Nigerian podcast, website join fight against homophobia

More than a year after Nigeria’s harsh anti-gay law took effect, two new voices have emerged to speak on behalf of LGBTI Nigerians, while also informing them and others about the impacts of the nation’s anti-gay repression.

  • No Strings podcast logoThe “No Strings” podcast, produced in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, by a mass communications student, aims to “inform and educate LGBT people, especially those in Nigeria, concerning how they can stay positive, and deal with the hate that comes from being different.”
  • The “Where Love is a Crime” website, produced by The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs), based in Lagos, Nigeria, provides information and commentary about the law, health, relationships, advocacy and human rights. The website was officially launched on May 17, 2015 (the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia), just before TIERs also launched:
  • A toll-free line for LGBTI Nigerians who need legal aid, counseling on sexuality issues, or referrals to services such as psychosocial counseling, LGBTI-friendly health care facilities and HIV testing or counseling. The toll-free line is available in Nigeria from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 0800CALLTIERS (0800225584377).  The same services are also available 24/7 on two non-toll-free lines (07011472241 and 08146337128).
A sad comic strip about two men accused of homosexuality is among the visual documents on the Where Love is a Crime website. The comic strip is by Elnathan John and Alexander Rudewerks Ighoja.

A sad comic strip about two men accused of homosexuality is among the visual documents on the Where Love is a Crime website. The comic strip is by Elnathan John and Alexander Rudewerks Ighoja.

The “Where Love is a Crime” website uses text, audio, video, infographics and cartoons to analyze the law and tell stories of individuals affected by homophobia in Nigeria. It also provides information and links to sexual health and human rights organizations working for the protection and promotion of LGBTI persons in each of six different regions of Nigeria.

Human rights abuses in 2014 against LGBTI Nigerians are shown in statistical form in this infographic from The Initiative for Equal Rights, presented on the Where Love is a Crime website.

Human rights abuses in 2014 against LGBTI Nigerians are shown in statistical form in this infographic from The Initiative for Equal Rights, presented on the Where Love is a Crime website.

Recent commentaries on the website include:

Adejoke Tugbiyele

Podcast guest Adejoke Tugbiyele

The “No Strings” podcast began in late February as a hobby, but podcaster  Mike Daemon (not his real name) says that he soon realized that it had become “a full-fledged voice for the LGBT community in  Nigeria. [It] dares to talk LGBT issues with members  of the LGBT community in Nigeria. It chronicles the lives and struggles of  members of the LGBT community, and as well informs and educates people  concerning the reality of being a gay person in Nigeria. It is the first of its kind.”

Episodes of the podcast can be downloaded or streamed from the No Strings website, not yet from iTunes (where it shouldn’t be confused with the No Strings Attached Show podcast about wireless networking).

The podcast has presented:

  • An interview with Joseph, a member of the Nigerian LGBT community who works with an organization seeking to improve the health of LGBT Nigerians. He tells of uniformed personnel disrupting a health information session and then taking peer educators to the police station, where they were stripped and mistreated.
  • A discussion with Adejoke Tugbiyele, an American artist with Nigerian roots, who first came out on CNN as a lesbian while she was in Nigeria. “After giving an interview as a out lesbian of Nigerian origin living in Nigeria, she was advised by friends and professional colleagues to leave the country, because she ‘would have no protection.’ She recalled, ‘I listened to all of them and I left.’ “
  • John Adewoye (Photo courtesy of The Advocate)

    Podcast guest John Adewoye (Photo courtesy of The Advocate)

    A discussion with John Adewoye, a former Catholic priest who tells about coming out in 2003, immigrating to the United States in 2004, and then seeking and winning asylum. He also describes how he reconciles his faith with his sexuality.

Daemon has ambitions to develop No Strings into a more powerful advocate for LGBTI people, but would need more financial support to do so:

“No Strings records with a desktop  computer that’s pretty old and as a result continues to malfunction and  continues to drain up time and money this resulting from its regular repairs.  No Strings records with a headphone that does not produce excellent and  quality sound as expected. How about constantly running to the Internet café to post episodes and update the No Strings website — this too is time-consuming and eats up money fast.  Also many are considering suicide and do not have people to talk to about  their sexuality, not much is been done in this part of the country as regards LGBT issues, as many are looking for just that voice that could speak up for  them, and so maybe they could live with the hope that things will change.

“No Strings hopes to set up a network and organize periodic seminars and  workshop to educate young people and hear them talk their struggles and  then share them on the podcast for the world to hear that there are  actually individuals who are gays and are Nigerians and are suffering  deeply. But all these will cost money, as nothing can be achieved alone. No Strings will greatly appreciate any support, however little.”

In a public service announcement that takes the place of ads within the podcast, Daemon says:

“This is a cry from LGBTs in Nigeria.  We say, ‘Stop the hate. Stop homophobia. We are your brothers and sisters. And, above all, we are Nigerians.’ “

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), Positive steps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nigeria: No court challenge vs. alleged police misconduct

Twenty-one young Nigerian men are trying to put their lives back on course after they were arrested by police who allegedly mistook an all-male birthday party for an initiation ceremony for “a secret gay cult.”

The Nigerian online news site Street Journal accepted the police account that they had raided a

The Nigerian online news site Street Journal accepted the police account that they had raided a “gay cult” ceremony.

In a raid, police in the southwestern Nigerian city of Ibadan arrested the 21  men after finding many condoms in their possession.

The arrests were widely reported in Nigerian media, with several publications accepting the police version of the incident — that police had broken up an initiation ceremony of a “gay cult.”

Activists said the men’s rights were violated by their being:

  • Physically assaulted.
  • Targeted with derogatory words, and
  • Treated without respect for their dignity while in detention. They were photographed in their underwear, made to write statements under duress and locked up in an overcrowded cell.

In addition, Nigerian LGBTI-rights/anti-Aids organization TIERs (The Initiative for Equal Rights) said:

“Police did not follow due process in the arrest of the twenty-one young men: they had no formal charge against them, but relied on the presence of about 118 condoms found in the room with no female present and the tip that the occupants of the room were gay.”

The men were released after complying with a demand for bail payments, which the police required even though no charges had been filed against the men. “That is corruption,” said Michael Akanji, director of programs at TIERs.

TIERS hoped the incident could prove to be an opportunity for challenging police violations of the human rights of LGBTI people, but Nigerian society is so homophobic that the young men said they wanted to “move on with their lives” and put the incident behind them as soon as possible.

The arrests are just the latest example of police harassment of apparently LGBTI Nigerians since the enactment of Nigeria’s anti-gay Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) in early 2014.

That law calls for prison sentences of up to 14 years for being part of a same-sex marriage, up to 10 years for engaging in a “public show of same-sex amorous relationship,” and up to 10 years for organizing or taking part in a meeting of gay men or a “gay organization.”

TIERs said that, since the law took effect, “TIERs and other human rights and sexual health organizations working on LGBTI issues have recorded over 105 human rights violation cases involving at least seven persons in each of the cases documented. Based on records, 90% of cases documented were reported by LGBTI youth.”

With permission from TIERs, an edited version of the TIERs report on the arrests is reprinted below.  Other organizations’ names and other sensitive information have been removed:

Twenty-one young men arrested in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
A Case Report prepared by The Initiative for Equal Rights

Case Background

Nigeria map shows the location of Ibadan. (Map courtesy of BBC)

Nigeria map shows the location of Ibadan. (Map courtesy of BBC)

On Sunday the 10th of May 2015, at about 8:16 pm a call came to TIERs office from Ibadan reporting an incidence of arrest of twenty-one young men between 20 – 25 years old attending a party somewhere around Apete/Jeje area, Ibadan, Oyo State. We immediately referred the case to [an organization] in Ibadan for confirmation of the boys’ arrest. Monday morning, 11th of May 2015 the [organization’s] staff visited the police station and confirmed that the boys were indeed arrested and also confirmed the number of boys arrested by the police.

After this feedback, on the morning of 12th of May 2015, TIERs Human rights and Legal Officer was sent to Ibadan to [help] provide legal aid and alternative dispute resolution where possible.

The allegations against the twenty-one young men were the congregation of homosexuals and initiation of new members into a secret gay cult. The report went on to say that the arrest was made during their initiation party, which in fact happened to be a birthday party. At the point of arrest, the young men were physically assaulted and treated in a manner unbecoming of any legal process: they were photographed in their underwear, made to write
statements under duress and locked up in an overcrowded cell.

A lawyer [sought] peaceful resolution of the case. However, some of the parents protested against the involvement of the lawyer as they felt his presence further complicated the matter. This is because the Duty Police Officer (DPO) refused bail and insisted on transferring the case to the State CID [Criminal Investigation Department]. At intervals, some parents who were opportuned to be contacted by the birthday celebrant came to the aid of their children and for every person released, there were different bail prices which varied from NGN5,000, to NGN10, 000 (US $25 to $50) while the celebrant paid NGN21,000 (US $105) as bail amount since he was considered the organizer of the party.

TIERS logo

TIERS logo

Subsequently, a negotiation was made through the Investigating Police
Officer (IPO) to bail the remaining the ten young men left in detention as no family member had to come to their aid; unlike the other eleven men who had different people (family and non-family members) to bail them out. When consent was given to post the bail for the remaining ten young men, [two organizations worked together to arrange for] the payment, while TIERs took the responsibility of providing funds for the logistics to cater for the boys till they reported back to the station the following day.

[The young men] had to report back to the station by 10am. Upon arrival, the police further extorted NGN500 (US $2.50) each from them before they were asked to sign and leave.

During consultation with the young men about the way forward, they were adamant that they did not want the case charged to court as they preferred the case closed so that they can move on with their lives. …

Analysis of the Case

The Police did not follow due process in the arrest of the twenty-one young men: they had no formal charge against them, but relied on the presence of about 118 condoms found in the room with no female present and the tip that the occupants of the room were gay.  [TIERs noted that many of the condoms belonged to health workers at the party. Distribution of condoms by health workers is a routine prevention measure in the battle against sexually transmitted diseases.] …

The victims’ rights were violated as they were physically assaulted and derogatory words were used on them. They were not treated with dignity while in detention. Despite these facts related by the young men, they still insisted on no legal action against the police as they didn’t want further trauma. …

That all the twenty-one young men were freed is the result of collaborative work and co-ordination of [TIERs and two other] organizations here in Nigeria. …

Recommendation

With this recent occurrence, it is obvious that there is a need to create more public awareness and the need for victims to take up cases with solid support of the movement. Without this, cases like this will continue to occur with limited or no option for proper adjudication for justice. Also, were in the future we are opportuned to file a suit against similar case, this would further help the movement test the justice system on such cases in preparation for proper litigation strategies on instance of challenging the SSMPA [Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act].

Already, organizations across Nigeria are doing a lot to educate the community but if occurrence continues, it means that we need to also focus on encouraging the victim to challenge and demand enforceability of their rights through proper legal action. This must be integrated into our continuous engagement with the community.

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Kenya moves to appeal courtroom win by LGBTI group

NGLHRC logo

NGLHRC logo

As expected, the government of Kenya has filed notice that it plans to appeal a High Court ruling of April 24 that would open the way to official recognition of LGBTI organizations.

The government has refused to register such organizations on the basis of Kenyan law prohibiting same-sex intimacy.

The April 24 decision came in a case brought by Eric Gitari, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC).

The grounds for the appeal are not yet clear. The notice only stated that the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordination Board and the Attorney General are “dissatisfied” with the High Court’s decision.

Gitari stated on Facebook: “We have been served. The Appeal is on. The AG is ‘dissatisfied’ with the judgement in petition 440 of 2013. The Constitution protects us all in this country and it shall prevail!!”

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), Trials / punishments | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

LGBT envoy heads to Jamaica amid plans for Pride

The Dallas Voice reports:

Randy Berry, the U.S. state department's special envoy for LGBT rights. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of State)

Randy Berry, the U.S. state department’s special envoy for LGBT rights. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of State)

Randy Berry, special envoy for the human rights of LGBT persons, and USAID Senior LGBT Coordinator Todd Larson leave for Jamaica tomorrow (Thursday, May 21), to discuss the rights of LGBT people and other marginalized groups with Jamaican leaders, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of State.

Berry and Larson will spend three days in Jamaica meeting with representatives from the Jamaican government as well as religious, business, academic and civil society organization leaders.

Homosexuality remains criminalized in Jamaica, and the Caribbean Island is well-known for homophobia and violence against LGBT people. Human Rights Watch released a report last October documenting 56 cases of violence against LGBT people.

BuzzFeed reported that Berry also plans to visit Latin American and Europe, then travel to Uganda in July.

Berry’s visit to Jamaica comes shortly after the LGBTI rights group J-FLAG launched a fund-raising campaign for a Pride celebration in Jamaica in August.

J-FLAG (the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays) announced:

Promotional photo for Jamaica Pride 2015 (Photo courtesy of J-FLAG)

Promotional photo for Jamaica Pride 2015 (Photo courtesy of J-FLAG)

J-FLAG will be hosting #PRiDEJA2015 in August under the theme: The Pride of a People: Breaking the Rules of Oppression.

The main events for #PRiDEJA2015 will be an opening ceremony, flash mob, a symposium, sporting activities, a trade show, a cultural entertainment performance show, and a party.

Our target guaranteed number is 1,000 persons.

We need your help to make #PRiDEJA2015 possible.

Support us. Help us celebrate. We would really appreciate any support you can give to help us stage our first PRiDE celebration and make it a huge success.

The August event would be the first Pride sponsored by J-FLAG. In 2010, a small Pride event for about 20 people was also reported in Jamaica. At that time, the South Florida Gay News reported:

An estimated 20 to 25 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jamaican citizens took to the streets around Emancipation Park for the first time, wearing rainbow-colored feather boas and t-shirts from various pride events in the United States.

The LGBT Jamaicans kissed in public, struck poses, danced and made their orientations obvious to onlookers. The parade lasted for about 2 and a half hours before the participants needed to disperse for safety and re-organize in another location.

While the pride parade was meager by our standards here in the United States, it was truly spectacular for a nation where such actions can get a person killed on the spot. There were no signs, no corporate sponsors, no floats or even a balloon

Posted in Americas, Positive steps | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Anti-LGBTI attack disrupts Kyrgyz anti-homophobia day

Anti-LGBTI protesters break into the May 17 celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Click the image for video. (Photo from video courtesy of Labrys)

Anti-LGBTI protesters break into the May 17 celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Click the image for video. (Photo from video courtesy of Labrys)

Anti-LGBTI protesters invaded and disrupted a May 17 celebration  of the  International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia  (IDAHOT) in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan in central Asia.

The LGBTI rights organization Labrys reported that the hostile assault came from members of the anti-LGBTI groups Kalys and Kyrk Choro.

“The crowd of aggressive men threatened and insulted the activists. One of the participants of the event received injuries. A criminal case under article 234 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code has been initiated,” Labrys said. The following account is based on reports from Labrys and from Front Line Defenders, an organization that advocates on behalf of human rights defenders worldwide

About 30 people, including Labrys members and guests, had gathered in the private Astoria Garden cafe to celebrate IDAHOT starting at 2 p.m.

Anti-LGBTI protester perches on the wall of the Astoria Garden cafe in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to shout threats at LGBTI people inside. Click the image for video. (Photo from video courtesy of Labrys.)

Anti-LGBTI protester perches on the wall of the Astoria Garden café in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to shout threats at LGBTI people inside. Click the image for video. (Photo from video courtesy of Labrys.)

Soon Zhenish Moldokmatov, a leader of Kalys, and about 20 other men gathered near  the café. At 3 p.m., they began to behave aggressively — to knock on the gate, shouting threats over the fence. One of the men jumped onto the railing and shouted, “You will not leave here alive! All you need to burn! We will not let you safely leave this room!”

At 3:15 p.m., the attackers broke the lock on the gate and broke through a door to enter the café. There was a scuffle. One of the girls participating was injured. LGBT activists called the police.

LGBT activists asked the members of Kalys and Kyrk Choro to leave the café and discuss matters outside.  The attackers told the activists to halt the event; otherwise they would call for reinforcements, which would put the activists at risk.

Police then arrived, took statements from those present, and forced the LGBT activists to go to the police station. They were treated roughly — hands were twisted, hair was pulled — although they were supposedly going to the station as witnesses.

“We were crammed into cars as potatoes,” one of the participants said.

They were held at the police station for more than five hours without access to water, food, medicines or a toilet.

Police tried to make some participants show their genitals, in order to identify transgender people.

During their time at the police station, police officers swore, threatened the activists, and refused to introduce themselves.

The police treated members of Kalys and Kyrk Choro differently. They were allowed to stand up, move around the police station, eat and drink.

At 1 a.m. on May 18, the activists were released from the police station.

Their attackers are currently being prosecuted under article 234 (“hooliganism”) of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic. LGBT activists intend to appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office to review the legality of the police behavior.

Anti-homophobia graphic from Labrys

Anti-homophobia graphic from Labrys

Kyrgyzstan is currently in the midst of legislative action on a proposed anti-“gay propaganda” law that would be stronger than the current anti-propaganda law in Russia. The bill passed a first reading in the Kyrgyz parliament in October. The bill would need to pass in two further parliamentary votes and win presidential approval before becoming law.

Observers say that debates over the bill have aggravated anti-LGBTI feelings in the nation.

“Not even a month ago Labrys’ office was damaged in an arson attack, signalling the rapidly shrinking space for LGBT civil society [in Kyrgyzstan],” noted Richard Köhler, senior policy officer at Transgender Europe, a non-profit organization working for human rights and equal treatment for  trans people. “The debate of a homo- and transphobic law in the formerly liberal Central-Asian state is the breeding ground for hate and puts trans and LGBTIQ people’s lives at risk. The law proposal needs to be withdrawn immediately and Kyrgyz authorities need to assure credibly that homo- and transphobia has no space in Kyrgyz society.”

Arrow indicates the location of Kyrgyzstan in central Asia.

Arrow indicates the location of Kyrgyzstan in central Asia.

Alecs Recher, co-chair of Transgender Europe., said, “The attack is an unacceptable attack on the freedom to expression and peaceful assembly, the right to life and dignity, which all persons are entitled to. The behaviour by the police, siding with the aggressors, and denying the victims their basic rights is scandalous. Kyrgyz authorities and European institutions need to swiftly condemn the attack. The perpetrators amongst the attackers and law enforcement have to be brought to justice.”

Front Line Defenders condemned both the attack and the increased persecution faced by the LGBTI community in Kyrgyzstan. The advocacy group called for “an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack on the participants of the event organised by Labrys, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards” and to “guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.”

Posted in Asia, Europe, Harassment / murders | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New lesbian supporters at work in Cameroon, Europe

L’équipe du Bureau de l’AVAF et leurs partenaires. (Photo d'AVAF)

The AVAF team and their partners celebrate. (Photo courtesy of AVAF)

Cameroon’s new association of activist women and their supporters has been busy in Cameroon and in Europe, seeking greater opportunities, improved health care, and basic human rights for lesbians and transgender women.

The organization AVAF (Association for the Promotion of Women) has been active in Cameroon, led by its local board of directors, all of them women. Meanwhile, the president of AVAF in France, a gay man, has been accepted to represent the group at an upcoming conference in Germany in order to improve AVAF’s visibility and to seek financial support for it.

International Women’s Day

In many countries, International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8. This year, AVAF marked the day in partnership with the pro-LGBT rights, anti-Aids association Affirmative Action.

The two organizations organized a round table on the theme “Building Peace In The Heart Of Men And Women.” A total of 30 LGBT people attended the event.

Une délégation d’Amnesty International au siège de l’association Affirmative Action au Cameroun.

Scenes from the visit of Amnesty International to Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of AVAF)

Amnesty International visit

AVAF again worked with Affirmative Action on March 18 to welcome to Cameroon a visiting delegation of Amnesty International representatives from Germany.

During the meeting at Affirmative Action offices, the visitors and the hosts introduced themselves and discussed their advocacy, their visions, their missions and their field activities.

At the end of the visit, AVAF expressed its thanks to Affirmative Action and to Amnesty International representatives Anika Becher, Raphael Kreusch, Selmin Çalışkan, and Wiltraud Von Der Ruhr.

Activists scheduled to attend the First Mile Conference.

Activists scheduled to attend the First Mile Conference.

First Mile Conference

AVAF has been selected with other global LGBTI rights activists to participate in the First Mile Conference, scheduled for Berlin on June 11.

This event will be an opportunity for AVAF’s president, Raymond Bykoukous, to describe AVAF’s projects to a panel of activists and executives of non-profit organizations in order to build partnerships that the association needs.

Other activists scheduled to appear at the First Mile Conference include:

  • Stana Iliev, program manager for diversity, feminism and gender equality at Bilitis Resource Centre Foundation in Bulgaria.
  • Dastan Kasmamytov, an LGBTIQ activist from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
  • Masen Davis, a transgender advocate from the United States, who formerly was  executive director of the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco.
  • Svetlana Zakharova, public relations manager of the Russian LGBT Network.

Bykouskous said of his role at the conference and in AVAF:

“I am an activist for the rights of homosexuals. My relationship with Cameroon and activists who work on issues of violations of the rights of homosexuals led me to guide my commitment to the cause of lesbians.

“Lesbians are missing from the advocacy on human rights of homosexuals in Cameroon. Moreover, they are not heard by the Cameroonian civil society and have no space to meet themselves or express on the issues related to their sexual orientation and gender.

“This thinking led to the creation of the AVAF.”

The advisory board inviting the activists includes:

  • Boris Dittrich (Human Rights Watch)
  • Katrin Hugendubel (ILGA Europe)
  • Axel Hochrein (Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation)
  • Sören Landmann (Campaign against Homophobia Germany)
  • Alfonso Pantisano (Enough Is Enough! Open Your Mouth!)
  • Stuart Cameron (First Mile Initiative)
  • Klaus Müller (kmlink Consultancy, Salzburg Global LGBT Forum)
  • Ise Bosch (Dreilinden gGmbH)
  • Dan Christian Ghattas (OII Germany)
Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), International pressure for LGBT rights | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hundreds gather for peaceful IDAHOT pride in Uganda

The second annual Pride celebration for sex workers and LGBTI Ugandans on May 16 was sponsored by the grassroots anti-HIV, pro-LGBT Youth on Rock Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya)

The second annual Pride celebration for sex workers and LGBTI Ugandans on May 16 was sponsored by the grassroots anti-HIV, pro-LGBTI Youth on Rock Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya)

Ugandan LGBT and sex worker communities gathered on Saturday (May 16) for their second annual peaceful Pride celebration, sponsored by the grassroots anti-HIV, pro-LGBT Youth on Rock Foundation.

The event was  scheduled to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). It brought together 240 Ugandan LGBT and sex workers from a variety of organizations for food, fun, games and entertainment on the shores of Lake Victoria.

More than 200 sex workers and LGBTI Ugandans took part in the May 16 event. (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya)

More than 200 sex workers and LGBTI Ugandans took part in the May 16 event. (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya)

“It was a huge sign of solidarity and togetherness. Let’s continue getting together as one community. With time, we will gain more visibility. And the more the visibility of the movement, the faster it will gain recognition, respect and dignity,” said event coordinator Frank Kamya (Kamya Francis Mwanje / Kanobana Mwanje Franco).

“Let’s not give up till our sexual and health rights are recognized, just like other rights.”

The name for the May 16 gathering was Solidarity and Togetherness: Our Identify. Last year’s was called Kuchus’ Day Out. These celebrations are in addition to the Ugandan pride celebrations that the country’s LGBTI community has held for the past three summers.

Kamya expressed thanks to the Youth on Rock Foundation organizing committee and to event co-sponsors UHAI: the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative, the Rainbow International LGBT Activist Solidarity Fund, and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

The Pride celebration on May 16 was held on the shores of Lake Victoria. (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya)

The Pride celebration on May 16 was held on the shores of Lake Victoria. (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya)

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Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), International pressure for LGBT rights | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments