slater’s comments clearly show that in addition to Family Watch condemning all violence against LGBT persons, Mrs. Slater personally condemns such as well.
Is it correct that Sharon Slater has lobbied against school curriculum changes in Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa, among other countries? What are the objections to the proposed changes?
Family Watch opposes a specific form of sex education known as comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) as per the facts provided above. Our Family Watch Africa team is very active in supporting groups in various African countries including those named above in removing harmful elements that we have identified as part of CSE programs. As an alternative, Family Watch supports sexual risk avoidance sex education, which helps children avoid all the risks associated with early sexual activity.
Does Family Watch International host annual training sessions for African ambassadors to the UN?
FWI hosts an annual event called the Global Family Policy Forum for the purpose of networking with and briefing like-minded UN diplomats. A large focus of the Forums is on the protection of the family and children from the aggressive and harmful CSE agenda pushed by donor countries and UN agencies.
Is Family Watch International a religious organization?
Media sources often repeat the falsehood that FWI is a “religious organization,” an “evangelical organization,” a “Mormon organization,” or a “Christian organization.”
FWI is not a “ministry” and has never once in 23 years of operation used a single religious argument to support our positions. We rely on scientific research, social science data, lessons from history, and what has been proven across cultures to produce the best outcomes for men, women, children, and, thus, for society as support for the positions we take on social issues.
Why does Family Watch think there is such strong anti-LGBT sentiments in Uganda?
While in Uganda, FWI President Sharon Slater was introduced to a young Ugandan man who has provided testimony to the Ugandan police that he and his friends were recruited into homosexuality and raped at age 14 through an after-school club. He said they were eventually paid to make gay porn videos but when he contracted HIV, they dropped him. So he went to the Uganda police and informed on the network, and several arrests were made. FWI has no way of verifying his story, but true or not, it appears that many Ugandans believe it is true, and the Uganda anti-homosexual bill seems to be an outgrowth of the anger many Ugandans feel towards the LGBT activist groups which they believe have been recruiting their sons into homosexuality for some time now. This young man who gave Mrs. Slater his account firsthand also offered her a jump drive with copies of his gay porn videos as proof, but she declined to keep it. It is now in the hands of a Kenyan lawyer who is now researching the matter. Further, one Ugandan parliamentarian testified that he had been to a Ugandan hospital seen first hand the destroyed rectum of a young boy who had been sodomized. So it appears the Uganda law may have been a reaction to that as well.
What is Family Watch International’s position on sexual orientation and gender identity?
We believe individuals are free to act according to their beliefs and desires within the confines of the law. We have always adamantly opposed any violence or harassment toward anyone for any reason including sexual orientation or gender identity. And because we base our positions on social science data, we follow where that leads, and thousands upon thousands of studies show that according to virtually every measurable indicator of child wellbeing, children fare best in a married mother/father family—so that is what we promote. Also, many studies show that sexual activity outside of marriage, whether heterosexual, homosexual, premarital or extramarital, results in negative consequences to individuals and the family—so we promote abstinence and fidelity. The data showing the physical and emotional benefits of abstinence before marriage are very compelling. The data showing the negative health outcomes generally to individuals who engage in homosexual behavior are also significant. Again, we don’t create the data, we report on it.