Defiant and proud (Pic: Uganda Gay On Move / Facebook)
Dozens of LGBT Ugandans have taken part in a discreet but defiant Pride parade in the town of Entebbe under the theme of “We are family”.
Over the past week, the fourth annual Uganda Pride festival featured parties, pageants, a movie screening and discussions. The highlight was Saturday’s parade.
It was held in the botanical gardens, along the shores of Lake Victoria, away from members of the public to ensure the safety of the marchers.
The around 400 participants wore colourful outfits, waved rainbow flags and sang as they walked alongside a few vehicles playing music.
One man held up a sign that read: “I have a relationship with Jesus and I am gay.”
Other signs called for LGBT equality and promoted local groups advocating for the rights of sexual minorities.
Participants in the fourth annual Uganda Pride parade (Pic: Uganda Gay On Move / Facebook)
Unlike Pride in many other countries, the event was not widely advertised and details were spread by word of mouth in the community.
Despite this, Ugandan tabloids were quick to sensationalise the Pride parade. Hello Daily featured the event on its front page, with the headline: “500 UG gays hold secret party.”
It added: “LGBT beat security, hold 4th annual gay Pride celebration,” and “Their rights must be respected – Obama.”
Significantly, Uganda Pride 2015 was held on the first anniversary of the annulment of the country’s infamous Anti-Homosexuality Act by the Constitutional Court.
MPs have since threatened to introduce a harsh new bill to replace the law. There are also plans to pass a law restricting LGBT NGOs.
Previous colonial-era legislation criminalising gay sex remains in force in Uganda, allowing the courts to imprison anyone found guilty of homosexuality for life.
Watch a video of the parade below.