Kuchus' Day Out: a time to celebrate despite anti-gay law

Beach scene at Kuchus' Day Out in Uganda. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)
Beach scene at Kuchus’ Day Out in Uganda. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

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.
Kuchus' Day Out was a time for LGBTIQ community solidarity in Uganda. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)
Kuchus’ Day Out was a time for LGBTIQ community solidarity in Uganda. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

“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.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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