Ugandan activist Clare Byarugaba is working to establish a network of supportive family members and straight allies to join the struggle for the recognition of the human rights of LGBT people. As Essence magazine reports:
Understanding that Africans have deep-rooted cultural and familial connections, Clare Byarugaba is creating a Kampala chapter of PFLAG, (formerly known as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), a global organization that supports relatives and allies of LGBT persons.
She hopes it will encourage people like her own mother to open their hearts and minds to LGBT Ugandans.
“I’m passionate about convening mothers to share the kinds of stories about their LGBT children that few people hear in our country,” she says. “I feel like if there’s that alternative family voice, then people won’t look at you as an LGBT person; they’ll see you as someone’s child.”
Byarugaba writes on a YouCaring.com crowdfunding page:
Throughout my time as an LGBTI activist in Uganda, I believe the biggest challenge our movement is changing public opinion. I know that movements must re-vent themselves or they lose relevance. Even though we have outspoken activists, these misconceptions prevent people from even listening to them. After spending the last semester teaching and studying successful social movements in the US, I believe a critical component of missing in our movement is outspoken straight allies — particularly parents. Historically, parents speaking out about their LGBT children have been some of the most powerful forces to change public opinion. They provide an avenue of reliability, correcting misconceptions of other parents and educating the public.
My goal is to create a support group where parents and their LGBT children come together to foster dialogue about what it means to be LGBT in Uganda and what it means to be a parent of an LGBT child. This will provide a space for healing for estranged families, and also a platform to build the next critical phase of advocacy in our movement to change social opinion: outspoken parents. My aim as a convener of PFLAG-Uganda is to ensure that this space is created.
The objective of the support group would therefore be:
- To provide counseling services to LGBT individuals and their parents.
- To provide a space for healing and bonds to be rebuilt
- To build capacity of parents to engage in advocacy for LGBT rights.
- To share and document stories for awareness raising
Funds raised shall be used to facilitate the operations organizations budget. The budget will facilitate office space for a year, pay for a counselor for a year and pay for utilities and office furniture and supplies.
With your help, I believe we can strengthen the voices of parents and their role in helping the Ugandan LGBT community, which faces incredible odds, achieve equality. Lets make it happen — together.
To support PFLAG-Uganda, donate via YouCaring.
For more information about African LGBT activists, read the full article in Essence, “Pride & Prejudice: How African LGBT Activists are Risking Their Lives to Bring Tolerance to Their Homes.”