“The homos are in there, the crowd yelled. We opened the door and there were police and people everywhere yelling and banging spoons on metal cooking pans. I still have the scars from the beating that followed”. Jackson Mukasa, a gay man living in Uganda.
We are not going to achieve the protection of the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people in Uganda until we change the law and social attitudes. We believe this can only happen by providing evidence to the Ugandan government that homophobia is bad for the economy, offering practical solutions for law reform, crafting messages that win-over the mainstream community and building the capacity of the LGBT charity sector in Uganda.
If you are LGBT and are living in Uganda, you live in constant fear of being attacked, fired from work, evicted and rejected by your family. Some lesbians have been subjected to corrective rape, and transgender people have been stripped naked and paraded in the street. Such behaviour is not uncommon, yet neither the government nor the police are willing to protect those affected.
In 2014 the Ugandan government passed the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) which introduced the death penalty for same-sex sexual conduct and further criminalised Uganda’s LGBT community. The passing of this draconian legislation was aided by support from anti-gay politicians and evangelical religious leaders. Many of these people accuse gay people of being paedophiles and beasts who threaten family values. International condemnation led to repeal of the AHA, but hate speech towards gay people has contributed to a 750 per cent rise in homophobic incidents in Uganda.
More recently the government has passed laws that threaten charities that support LGBT people with de-registration and closure. These charities have been mysteriously burgled and their records and computers stolen in an effort to intimidate them. Realities of the Trump presidency and departure of supportive diplomats allow the abuse of gay people with impunity and makes Uganda a dangerous place for gay people.
In the 21st century, it is unacceptable that gay people are persecuted. In addition to the amazing work currently done in Uganda, supporters of LGBT rights in Uganda and internationally need to think of pro-active long-term ways to bring about transformative change. We believe that the best way to gain greater protection of LGBT rights in Uganda is by changing the law.
How You Can Help
We know that long-term change is going to take time and money. We plan to kick-start our work by immediately setting up an international charity called Fairness International in the UK.
We are in a great position to bring together allies from the UK and Ugandan governments, UK businesses working in Uganda, aid agencies and charities across the globe to intensify dialogue and provide answers that help to protect LGBT rights. It is time for people who are passionate about equality, fairness and human rights to take matters in our hands.
We plan to raise £10,000 towards this much-needed work and seek your help to make a donation. The funds will be used to register Fairness International, design a law reform strategy and start to carry out vital initiatives aimed at strengthening the work of LGBT charities in Uganda. This donation is extremely important to us because it makes it possible for Fairness International to exist and start our work towards the elimination of the escalating abuse of gay people in Uganda.
The long fight for the protection of LGBT rights in the UK means that gay people are protected by the rule of law. This is not the case for thousands across the globe - especially in Uganda where gay people are forced to hide their true selves and suffer the dread of exposure on a daily basis.
With your help, we will strive to change the law and social attitudes and ultimately put an end to the hate, bullying and discrimination of LGBT people in Uganda. Every pound you donate takes us closer to our mission and we thank you in advance of your support!
A bit about Fairness International
Fairness International, is a not-for-profit organisation whose vision is a society where rights of all individuals are protected and safeguarded without prejudice. Our mission is to work towards the decriminalisation of same-sex relations and to stop the abuse and harassment of LGBT people in Uganda.
We bring about change by:
- Lobbying the Ugandan government and persuading them to remove anti-gay laws and put an end to the violation of LGBT rights.
- Contributing to a stronger LGBT civil society in Uganda that is more effective at tackling the socio-political, economic and legal challenges affecting gay people.
- Conducting comprehensive research geared at making a business and moral case for safeguarding LGBT rights and improving relationships with mainstream communities.
- Setting up economic empowerment projects that provide a source of livelihood to the poorest LGBT people at most risk of abuse.
Please spread the word on Twitter and Facebook, email your friends and family and tell everyone you know how they can get involved. Thank you!