About 100 people gathered on a Ugandan beach last weekend to celebrate LGBT solidarity in an increasingly anti-gay country — and to have fun.
The event, called Kuchus’ Day Out, was organized by the anti-AIDS and pro-LGBT rights advocacy group Youth on Rock Foundation. The word “kuchu” — Ugandan slang for “gay” — is a term that LGBT people have reclaimed as their own.
To avoid attracting the attention of police, the gathering was organized in secret.
“It was a success, and safe,” event organizer Frank Kamya, secretary/administrator of the Youth on Rock Foundation, said afterwards. “It was really fun and a sign of togetherness, solidarity, organizing, networking, re-energizing, and thinking beyond what we go through living in an anti-gay country.”
The event was also a practice run for a larger gathering that Youth on Rock has proposed for later this summer.
For the past two years, the LGBTIQ community in Uganda has celebrated Beach Pride. Holding another one this year could be riskier.
Youth on Rock Foundation, however, believes strongly in the importance of the continual celebration of LGBTIQ pride in Uganda. Kamya says that the reasons for continuing the tradition include:
- To promote togetherness among the grassroots LGBTIQ community.
- To learn from each other how best to live in Uganda despite the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
- To attract a strong group of volunteer activists who can continue supporting LGBTIQ individuals and advocating for their rights.
- To brainstorm on how to strengthen personal security and safety as an LGBTIQ community.
- To interact on the beach with the heterosexual community, to try to understand their current perceptions, and to provide a model for how the wider community and LGBTIQ persons can live harmoniously together.
- To raise self-esteem among LGBTIQ people by sharing testimonies and personal stories.
“We accomplished those goals,” Kamya said of Kuchus’ Day Out.
- 2012 — Photos: Police raid Uganda pride celebration (76crimes.com)
- 2013 — Uganda Pride: So far, so peaceful (76crimes.com)
- Articles about Youth on Rock Foundation
- Standing ovation for ‘Call Me Kuchu’ (2012, 76crimes.com)
- John Oliver: Calling Uganda’s anti-LGBT laws ‘harsh’ is like calling Stalin ‘a bit of a grump’ (June 2014, rawstory.com)