Ugandan LGBTI solidarity celebration coming May 16

This is a revised and updated version of the article originally published on April 22.

Kuchus Day Out of 2014 (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya)
Kuchus’ Day Out of 2014 (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya)

LGBTI and sex worker activists in Uganda are preparing for a celebration of solidarity, with an emphasis on developing self-sufficiency in their community.

The local Youth on Rock Foundation is organizing the event in conjunction with the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on May 16.

Frank Kamya and Mleuben Maccarthy at last year's celebration. (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya)
Frank Kamya and Mleuben Maccarthy at last year’s celebration. (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya)

Organizer Frank Kamya (Kamya Francis Mwanje / Kanobana Mwanje Franco) labels this event the second annual LGBTQ and sex worker pride celebration, following last year’s Kuchus’ Day Out. It is in addition to the Ugandan pride celebrations that the country’s LGBTI community has held for the past three summers.

The theme for the day is Solidarity and Togetherness: Our Identify.  Planned activities on May 16 include:

  • Handicraft and visual art exhibitions.
  • IDAHOT celebrations.
  • Games such as swimming, soccer, net ball, chess, cards, ludo, etc., with prizes.
  • Entertainment from LGBT and sex worker divas.
  • Personal story sharing.
  • A march with rainbow-colored umbrellas, red umbrellas and banners.
  • Voluntary blood testing and counseling.
Tie dye workshop organized by Youth on Rock aims to increase the financial self-sufficiency of its LGBT and sex worker members. (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya via Facebook)
Tie dye workshop organized by Youth on Rock Foundation aims to increase the financial self-sufficiency of its LGBTI and sex worker members. (Photo courtesy of Frank Kamya via Facebook)

This year’s celebration will extend the Youth on Rock Foundation’s emphasis on income-generating activities for the community. That goal was evident in the most recent workshop, in which community members learned tie dye techniques.

“Our community has to be self-reliant,” Kamya says. “Dependence is a bad habit.”

Kamya expressed thanks to UHAI: the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative, which provided funding for the ongoing economic empowerment initiative; fellow project coordinator Kanyike Morgan, director the Youth on Rock Foundation; a “dear consultant”; project facilitators and participants.

Financial support for the self-sufficiency initiative and the celebration are welcome. Contributions may be made via GoFundMe.com. More information is also available there.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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