However, since the signing of the anti-homosexuality act this February, that may no longer be the case.
Uganda – One woman fighting homophobia
In recent years, legislative homophobia has been sweeping slowly across Africa with Nigeria passing new anti-homosexual legislation this January and the likes of Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo threatening to follow in its footsteps. Since at least , when MP David Bahati first tabled the anti-homosexuality bill, Uganda has very much been at the vanguard of this movement. Many onlookers remain unconvinced.
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- Uganda: gay rights campaigner Kasha Nabagesera.
There is more fear now, but we were always fearful and the bill has brought us together to work harder. In February, however, after half a decade of to-ing and fro-ing , these deferrals finally came to an end and, in the face of overwhelming domestic support for the anti-gay bill, Museveni signed it into law.
People are being chased away from their place of work. People are getting beaten for nothing. In this environment, victims of discrimination have perhaps needed the support of civil society groups more than ever. But although LGBTI organisations are well-experienced in dealing with hostility and homophobia, they are more anxious now too. But the outcome of a recent legal case seems to undermine this claim.
Gay activists take Ugandan government to court for blocking registration | Africa | DW |
The workshop had been convened to help LGBTI activists develop advocacy and leadership skills, and the plaintiffs maintained that Lokodo had violated their basic rights of assembly. On the one hand, LGBTI groups in Uganda have always faced opposition, and always had to operate vigilantly and under the radar through networks of trust. Indeed, it is partly thanks to these systems that many groups have been able to continue providing support for those in need, while activists are, now as ever, still calling upon fellow human rights organisations for assistance, meeting with politicians in the hope of finding allies, and fighting hard in the courts to challenge the constitutionality of the anti-homosexuality act.
After all, the LGBTI movement is not just about providing healthcare and counselling or helping those who are attacked or evicted. It has also been about advocating for change, organising gay pride marches to give the LGBTI community a sense of dignity and unity, and trying to change the mindset of Ugandan society.
We need to meet and educate communities about LGBTI issues because ultimately, we are not up against the government. We are up against society and up against ignorance.
Gay people in Uganda: love on the run
James Wan is the senior editor at Think Africa Press. Around Mar. On Apr.
Since the bill was signed he has moved to a tiny one-bedroom shack, tucked away at the back of a slum in a lively Kampala suburb. The government wants the petition dismissed. But even if the law is overturned Beyondy says it will take much more than a court ruling to change social attitudes towards homosexuality in Uganda. Very sad indeed. And all this because of american so called christians comming to Uganda spreading the hate they are not allowed to spread in the US.
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