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Uganda activists still busy, though fearful

Rock Angels in performance.
Rock Angel in performance

Human rights and anti-AIDS activists in Uganda are busy doing good work, even though the Ugandan parliament seems poised to pass a bill that would put them in even greater danger because they defend the rights and health of sexual minorities.

“The LGBTI community is already experiencing the adverse effects of this bill, even before it is passed,” says Frank Kamya, secretary/administrator of the AIDS-fighting Youth on Rock Foundation.

Some prominent activists are thinking about whether they should start the process of seeking asylum in case the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passes, which would make their work a criminal offense, Kamya said.

But meanwhile, preparations are under way to take part in celebrations of International Women’s Day on March 8. Transgender women from Trans Equality Uganda will march with others, followed by speeches and a performance by the foundation’s Rock Angels.

Activists are also planning an intensified outreach program in April to LGBTI and sex-worker communities — “the most marginalized groups we have in Uganda,” Kamya says. That campaign is an outgrowth of the recent Standing on the Side of Love conference in Kampala.

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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