3 Ways the International Community Can Support LGBT Ugandans

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When it comes to admonishing Uganda for its anti-homosexuality stance, millions are ready to weigh in. However, in all this admonishment, many forget that LGBT Ugandans actually exist — Ugandans who are willing to put their lives on the line for what they believe in. So as Pride nears (yes there is a Pride Parade in Uganda), let’s take a look at three easy ways you can support the LGBT community here in Uganda.

Support Local Causes

While it’s true that Uganda’s LGBT community faces daunting threats both to their rights and personal security, there are a number of out and proud Ugandan activists who run LGBT programs inside the country. These includes organizations such as Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). Both organizations have been on the front lines, overturning the Anti-Homosexuality Act last year and implementing healthcare and outreach programs across the country.

In addition, local news magazines, such as Bombastic, help give LGBT Ugandans an outlet to speak. Bombastic is headed by the legendary Ugandan LGBT activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, who was one of the grand marshals in this year’s New York Pride Parade. Bombastic’s message is unique in that for many Ugandans this is the first (yes first) time they are hearing about life from a LGBT point of view, rather than from hateful evangelicals.

By showing your support for these groups, you can help support legal battles, local health initiatives, security training and events like Pride.

Don’t Scare Monger

While the Anti-Homosexuality Act was realized with the help of Western evangelicals such as Scott Lively, it was challenged and repealed by Ugandans. When talking about Uganda and how much they “hate” homosexuals remember that LGBT Ugandans are proud of their culture and heritage and know that it can exist without hate.

In fact, before colonialism and English laws were implemented, prominent kingdoms had gay men in positions of power. In the West Nile region, a marriage between same-sex couples were considered normal. It takes time to rediscover culture when the demonization of local beliefs has been entrenched for decades. Let LGBT Ugandans and their allies do their work, and let’s not treat the country like a monolith.

Be Careful as to Which Evangelical Missions You Support

There are a massive amount of church groups that take yearly trips to Uganda in order to “help” the country. While some missions do truly care about the well-being of the community, a number of them are discriminatory and hateful. They spread this hate to local communities, scaring them into believing that the homosexuals prey on children and attempt to convert them into sexual deviants.

Rather than supporting missions that may or may not spread hate, why not support local Christian groups that are LGBT-friendly? Think that’s crazy?

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/3-ways-the-international-community-can-support-lgbt-ugandans.html#ixzz3gf8vlADx

Aerialists in the Sky: Uganda’s Hiccup Circus

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Back in January I did a story for VOA on Uganda’s Hiccup Circus which can be found here. In it, I detailed how this circus troupe was bringing educational messages and entertainment to children in poorer regions of Kampala, as well as refugee camps around Uganda.

Many of the aerialists in the circus are self taught, and spend hours practicing dangerous drops and loops to entertain their fans. Here are some photos from the shoot, which highlights the incredible skill of these young men.

One of the senior aerialists in the Hiccup Circus gets wrapped up in his work (ba-dum-ching!)

One of the senior aerialists in the Hiccup Circus gets wrapped up in his work (ba-dum-ching!)

The silks stretch slightly to allow give when aerialists do particular drops. Because of this, climbing them can be a momentous task and takes serious upper body strength.

The silks stretch slightly to allow give when aerialists do particular drops. Because of this, climbing them can be a momentous task and takes serious upper body strength.

Instructions from the ground are called up to the aerialist as he practices his performance.

Instructions from the ground are called up to the aerialist as he practices his performance.

Keeping a cool head while hanging by one leg is a must.

Keeping a cool head while hanging by one leg is a must.

Peeking through, the series of wraps performed by this aerialist has allowed him some time to relax while suspended in the air.

Peeking through, the series of wraps performed by this aerialist has allowed him some time to relax while suspended in the air.

To take down the silks, climbers shimmy up the pole and untie it. This is far more dangerous than most of the moves performed while on the silks because he's outside the radius of the crash pad.

To take down the silks, climbers shimmy up the pole and untie it. This is far more dangerous than most of the moves performed while on the silks because he’s outside the radius of the crash pad.

Amama Mbabazi Arrested in Ugandan Presidential Bid

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On Thursday, presidential aspirant Amama Mbabazi was arrested in Jinja town and brought to Kira Road Police Station in Kampala. Supporters and journalists flocked to the police station and in the high tension atmosphere, physical altercations between the police and Mbabazi supporters broke out. These are my photographs from that day.

Police enforce a strict barrier between journalists, the public and the police station while presidential hopeful Amama Mbabazi is inside.

Police enforce a strict barrier between journalists, the public and the police station while presidential hopeful Amama Mbabazi is inside.

The strategy was 'containment'.

The strategy was ‘containment’.

Two Mbabazi supporters look on in horror as police and civilians begin to clash.

Two Mbabazi supporters look on in horror as police and civilians begin to clash.

Police and Mbabazi supporters stumble into traffic while in the midst of a physical fight.

Police and Mbabazi supporters stumble into traffic while in the midst of a physical fight.

An Mabazi supporter distributes posters along Kira Road. Second later he had to run from the police or face arrest.

An Mabazi supporter distributes posters along Kira Road. Seconds later he had to run from the police or face arrest.

As the police pull up just out of view, supporters make their case to passing traffic.

As the police pull up just out of view, supporters make their case to passing traffic.