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Ugandans celebrate Pride in secret, despite anti-gay laws

Ugandans celebrate Pride in secret, despite anti-gay laws

Over 100 LGBTI people in Uganda gathered together in secret to celebrate pride, despite the harsh anti-gay laws currently in place in the east African country.

Last week (28 June), 100 people gathered on a Ugandan beach to celebrate LGBTI pride.

The event was organized in secret to avoid attracting the attention of the police. Homophobic laws currently in place in Uganda sees life imprisonment for anyone caught having gay sex, and up to seven years in prison for anyone who ‘aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality.’

The event was called Kuchus’ Day Out, ‘kuchu’ is a slang term for gay people which the LGBTI community have reclaimed as their own.

The beach celebration was organized by LGBTI equality group Youth on Rock Foundation, who were very pleased with the event, as reported on LGBTI blog 76 crimes.

‘It was a success, and safe,’ said Frank Kamya, secretary and administrator of the Youth on Rock Foundation.

‘It was really fun and a sign of togetherness, solidarity, organizing, networking, re-energizing, and thinking beyond what we go through living in an anti-gay country.’

Pride celebrations on the beach have happened for the past two years, but this year was particularly prominent because of the dramatic increase in anti-gay legislation in Uganda.

Earlier in June, it was reported the US was taking measures against Uganda by refusing to grant visas to Ugandan officials who were involved in the anti-gay laws.

National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said Uganda’s stance on the LGBTI community ‘runs counter to universal human rights and complicates our bilateral relationship.’

Despite the negative reaction to Uganda’s laws, officials have said they refuse to budge on their discriminatory policies.

‘Uganda is a sovereign country and can never bow to anybody or be blackmailed by anybody on a decision it took in its interests, even if it involves threats to cut off all financial assistance,’ said government spokesman Ofwono Opondo (20 June).