IDAHOT Events 2015: Discussing Legal and Health Issues in Uganda

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In commemoration of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) in Uganda, Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), in conjunction with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), hosted this year’s IDAHOT event under the theme” Ending violence and discrimination against LGBT people in Uganda” on Friday 15th May 2015. Additionally, in Entebbe LGBTQI activists celebrated IDAHOT at Lake Victoria

[box type=”note” ]We are still busy collecting information on this year’s IDAHOT activities and are waiting to hear back from activists and event organisers. If you have information to share with us, please write us at contact@dayagainsthomophobia.org[/box]

Report by FARUG:

In celebration of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) in conjunction with Sexual Minorities Uganda hosted the Uganda’s 2015 edition of the IDAHOT.
The theme for this year’s IDAHOT was Ending Violence and Discrimination.FARUG’s 2015 IDAHOT event edition featured articles, poems, artwork and photographs by LGBT people from various LGBTI organizations in Uganda. The event was used both as a celebration and as a call to action against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.It also provided a  forum where LGBTI people from various LGBTI organizations and spaces in Uganda were able to share their experiences about being part of the LGBTI community in Uganda.
The executive director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, Joanita Warry Ssenfuka who gave the welcoming remarks had this to say about IDAHOT
“As we celebrate the lives of all fallen comrades due to Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, I call upon all Ugandans and especially the religious fundamentalists to put an end to hate towards LGBTI persons as they could be your friends, brothers, sisters, mothers or fathers. Uganda would be a better place if LGBTI people were not treated with hate but rather with the respect they deserve. We are harmless “TETULINABUZIBU”
Although IDAHOT was a time for celebration, it was also a time to remember that the price of freedom of expression for many can be very high, and can even include death. In this accord, FARUG remembered the life of the Late David Kato a gay rights activist who was murdered at his home in Mukono and prayed for the LGBTI persons who have been victims of violence and persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, or for daring to speak their truth.
Representatives from Chapter4, Human Rights Awareness and Promotional forum (HRAPF) and Most at Risk Population Initiative(MARPI) spoke about the importance of solidarity within civil society, support of vulnerable groups, and the growing strength of the LGBT movement in our common struggle for peace and human rights in Uganda.
Shawn Mugisha from HRAPF had this to say about the NGO bill “We challenged the Anti-homosexuality bill in 2014, the NGO bill found us stronger than ever”
Nicholas Opiyo, Chapterfour Uganda: “While we use this auspicious occasion to register our condemnation of all forms of violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, we must also celebrate our resilience and courage. Throughout difficult moments, you all have not despaired. You have not resigned to violence and discrimination. You continue to reject violence and discriminations against LGBT people as un-civilized, unlawful and against the conscience of all human society.
Richard Lusimbo an LGBTI activist: “We protest today against every injustice LGBTI people are forced to face in this country. We pray for our fallen LGBT brothers and sisters and for those who are violated and killed every day”.
Besides these informative dialogues from our partner legal service providers, the event also hosted a Voluntary counseling and testing session for HIV/AIDS and STIs which was spearheaded and coordinated by MARPI, a health service provider for most at risk populations. The participants were taken through a one on one session on their sexual and reproductive health concerns. The event was concluded by entertainment and refreshments with the participants, allies and partners.
In a nutshell, holding such an event in a country that is surrounded by utmost homophobia and persecution of LGBTI persons is a light shining at the end of our tunnel. Like Hillary Clinton, presidential aspirant for US presidency once said, LIKE BEING A RACIAL, TRIBAL OR ETHNIC MINORITY, BEING LGBT DOES NOT MAKE YOU LESS HUMAN.AND THAT IS WHY GAY RIGHTHS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS,AND HUMAN RIGHTS ARE GAY RIGHTS.

Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) is a women’s rights organization that advocates for and addresses issues of lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and intersex(LBTI) and women sleeping with women in Uganda.

An inspiring IDAHOT/Pride event took place in Entebbe on the banks of Lake Victoria in Uganda. The event was organised by a grassroots LGBT group called Youth on Rock Foundation and co sponsored by Rainbow International LGBT Activist Solidarity Fund, SMUG Sexual Minorities Uganda, and UHAI East African Sexual Health Rights Initiative. 

With 240 people attending the event this was the biggest IDAHOT event ever held to date in Uganda. Due to safety issues only few photos were taken. Sadly, virulently anti-LGBT newspapers in Uganda regularly publish photos of LGBT people to out them publicly and deliberately ruin lives, resulting in evictions, job losses, and attacks.

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