A Uganda chapter of International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) has been launched in Uganda following a successful meeting attended by over 100 gay men and women, transgender people, human rights activists and other supporters.
“Never before has there been such a far-reaching well organised and professional gay public debate in this country,” said Pastor Kiyimba Yususf Brown who is the country coordinator for IDAHO.
Organisations which were represented included “Open Door Counselling Ministries, Spectrum-Uganda, Queer Youth Uganda, Ice Breakers, Uganda Youth Health, Breaking the Silence and MUSLA”.
Among the participants who addressed the conference was East Africa ILGA representative, Sam Ganafa who was described by Pastor Brown as “a pillar of equality”.
Also attending was Sam Opio, chairperson of Queer Youth Uganda (QYU), a vibrant organisation that is concerned with youth health and rights.
Led by QYU, the conference also discussed the way forward for gay and lesbian rights in the country.
In addition to LGBT rights, the conference addressed issues relating to HIV, which were raised by the audience.
The guest speaker was Professor Louis-Georges Tin, the international coordinator of IDAHO.
He stressed the need for unity among LGBT people and other human rights campaigners and spoke about the achievements of IDAHO to date – and the need for the United Nations to adopt a resolution for the Universal Decriminalisation of Homosexuality.
Speaking in London, Derek Lennard, the IDAHO UK coordinator commented that the fact that this meeting took place at all is astonishing.
“It is clearly up to campaigners in Uganda to decide how they can address the oppression they face,” he said.
“However, I am sure that all those involved in IDAHO campaigns and initiatives in the UK will want to support Uganda in whatever ways we can, and express our pride in working alongside them to fight the international scourge of homophobia and transphobia”.
Gay and transgender people in Uganda continue to suffer from the oppression of homophobia, which has resulted in many losing their jobs and even their lives, with many others facing trauma.