Ugandan LGBTQ+ community in crisis!
“My name is Bwanbale from Mityana Uganda. I was told by my homophobic neighbours that three men had been to my home looking for me. I am now scared to go back there and spent the night on the street. I had no money and was grateful for the offer of transport and food as I escaped next morning to Kenya - where I was put in touch with the local safe house. I now have “family” and can sleep at night. Thank you for saving my life”
The LGBTQ+ community in Uganda desperately need our help! We at Oldham Pride are raising money to help the most in need. The LGBTQ+ Ugandans are facing a devastating humanitarian crisis caused by changes in legislation with the “anti homosexuality bill”. You can see below the terrible impact of such a bill and the real life impact on people who are affected, with many refugees reporting harrowing tales of their recent treatment.
Picture blurred to protect peoples identity
What is happening in Uganda?
You may have seen in the news recently the Ugandan parliament have approved new legislation which entrenches the criminalization of same-sex conduct. It also creates new offenses that will prevent any activism on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues. We have already seen the terrible impact this bill has caused. Below you can see the criminal charges that one may face if prosecuted under such a bill.
This includes the death penalty for those seen to be carrying out “aggravated homosexuality” (meaning those with repeat offences). We are hearing disturbing reports from the local LGBTQ+ community that is being targeted, beaten, forced out of their homes, and in some cases killed based on their gender identity or sexual identity. (See reference 1 and 2 in the appendix). This is being further incited by state media and police who seem to be fuelling further violence and turning a blind eye to crime (see reference 4 in the appendix). We are seeing people experiencing loss of home, jobs, medical care and even their whole livelihoods. This is made worse by reports of blackmail and extortion aimed at known LGBTQ+ individuals or groups by criminals and others seeking to profit in local communities.
Image blurred to protect the individuals identity
“My boyfriend was murdered last night by his neighbours, incited by the police” - Ugandan refugee
There are 10,000 LGBTQ+ people that may be impacted by this in Uganda, all of whom may be in danger due to the passing of this barbaric law. Many of them are in immediate danger and require our help! The Guardian recently reported that 110 people incidents including arrests, sexual violence, evictions, and public undressing, to advocacy group Sexual Minorities Uganda (Smug) in February alone (reference 4). We have heard reports from people on the ground that they have been turned away from, established refugee centres due to their sexual orientation or gender identify. This is leading many LGBTQ+ people to have no where to turn. The number of suicides, arrests and mob violence are on the rise and the impact on people’s mental health cannot be underestimated.
“Our house was burnt / Neighbours started an electrical fire at night (…) fortunately we were able to escape unscathed but lost all our possession.” - Ugandan refugee
Not only is this a humanitarian crisis but also health, this level of disruption will likely cause a knock-on effect of HIV and TB treatment, which could have far reaching effects on not only the health of LGBTQ+ individuals but the wider community and public health. This will lead to long- and short-term mental health issues in those who cannot be themselves, and we are already hearing disturbing statistics on the increase of suicides due to this bill.
How can you help: Phase one
“My family have rejected me - my mother ignores me in the street” - Ugandan refugee. "Our community is being isolated and often have nowhere to turn". Oldham Pride is aiming to fund with a series of safe houses in surrounding countries to:
Provide safe temporary accommodation.
Support emergency relocation
Aim to work with international partners to help people get on their feet.
Your donation will help go towards these safe houses and help LGBTQ+ community members reach safety from the violence and danger they are facing in this moment. Our aim is to partner with further safe houses around Africa and hopefully other charitable partners or NGOs (non-governmental organisation) that support the community. We are currently working with trusted partners to support as many members of the community as possible, who need our help and to help distribute all funds raised to make the greatest impact, so you can be sure that the donation is reaching those who are genuine and most in need.
We are using World Remit money transfer, to the people most in need and aim to send further support. You can see below just some of the costs that these safe houses incur and we can help to keep these going.
Phase two: Continued Support and Development
Phase two will be looking at further funding and developing more safe houses and the continued operation of existing ones for 1+ years.
Our Long Term Aim
Through our crowdfunding efforts we wish not only to raise money to help those most in need, but also to raise awareness of the attacks, violence and abuse that is happening right now to our community. We ask all those reading this to share this by posting on social media and donate whatever you can.
Hopefully we can raise enough awareness to help all those in need.
“We are now placed in a furnace, but we will not die. Like a phoenix, we will fly!” – Ugandan refugee
All pictures have been given with permission for this Crowdfunder (these do not represent the actual people quoted within this article)
All quotes have been provided to Oldham Pride by real victims impacted by this crisis.
Partner NGOs are subject to change based upon resources, changing needs and availability
Ref 1 https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/03/22/ugandan-parliament-passes-extreme-anti-lgbt-bill
Ref 2 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-65034343
Ref 3 https://edition.cnn.com/2023/03/22/africa/uganda-lgbtq-bill-condemned-intl/index.html
Ref 4 https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2023/mar/14/lgbtq-crackdowns-uganda-environment-hostile