Bombastic Magazine moves Uganda another step forward

Four pages of the second edition of Kuchu Times
Four pages of the second edition of Kuchu Times
For her work as an activist, including the publication of Bombastic Magazine, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera appeared on the cover of Time magazine's Africa edition.
For her work as an activist, including the publication of Bombastic Magazine, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera appeared on the cover of Time magazine’s Africa edition.

The remarkable work of Bombastic Magazine continues this week with the publication of its second issue.

Along with its associated African LGBTI media site Kuchu Times, the Uganda-based magazine provides a place where the voice of sexual and gender minorities can be heard in a country, and continent, where they are often silenced or ignored.

The first edition of Bombastic Magazine appeared in late 2014. Since then its electronic version has been downloaded more than 2 million times.

Longtime Ugandan activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, writes that, because of Bombastic Magazine, people “who have been stigmatised for so long are now opening up sharing their lives with the world like never before.”

The cover of Bombastic's first issue.
The cover of the first issue of Bombastic Magazine.

The first issue changed many minds of people who “were anti-LGBTI simply because all the information handed down to them made our community out to be nothing but immoral and out to get their children. We had parents asking u how best they could mend their relationships with their LGBTI-identifying children,” she wrote in the introduction to the second issue.

She expressed her hope that the stories and commentaries of the second edition will produce similar changes.

“I believe that everyone should have the right to be who they are and not to be judged for it, and hopefully with this magazine more people will adopt this belief too,” she wrote.

The free print version of Bombastic has been distributed to many markets throughout the country by a team of volunteers. The online version of the magazine is available via issuu.com, where it comes with a “Content warning: This publication may contain content that is inappropriate for some users, as flagged by issuu’s user community.”

In a press release,  Kuchu Times Media Group stated, “In a world where media has been used to misconstrue queer narratives, the magazine is a beacon of hope and a symbol of our resilience and continued effort in ‘Reclaiming Media’ by amplifying queer voice in telling of their LGBTI stories. The magazine is an anthology of stories, poems, and testimonies on varied topics including but not limited to religion, culture and health, told by the sexual and gender minority community in Uganda. …

“This publication is a humble call to all Ugandans to understand our plight and not judge us based on the misconceptions told to them. We are not calling on Ugandans to become LGBTI nor are we asking for special treatment, we are simply calling on our fellow society to recognize that we are part and parcel of the Ugandan society and any unfair treatment towards us simply because of who we love is an injustice to the whole society.”

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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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