Participants in Saturday's 2nd Uganda Pride

Participants in Saturday’s 2nd Uganda Pride

Members of Uganda’s LGBT community have managed to hold their second annual gay Pride event this weekend, despite living in one of the most homophobic countries in the world.

On Saturday, a group of around a hundred LGBT people gathered for a parade on a beach in Entebbe to proclaim their existence to their country and the world.

Last year’s pride event saw police raid the venue where people had gathered after the beach march.

They ordered the party to stop and arrested a number of participants. Despite this, organisers saw the event as a victory.

“That success gave us confidence that we can do it,” activist Kelly Mukwano told Voice of America. “We are getting more confident as time goes by.”

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

This year the Ugandan authorities were informed about the march, held in a sheltered botanical garden about 30 kilometres outside of the capital Kampala, but there were no incidents or intervention from the police reported.

Despite their own grim circumstance, some marchers held up placards offering their support for LGBT people in Russia who are themselves grappling with a new anti-gay law.

On Sunday, the official closing party for ‪Pride was held where Mr and Miss Pride Uganda 2013 were crowned.

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Uganda, with penalties including life imprisonment. The pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill could add the death penalty as an additional punishment for repeat “offenders”.

In July, LGBTI group Spectrum Uganda Initiatives, was forced to relocate its offices and suspend its work as a result of ongoing threats from members of the public and neighbouring tenants.

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