News / Africa

2nd Annual Gay Pride Parade Held in Uganda

Revelers are seen at Uganda's second annual gay pride parade in Entebbe, August 3, 2013. (Hilary Heuler/for VOA)
Revelers are seen at Uganda's second annual gay pride parade in Entebbe, August 3, 2013. (Hilary Heuler/for VOA)
On Saturday, August 3, Uganda’s homosexual community stepped out of the shadows in red wigs and glittering stilettos.

The country’s second gay pride parade, held on a sandy beach in Entebbe, drew over a hundred people eager to tell the world that they are out, they are proud and they are not afraid to show it.

Growing confidence

Last year’s parade, the first ever in Uganda, was broken up by police, and several people were arrested. But the fact that they were able to pull it off at all has given the community newfound confidence, says activist Kelly Mukwano.

“That success gave us confidence that we can do it," Mukwano said. "We are getting more confident as time goes by.”
Beyondy, who performed on August. 3, 2013, says she was beaten up by police at last year's gay pride parade. (Hilary Heuler/for VOA)Beyondy, who performed on August. 3, 2013, says she was beaten up by police at last year's gay pride parade. (Hilary Heuler/for VOA)
Saturday’s march was sheltered in the leafy recesses of a botanical garden about 20 miles from Kampala. But this year, police were informed in advance and the authorities did not intervene. Some revelers felt it was only a matter of time before they are able to march through the streets of the capital.

“Guys, it’s baby steps," said one marcher. "Today, we are here, miles away from Kampala. Baby steps. Soon we shall be on Kampala Road.”

Grim history

Uganda has a grim track record when it comes to gay rights.

The country grabbed headlines in 2009 with the introduction of a draconian anti-homosexuality bill which proposed the death penalty for acts of so-called “aggravated homosexuality.” The bill has yet to be debated by parliament.

The proposed legislation whipped up homophobia in Uganda and drove some homosexuals out of the country. But, according to Sandra Ntebi, who handles security for the gay and lesbian community, the number of activists has also been growing.

“We have more energy than three or five years back when the bill had just been tabled and everyone was running," Ntebi said. "We were not feeling that we really deserved to stay in our own country. But most of us have decided to come back on the ground and we fight for our rights from home.”

There is no question that being homosexual in Uganda is still difficult. Police regularly break up events held by the gay and lesbian community, and homosexuals are often disowned by their families and shunned by friends. Violence and intimidation occur on a regular basis.

Improving conditions

But Mukwano insists that the situation in Uganda has been exaggerated in the international media, and that there are plenty of countries that are worse.

“People are dying in Ethiopia," Mukwano said. "People are dying elsewhere in the world. In Jamaica, people are being beaten all the time because they are gay. So I think that was over-exaggerating that Uganda is the worst place to be gay.”

One brightly dressed transsexual, who goes by the name Beyondy, says that Saturday’s event just made her feel free.

“Last year, I was one of the people who were beaten up by the police," Beyondy said. "So today I’m happy that we are free. No one is staring and stopping our marching.”

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: billy wingartenson from: Baltimore md
August 04, 2013 11:15 PM
BTW tthis is amazing given that there is much Islamic influence in Uganda and other African nations. Back some years ago a plane of Israelis was hijacked and taken to Uganda by the bums of the Islamic Edi Amin Ultimately all were rescued with a daring landing of Israeli troops in a gliding in C130 transport All the hijackers were killed, the only loss was the sun of Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israeli LT

BTW ,the hatred of gays has been driven even worse in Uganda by a scott lively, and American extremist (non cath) christian who wrote a book saying the Nazis were gay The Nazis murdered all the "effeminate" as they saw the gays, that they could find. About 50,000

In Response

by: dr JImmy from: holland
August 06, 2013 6:24 AM
First my congratulations to the gay people in Uganda , it is good step towards birght and save future for the gay and lesbians in your country. I am myself somalian and hope to see more freedom for the gay population, specialy in somaliland which claims to be democratic country. We somaliland gays deserve the same right as any other group. let is marge in the Streets of hargaisa with the gay flag and demand our place in the society. they should stop hate and violance against the gay people in somaliland. viva all gay all over the world and freedom for African gays. peace and love

In Response

by: Dilman from: Kampala
August 05, 2013 11:41 AM
You are utterly mis-informed. Uganda is not Islamist. Idi Amin was a muslim, but not an Islamist. Besides, Isreal itself was behind that hijacking! http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6710289.stm

In Response

by: Bbb from: Toronto
August 05, 2013 10:49 AM
I agree with everything, except that Uganda has Islamic influence. Christians maKe up about 84% of Uganda's population and Muslim representing 12 % who practice a moderate version of Islam. Evangelical from the states has more stake on this than any other external influence

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid