3 Ways the International Community Can Support LGBT Ugandans

When it comes to admonishing Uganda for it’s anti-homosexuality stance, millions are ready to weigh in. However, in all this admonishment, many forget that LGBT Ugandans actually exist — Ugandans who are willing to put their lives on the line for what they believe in. So as Pride nears (yes there is a Pride Parade in Uganda), let’s take a look at three easy ways you can support the LGBT community here in Uganda.

Support Local Causes

While it’s true that Uganda’s LGBT community faces daunting threats both to their rights and personal security, there are a number of out and proud Ugandan activists who run LGBT programs inside the country. These includes organizations such as Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). Both organizations have been on the front lines, overturning the Anti-Homosexuality Act last year and implementing healthcare and outreach programs across the country.

In addition, local news magazines, such as Bombastic, help give LGBT Ugandans an outlet to speak. Bombastic is headed by the legendary Ugandan LGBT activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, who was one of the grand marshals in this year’s New York Pride Parade. Bombastic’s message is unique in that for many Ugandans this is the first (yes first) time they are hearing about life from a LGBT point of view, rather than from hateful evangelicals.

By showing your support for these groups, you can help support legal battles, local health initiatives, security training and events like Pride.

Don’t Scare Monger

While the Anti-Homosexuality Act was realized with the help of Western evangelicals such as Scott Lively, it was challenged and repealed by Ugandans. When talking about Uganda and how much they “hate” homosexuals remember that LGBT Ugandans are proud of their culture and heritage and know that it can exist without hate.

In fact, before colonialism and English laws were implemented, prominent kingdoms had gay men in positions of power. In the West Nile region, a marriage between same-sex couples were considered normal. It takes time to rediscover culture when the demonization of local beliefs has been entrenched for decades. Let LGBT Ugandans and their allies do their work, and let’s not treat the country like a monolith.

Be Careful as to Which Evangelical Missions You Support

There are a massive amount of church groups that take yearly trips to Uganda in order to “help” the country. While some missions do truly care about the well-being of the community, a number of them are discriminatory and hateful. They spread this hate to local communities, scaring them into believing that the homosexuals prey on children and attempt to convert them into sexual deviants.

Rather than supporting missions that may or may not spread hate, why not support local Christian groups that are LGBT-friendly? Think that’s crazy? Well then you’ve never heard of Reverend Patrick Leuben, a Ugandan Reverend who is both a proud gay man and a servant of God. Reverend Leuben founded Saint Paul’s Voice Center (SPAVOC) which helps LGBT Ugandans seeking spiritual nourishment. He also runs an orphanage in Western Uganda which helps bring up children in way that affirms the rights of all humans while keeping a strong Christian foundation.

So if you want to support your religion while still supporting human rights in Uganda, now you know where to go.

Ugandans are looking forward to Pride as a way to mingle and celebrate a part of themselves which must so often remain hidden away. The international community can and should play a supporting role as this incredible and brave minority marches towards equality.

Photo credit: Lizabeth Paulat 2014

31 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Winn Adams
Winn A2 years ago

Thanks

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell2 years ago

Thank you

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Christine V.
Christine V2 years ago

good tips

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Danuta Watola
Danuta W2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Fi T.
Past Member 2 years ago

Equality

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan H2 years ago

Noted

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Ingo Schreiner
Ingo Schreiner2 years ago

thanks

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Anne Moran
Anne Moran2 years ago

I hardly think, that what we say or do will have much effect on the haters, living on the other side of the world,, especially in a country that has been known to threaten and kill people, in this sector of society...

But,, nevertheless, good luck to them, and I hope they will be able to live out their lives, as the rest of the population does..

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D.E.A. C.
D.E.A. C2 years ago

Good luck to this effort. I hope they succeed. How about a follow-up?

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