Gay play opens in Uganda despite homophobic laws

A play featuring a man coming out premieres in Kampala where it is still illegal to be gay

Gay play opens in Uganda despite homophobic laws
20 August 2012

A play featuring a gay storyline has premiered in Uganda where homosexuality is still illegal.

The River and the Mountain opened at a theatre in Kampala on Friday (17 August), despite the threat of police raids.

Written by British writer Beau Hopkins, the play has faced opposition from the authorities, who blocked organizers from staging it at the national theatre.

Gay sex is illegal in Uganda, with ‘offenders’ facing life imprisonment in some cases.

There have been efforts in the last two years to revive an anti-gay bill which makes homosexuality punishable by death.

A spokesman for gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) told Gay Star News that the play features one character coming out.

He said: ‘[Gay bar owner David Cecil who is hosting the play] has been getting resistance from the police about the play.

‘However, the gay part in the play is really very small and it tackles so many other issues, including corruption, politics and health.’

Ugandan LGBT rights activist Pepe Julian Onziema called the play ‘revolutionary’ claiming it could help tackle homophobia in the African nation, reported the Associated Press.

‘I think it’s time that we opened our minds to the things happening in our midst,’ he said.

Earlier this month, Uganda’s LGBT community was able to conduct a weekend of gay pride events at Entebbe, starting with a party and featuring a beach parade and a small film festival.

However, the festival was marred by a police raid on 4 August. Activists were reportedly detained but later released without charges being filed.

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