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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
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 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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid