Comment and Analysis

Hunted in Uganda: Save us from this 'sexuality genocide'

M&G Correspondent

This is an SOS to the whole world: Help the LGBTI community survive this "sexuality genocide" in Uganda, writes a transgender woman from Kampala.

The Ugandan tabloid 'Red Pepper' plays a lead role in the witch hunt for LGBTI people. (AFP)

The situation in Uganda is horrible, with people getting harassed, detained and forcefully evicted.

The morning after President Yoweri Museveni signed the anti-gay Bill, we woke to the news of a gay friend of ours that had been lynched by a mob. His partner was badly beaten up and is now in hospital in critical condition.

I am not surprised by this. Signing the Bill at a fully televised function and the comments he made during the event, Museveni made it clear that LGBTI people are considered an anomaly, suggesting that violence against them would not be frowned upon. More than ever LGBTIs are a target. Over the past two days, the Red Pepper, a popular local tabloid, has taken to publishing the names and photos of LGBTI people, including their places of work and residence.

Two hundred people have been forcefully outed so far, making us easy targets for blood hungry homophobes. We have heard cases of people fleeing to Kenya. Some in a refugee camp at Kakuma in Kenya have suffered even more, since all refugees fleeing Uganda are apparently considered to be LGBTI. We have heard a case of a trans man's travel documents being taken away at an airport.

The situation is dire. The cutting of aid from overseas has only served to exacerbate issues as now every ordinary Ugandan will blame LGBTI for their economic plight, further validating their prejudices of western imperialistic imposition on African states.

The whole debate has been misconstrued and our health and identities moralised and politicised. With emotions running high, it is hard to even hold any conversation around LGBTI issues in Uganda right now.

Constitutional challenge
All that remains is the constitutional challenge to the Act in Parliament but it will take ages for a positive ruling to materialise – if ever.

In the meantime, the safety and security of LGBTI people is of the utmost importance and we need countries to loosen their asylum regulations and grant the exposed LGBTI people an emergency exit as the fight continues.

That is the message we need to get out there as no foreign mission has come out clearly on this. They fought alongside us against the legislation and it would be unfortunate for them to abandon our members now.

There are several warning signs of a sexuality genocide brewing, incited by the government, including the president, the media and religious leaders.

This is an SOS to the whole world. My boyfriend and I have been under self-imposed house arrest since the passing of the Bill. My mum comes over at night to bring food.

We need to get out to safety, but not just me. It needs to be a collective mass action. If there is any help you can offer - the need is so urgent! Everyone, please get the word out there.

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