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Uganda: Against Odds, Gay Pride Events Take Place in Entebbe

The LGBT community has been harassed for years in Uganda. This is why the first Gay Pride organized on August 4th in Entebbe was praised worldwide.

LGBT Pride was a series of events held at Entebbe, including a party, a beach parade and a film festival. Jamaican LGBT activist Maurice Tomlinson was honored as the grand marshal of the event. In spite of widespread homophobia on the part Ugandan politicians and the public, the event was reportedly well attended. Ugandan police raided the event and detained LGBT activists who were later released.

On 14 October, 2009, David Bahati , Member of Parliament, introduced an anti-homosexuality bill (known also as “Kill the Gays bill”) criminalising same-sex relations in which a person considered as homosexual would receive the death penalty, or life imprisonment. As a result of the outrage of the international community, with some Western countries such as Sweden considering to cut financial assistance, the bill met some delays. In February this year, however, Bahati re-tabled the bill with some changes.

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented a coalition of Ugandan rights groups with the State Department's 2011 Human Rights Defender Award in Uganda. She called the activists an inspiration for others struggling to secure equal rights around the world.

Photo by David Robinson© 2012 c/o Melanie Nathan, All Rights Reserved. One time permission for use with this article only granted to Global Voices.

Commenting on Dan Littauer's report on the Pride events in Entebbe on Gay Star News, Andyy wrote:

Every step we take is altering the entire future for many more than those alive today. Wisdom of our LGBTQ issues is already victorious over those yet bound and surround by the seemingly ever present forefather drowning mad flood ignorance. Life and death is the seriousness of our every step. Www.100stones.wordpress.com

Commenting on GayStarNews post, Darren Simpson also said:

I'm so proud of the people who never gave up on what they believe in, being gay is not a chose its a way of life and the more the gay community in Uganda stand tall a fight then one day people will stand up and listen. As a gay person am so proud of you all who became one and supported each other and risked your life to imprisonment. You have done this once you can do it again.

Responding to an article by on newyorker.com, melnathan wrote:

The importance of this Pride event cannot be understated. The fact that these brave activists could pull this off in this milieu of persecution is a great victory for the community. Visibility like this notes the ongoing legacy of late activist David Kato, it defies the export of American Evangelical hate, and it helps ensure defeat of the Bahati Bill. It shows leadership for all of Africa, and above all it shows that the LGBT people of Uganda simply refuse to give up their right to exist and to live their natural born sexual orientation. see more photos to and article at The Advocate http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/commentary/2012/08/08/see-photos-ugandans-both-proud-and-brave

Rolling Stone "100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak: Hang Them"

An example of media hatred towards homosexuals in Uganda: Rolling Stone's 100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak. Photo via Gay Uganda.

Commenting on the same story, kasia_r said:

Dear Alexis, I am just an ordinary East Europe citizen, but I would like to get some information about how I can help, even if a little (unfortunately, I cannot afford a lot) financially. please, let me know what I can do. I would also be more than happy for you to give me contacts to your brave Ugandian colleagues. I am not a journalist of any sorts, I am just very much impressed and I would feel honored to ask them some questiones and to talk to them, if possible. I don't know, if you can send me a PM, but, anyway, here is my email: rogalewicz@gmail.com, please, contact me if you can.

Twitter users around the world showed their admiration and support for the bravery and courage displayed by Ugandan gay activists:

@GoodMenProject: Admire the people who marched for gay pride in Uganda. Homosexuality is a capital offense. Their bravery is beautiful. http://ht.ly/cTAHG

@Bardissimo: A #Pride march can not be any braver and prouder than this one. Gay Pride in #Uganda! http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=516051181754277&set=a.510412848984777.131622.122256581133741&type=3&theater

@AskMrMickey: How amazing are the folks who marched in that Uganda Gay Pride parade? How can we support em? Fundraiser? Any ideas?

@JoeSetchell: I have the upmost respect for these guys risking imprisonment or even death. #HatsOff #GayPride #Uganda. http://pic.twitter.com/W6TlkPkK

@NewYorker: “Can you imagine that the worst place in the world to be gay is having Gay Pride?” @alexis_ok at a parade in Uganda: http://nyr.kr/Nxp0Fs

@PatrickStrud: I have the most profound respect and admiration for every single woman and man taking part in Uganda's first gay pride: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/08/gay-and-proud-in-uganda.html#slide_ss_0=1

@JoeMyGod: Gay And Proud In Uganda: It boggles the mind, but a small gay pride event was held in Uganda this weekend. Alex… http://bit.ly/OIGFfh

@ZackieAchmat: Brilliant!”Uganda Gay Pride march Indescribably brave and moving. http://pic.twitter.com/ZALQWEkq” Thanks @JRhodesPianist @dalli_weyers @gavinsilber

On 26 January, 2012, Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was found murdered, just weeks after winning a court case against a local newspaper that had called for Ugandans to “hang” homosexuals. Kato was an advocacy officer for gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda.

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