News / Africa

Ugandans Celebrate Gay Pride After Anti-homosexual Law Overturned

  • Ugandans take part in the 3rd Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride celebrations in Entebbe, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • Ugandans take part in the 3rd Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride celebrations in Entebbe, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • A Ugandan man is seen during the 3rd Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride celebrations in Entebbe, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • People walk in a parade as they celebrate the annulment of an anti-homosexuality law by Uganda's constitutional court in Entebbe, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • A man is pictured as he prepares for a parade to celebrate the annulment of an anti-homosexuality law by Uganda's constitutional court in Entebbe, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • People walk in a parade as they celebrate the annulment of an anti-homosexuality law by Uganda's constitutional court in Entebbe, Aug. 9, 2014.

Uganda's 3rd Annual Gay Pride Celebrations

Ugandans celebrating the repeal of the country's controversial anti-homosexuality act gathered on the shore of Lake Victoria Saturday for a gay pride parade and rally – in sharp contrast to a similar rally two years ago that was broken up by police, this year the country's LGBT community was promised protection.

Chartered buses packed with members and supporters of Uganda's LGBT community made their way to Entebbe's Botanical Gardens near Lake Victoria.

The atmosphere was one of celebration, thanks to this month's ruling by Uganda's Constitutional Court. The judges struck down a recent law imposing major penalties - up to life in prison - for so-called "proven homosexuals."

Many Ugandans still oppose homosexuality, but those at Saturday's rally said their message was simple: We refuse to be ashamed of who we are.

Police help

Parade organizers worked closely with police, who assured the organizers that marchers would be protected from harassment if they followed a designated route. Still, some marchers wore masks to conceal their faces.

Shawn Mugisha, one of the organizers, said he was both happy and relieved this year.
 
"Well, I think it’s really exciting, because this [rally] is happening after what happened in court. And security-wise, I think we’re very safe because police [are] aware we’re here,” Mugisha said.

Despite the court's action on Aug. 1, homosexuality is still illegal in Uganda, punishable by a jail sentence. But it is no longer illegal to promote homosexuality, and Ugandans are no longer required to report gays to the authorities.

The court ruling was based on a technicality, and government officials said they will make another attempt to crack down on homosexuality - not to victimize gay people, as they say, but "for the common good."

Activists in the crowd of several hundred people at the Botanical Garden said they were demonstrating for their common good.

They marched behind some of the best-known leaders in Uganda's gay community, including Pepe Julius Onzeima and Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera.

"Next time we shall be marching on the streets of Kampala. …  I’m wearing this mask not because I don’t want to show my face, but because of my comrades who, for obvious reasons, cannot show your faces,” Nabagesera said.

Emotional marchers screamed, cried, chanted and sang as they moved down the road. Park visitors stood nearby, staring.

Proud of activists, themselves

Two women who declined to give their names said they approved of the parade.

First woman: "We feel so proud that we are having this parade because we didn’t expect it. We are so proud of the activists and we thank them for standing up for us."

Second woman: "And we are also proud of ourselves."

First woman: "And we are so happy this is happening. Even if it's short-lived, we are happy today."

Some Ugandan lawmakers said they hope to re-introduce the anti-homosexuality bill later this year, without softening the harsh penalties it imposes on homosexual activity.

However, one of the signs carried by the marchers seemed to sum up their feelings: "We are here to stay, and won’t stop until you stop."

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
August 11, 2014 1:38 AM
FREEDOM AT LAST!! FREEDOM AT LAST!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid