Ugandans mark Gay Pride, but stigma tempers joy

2015-08-09 11:01
People hold a banner reading "We are Family" while waving rainbow flags as they take part in the Gay Pride parade in Entebbe, Uganda. (Isaac Kasamani, AFP)

People hold a banner reading "We are Family" while waving rainbow flags as they take part in the Gay Pride parade in Entebbe, Uganda. (Isaac Kasamani, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


The Science Inside: Anti-gay laws in Uganda

2014-12-19 12:28

Ugandan lawmakers drafting new anti-gay legislation said on Friday they will submit it to parliament as a "Christmas gift" to the people. We speak to The Science Inside's Paul McNally about a recent investigation into the issue. Watch.WATCH

Entebbe - Several dozen Ugandans marked Gay Pride on Saturday, cheering that such a parade could go ahead in a country that only last year tried to impose long jail terms for gay sex.

At a secluded beach in Entebbe, on Lake Victoria just outside the capital Kampala, a group of about 70 people holding banners including "I have a relationship with Jesus and I'm gay", marched a short distance as music blared out.

Gays and lesbians in Uganda often live secretive lives, fearful that coming out will attract stigma and hostility from family and friends, or the loss of a job or an apartment.

'We want rights'

"We are here to send a message to the wider population that we do exist and we want rights like any other Ugandan," said Moses Kimbugwe, one of the marchers. "We think this is a step moving forward."

Although some of the revellers described the march - the culmination of a week of gay rights events in Uganda - as a triumph, they said their joy was tempered by the fact that society was still largely hostile to them and that attitudes were unlikely to change quickly.

"Why do I have to celebrate it in an isolated place? Who am I showing that am proud, because we are celebrating to our own selves," activist Sandra Ntebi said.

In 2014, Uganda attracted a storm of international condemnation after enacting one of the harshest anti-gay laws in Africa, where homosexuality is illegal in 37 countries.

A constitutional court later overturned the law because of legal technicalities. Despite threats by some lawmakers that the bill would be re-introduced in parliament, that has not happened and analysts say it would be unlikely to succeed in the face of strong pressure from Western donors.

Another marcher, who identified herself only by her first name, Mariam, because she was unwilling to be identified publicly as gay, said it was "exciting" to march alongside other gay people, but added she lived in fear of being found out.

"I would never ever reveal my gay lifestyle to my parents or friends. They would denounce me," she said.

Read more on:    uganda  |  east africa  |  gay rights

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.