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The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in UGANDA...
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AMBROSE BARIGYE (user currently living in UGANDA) posted for gay readers on 30/01/2014 tagged with health, hiv/aids , human rights +5

life of an LGBTIQ person in Uganda can be one of the hardest things to cope up with. i was born in a family of 14 children and am the 9th born hailing from the western district of mbarara. born 2nd Oct 1984. i have lived a life of confusion and deeper thoughts bout what I am but all this came to an end in 2005 when i started interacting with people born like me. it took me time to accept the reality basing on the fact that i was raised form a typical catholic family which always talked ill about same sex relations.i would feel confused especially life as a primary school kid when my other male peers would be chasing after girls in hide and seek games, i would prefer to have company of fellow boys.all this was such horrific to my growing up as a typical mukiga(my tribe) since it was an abomination to have feelings for the same sex especially men who are taken as masters of the clan.its long but i can say life through primary to secondary was a bit confusing not until when i joined A-level i would get a chance to Google all things about same sex attractions which gave me hope for a new life.this also helped me to meet and interact with fellow gay men and lesbian sisters through social media friendships. indeed this marked anew beginning for my life.

if some names that have worked tirelessly but not ever mentioned and received a global award as per fighting for LGBTI equality in Uganda, i must confess that i cant fail to appear among the top personalities that have worked for the Ugandan lgbtiq movement with great enthusiasm but left untalented about beyond the Ugandan borders. i joined the Ugandan lgbtiq struggle in 2009 but i can say within these few years i have faced the worst and best of my life. life as a gay activist in Uganda is sacrificing your life for the sake of others, i have been disowned by my family, i have been threatened to get beheaded with many strange scaring messages, i have lost most of my straight friends , i have lost jobs from the straight fraternity,i have been evicted from many houses, i have been attacked in many social places like bars, i have been outed in the media, i have and am still suffering with life due to lack of support from either sides especially problems of rent and upkeep but i vowed never to back down. Ambrose has been at a fore front of many projects for the betterment of Ugandan lgbti members ranging from health, capacity building program, income generating programs, advocacy campaigns to fight the anti-homosexuality bill and many more, remarkable of all i was the lead mobilizer for the first gay pride in Uganda the beach pride Uganda 2012 which will always be historical..i am happy to have been part of the first ever seven committee members for having organized this first gay pride in 2012 and again we did it in 2013.all in all i can say that life after 20th December 2013 when the bill was passed has scared me much and am scared to talk much of it.many arrests, living in fear,police invading peoples homes and all this is horrific. i conclude saying that our allies keep the support on, keep praying for lgbti Uganda since the situation has worsened.
Ambrose Barigye
twitter; @ambrosebarigye
tel:+256771613781(whats app)
email: ambrose.barigye20@gmail.com
instagram: ambrosebarigye
Facebook: Ambrosio Wazabanga Barigye
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Speaker Kadaga promises to revive shelved gay Bill

The Speaker’s promise follows her experience in Canada, where foreign officials asked her to block the bill.


Days after her defence against a Canadian minister’s attacks on Uganda over homosexuality, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has promised to expedite the debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Ms Kadaga made the assurance while addressing religious leaders and journalists at Entebbe International Airport on Monday. “They said I should stop the debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but I assured them there is no way I can block a private members Bill,” she said.

At the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Quebec, Canada, Ms Kadaga was involved in an altercation with that country’s Foreign Affairs minister, Mr John Baird, after the latter accused Uganda of trampling on human rights.

The accusation saw Ms Kadaga tell the minister to stick to the day’s theme and respect Uganda’s sovereignty. “I will not accept to be intimidated or directed by any government in the world on matters of homosexuality,” she said, adding that she was not aware she was speaking for many people in the world, some of whom were in the conference.

“I was surprised when colleagues came and thanked me saying that’s what they have always wanted to say but they had never gotten the courage to. That when it came to me that I had spoken for the whole of Africa, for the Arab world and Asians,” she said.

The welcome ceremony and press briefing was organised by religious leaders, former Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo and the mover of the Bill, Mr David Bahati, all of whom are pushing for the enactment of the anti-homosexuality Bill.

A large procession comprising members of different Pentecostal churches, Makerere University students and boda boda cyclists camped at the airport from 10am to after midnight when Ms Kadaga emerged to greet them as they ululated and waved placards appreciating her boldness in Canada.

“You are our saviour, we want the bill now,” one of the placards read.
Pastor Michael Were, who spoke on behalf of the religious leaders, called on other national leaders to follow Ms Kadaga’s footsteps for the sake of the country’s culture and traditions.

Asked whether she was not mindful of Uganda being denied aid and her being denied entry visas to pro-gay countries, Ms Kadaga said such countries were welcome to keep their aid and visas.
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Cleo Xulaye (user currently living in UGANDA) posted for transgender intersex readers on 29/07/2012 tagged with health, gender identity, sexual orientation
This Sunday, a burning concern from urs trully: It’s so depressing having to live behind the smoke screen of another person, seein’ him take over your physical features bit by bit till you are completely lost and cannot see yourself any more. Growing up, I had many a suicidal thoughts, as every moment that passed I came to see, more and more these hard masculine features of this pubescent boy…while the tender supple skin, curvaceous body and beautiful face of the gurl in me, receded behind the curtains only to arise and shine over tones of make-up..I curse the day I told ma mom about ma boobs, stupidly thinking it was cancer, and I was gonna die..i wish I knew then, like I know now that the hormones they were giving me were actually testosterone and they would destroy Cleo….the gurl in me…Am sorry Cleo..sorry for the ignorance in me, sorry that I did not know a better way, sorry that I did not try had enough to save you…It’s a miracle that you have survived this all, scars and wounds notwithstanding, it’s a miracle that you still smile and giggle when you come…But even then, I cannot say that for all my trans brothers and sisters still locked up in bodies of other people….they walk around taunted by the thought of what could have been if only they could let that gurl or boy out…Working with the Trans Supporrt Initiative Uganda I’ve seen many trans people, lost, depressed, praying that, that beard won’t come, that those boobs would just disappear…..it’s a painful reality. That some of us will actually make it, we are surely uncertain of….But having lived through this nightmare and survived it with the few feminine features lurking, am worried, that even those will disappear. Ma heart goes out to all ma trans bro’s and sisters who
are struggling to unmask that gurl or boy in them, ma heart bleeds even more for ma teenage trans brother and sisters who right now are probably having suicidal thoughts, and hating themselves, and ignorant of the other way...a better way…a solution that even if they knew of they may be wouldn’t afford. Heed the words of my cry if you may…Our brother and sisters in Uganda need hormonal replacement therapy, so that they can live better lives... lives with confidence, self esteem, and vitality to face the ever growing transphobia around them…Heed this cry if you may….understand us…save us..we need you..for now we are here, we do not know for how long? But as long if you hear my cry from this deep abyss...answer this our prayer...
follow me on ma facebook cleo xulaye if you are interested in helping out
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Most at risk populations' Society In Uganda (user currently living in UGANDA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 08/02/2012 tagged with hate crime and violence prevention, health, hiv/aids , human rights
In a democracy, one has to allow room and space to listen to the other side arguing their case. Much the same way is expected for one to be listened to. The Anti Homosexuality Bill, 2009 as well as 2 other stigmatizing and discriminating bills (The HIV Bill and Equal Opportunities Bill)will continue to find their way on the floor of parliament. Even as a practicing physician, the volunteer spirit to treat the "gay" will be stepped upon! There is a fear of repercussions for such reaching out. As long as the HIV Bill,2009 is still mentioned ( like yesterday, 07/02/2012) morale, motivation and effort to roll back HIV/STIs will also die!!
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Thomas Muyunga (user currently living in UGANDA) posted for gay transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 05/02/2012 tagged with health


MARPS IN UGANDA is involved at various spaces sharing on; Capacity building, organisation development, Sexuality, orientation, gender, identity, microbicides, HIV, cancer, Female genital mutilation and other issues. Calls for repeat sessions on such subjects like; microbicides continue coming in. Today, after activities during the World cancer-day in Uganda we have decided to launch our "microbicide information center".

6P’s make up our concept: Understanding Policy, intensifying Programmes, identifying all Players, Providing education and enabling Participation to Popularise microbicides in Uganda.

We hope to reach 800 key leaders with the lubes, condom and microbicide messages by December 2012. These in turn will reach many others. We hope to popularise acceptability in a network with 350 persons by December 2012 if all goes well. Microbicides, especially rectal microbicides are anti-HIV decision-support tools in the hands of marginalised.

Microbicide /mi•cro•bi•cide/ (mi-kro´bĭ-sīd):
1. a substance that destroys microbes.
2. a substance that destroys infectious agents, including also viruses; sometimes used specifically for that used to prevent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

1. We have used meetings (e.g., National consultative meetings) to share information on microbicides. This has been possible because MARPS IN UGANDA is part of the large CSO Network in Uganda. It takes lead on MSM. WSW, TG, Substance users and PLHIV. It as well takes lead on providing evidence in form of reports on all most at risk populations (MARPs) in Uganda. These include but not limited to: fisher-folk, sex-workers, truckers, discordant couples, persons in long term relations, PLHIV, MSM and Uniformed services Personnel. Given the vast networks within which we work, we have also interacted with: mobile communities, displaced persons, disabled persons, young persons, men and women.
2. We work with school and non-school going communities and with these we did design schedules on talks around: sexual and reproductive health. We use these spaces to introduce topics such as, microbicides.
3. We are a lead organisation promoting the eradication of violence, violations, abuse, discrimination and stigma in communities due to for instance: sexuality, orientation, gender and identity. Through these spaces we share on microbicides.
4. We link with various organisations under the capacity building contracts. While we train, we also introduce issues around Microbicides.
OUTCOMES: We have become a lead organisation, voluntarily providing information on microbicides in Uganda.
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BACKGROUND: A systematic review of responses from 30,000 spaces was carried out in 10 regions of Uganda.
OBJECTIVE: A systematic review of responses from 30,000 spaces where inquiry into who MARPs are, what MARPs need, who provides services, what is demanded, what are the behavioural characteristics unique to MARPs and other contexts influencing issues of MARPs that was conducted between July 2010-August 2011.
DESIGN: Conduct Review of literature, Interviews, structured conversation and focus group discussions. Respondents were drawn from; 150 farmer groups, 220 hair salons, 27 landing sites, 27 police posts, 110 cattle/village markets/social spaces, 225 major RH/FP/MH/CS/Health Services organisations, with leaders and members of 100 FBOs/2200 CBOs/CSOs/Community Groups, 2,550 lower level governments and communities, with members of 3,000 men/Women groups/settings, in 19,174 trading and urban spaces (Artisanry marts, car dealerships, repair garages, washing bays, food vending kiosks, video kiosks, shopping malls, recreational spaces) along 6 major trunk roads and 25 other roads leading to rural districts, 250 educational institutes (higher institutions of learning, colleges, senior/primary schools), 100 minorities’ spaces, 72 fresh foods markets, 200 hotels/lodges, 25 housing estate areas ( e.g. Jinja industrial area, Kampala, Gulu, Mbarara, Kasese, Tororo, Mbale), 170 ludo/snooker points, 1,700 storage and parking bays/car-park/boda/lorry/bus-parks in urban settings.
SETTING: Uganda was divided into operational regions: Central, Northern, Eastern, North Eastern, Mid-Western and south-Western where 30,000 were identified and these included: Lower level governments, urban centers, municipalities, towns, market areas, boarder points, social-meeting places, recreational spaces, food vending areas, film kiosks, shopping malls, parks, washing bays, road stop spots, educational institutions and CSOs. 5 lakes were visited to generate understanding of fisher folk communities.
RESPONDENTS: We used groups and individual key informants that way 30,000 Key informants were mobilised to include; leaders, community members, PLHIV, MSM, Substance users, sex-workers, fisher folk, key persons at road stop spot, bar-owners, informal sector, car-parks, bus-parks, work-place-exit points, school leaders, out-door games’ organizers, and uniformed services.
INTERVENTIONS: The police and criminal justice system are points for violence redress. Other forms of Violence/stigma counselling centers exist in major towns/municipals; public and private health facilities provide treatment and management of HIV/STIs; CSOs and government social services’ departments have planned programmes targeting MARPs.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENT: MARPs character and vulnerability spectrum in Uganda.
RESULTS: At community of residence level right through the Criminal justice system, substance users, MSM, Sex-workers and PLHIV still face stigma and violence. Sex-work (female, male and child sex-work) is rampant along all major road trunks and in major destination towns towards Uganda’s boarders. Education and housing areas have high prevalence of male/female sex-work, same sex practices and substance use. Violence/stigma counselling centers exist in major towns/municipals; public and private health facilities provide treatment and management of HIV/STIs; CSOs and government social services’ departments have planned programmes targeting MARPs. Key affected populations such as MSM and substance users being criminalized still lack focused programmes targeting them. Communities still do discriminate and stigmatize Key affected populations such as PLHIV, MSM and substance users. There is a tendency to box MARPs issues into HIV Programmes and this has influenced the approach to most programming. Messaging to eradicate risks to HIV should factor in fact that substance use, unprotected anal sex, female sex-work, male sex-work, child sex-work are interconnections in sexual networks
CENTRAL REGION: These included; Buganda, Busoga sub-region, Bugwere and Bugisu. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, fisher folk, MSM, LGBTIQQ, male/female sex-work, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active, long distance drivers, and uniformed services. Vulnerability was around; quick mobility, fear of consequences of visibility, stigma, sexual practices, gendered sexual beliefs and the gap between haves and have nots.
NORTH-EASTERN REGION: These included; Karamoja sub-region. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active. Vulnerability was around; quick mobility, displacements arising from searching for pasture and child neglect
MID-WESTERN REGION: These included; Kasese, Hoima, Buliisa and Fort Portal. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, fisher folk, MSM, Indigenous Tribes, male/female sex-work around mining and cement industry, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active, long distance drivers, and uniformed services. Vulnerability was around; perceptions of men about mid-Western Uganda females, quick mobility, fear of consequences of visibility, stigma, gap between haves and have nots.
SOUTH-WESTERN REGION: These included; Kabale and Ankole Sub-region. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, fisher folk, MSM, LGBTIQQ, male/female sex-work, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active, long distance drivers, and uniformed services. Vulnerability was around; quick mobility, fear of consequences of visibility, stigma, cultural perceptions around sexuality and sexual intercourse acts.
WEST-NILE REGION: These included; Arua and Madi Sub-region. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, fisher folk, male/female sex-work, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active, long distance drivers, and uniformed services. Vulnerability was around; quick mobility, fear of consequences of visibility, stigma, cultural perceptions around sexuality and sexual intercourse acts, and inter-cultural social experiences.
NORTHERN SUB REGION: These included; Acholi and Lango Sub-region. The MARPs characteristics range from substance use, child sex-work, fisher folk, MSM, male/female sex-work, PLHIV, young people who are sexually active, long distance drivers, and uniformed services. Vulnerability was around; quick mobility, fear of consequences of visibility, stigma, cultural perceptions around sexuality and sexual intercourse acts.
“As a town dweller, I do know of substance use, anal sex, female sex-work, male sex-work and child sex-work in this town and many others. The clients include professional persons, odd-jobs workers, artisans, students and non-school young people”. Ashraf (Wandegeya), Florence (Nansana), Grace (Kawempe), Jerome (Migyeera), Cosma (Nimule) and Rashid (Mbale).
“Am a male sex-worker since 2007, my kind of clients have my phone contacts and book in different hotels in different towns of Uganda. They send me a text message and we meet for sex. Most times they also ask me to bring other friends when they are many. Some of our clients do use substances, especially they smoke marijuana”. Crystal (Kampala).
“We want to be trained in skills to start up alternative businesses besides depending on Fishing”. Bukenya (Kyamuswa, Mazinga, Kalangala Islands of Lake Victoria), Arthur (Lake Albert), Ogwer (Lake Kioga).
“Yes, there are programmes on HIV and Human Rights as part of the prison services, hopefully this will be a big step in improving prevention practices”. (Key informant).
“Am interested in two things now that we have met. How your organisation can help us “handle” MARPs since we are increasingly working in that area” . (Key informant from a leading health organisation).
“ What is that nonsense? Every one is a MARP!” ( Key informant and district official).
“ The issues such as stigma, dialogue around discrimination and their relation to HIV are points to start with in starting and driving conversation around MARPs issues”. (Key informant and Community Development Officer).
“Am a trans-woman and I feel so insecure. I have to keep in-doors and only get out at night or make sure I put on long coats and a cap if am to conduct outreach services for other trans-women in Uganda”. (Leader of Trans-Women Bureau Uganda).
“ I am a transgendered male to female person and my parents are aware of my sexuality and gender identity. I wonder why we do not have seminars targeting parents and families. Our families are the first points of insecurity for many of the gay people.” (Leader of Young MSM Club in Uganda).
“ We are ready to conduct community campaigns against “mob-justice” as this is one very unjust way communities deal with what they disagree with. Communities should learn to use the justice system and believe in it. Other reported complaints are evictions, black-mail, extortion and deliberate hostility actions”. (Key informant from law and order section).
LIMITATION: This exercise was conducted to generate vulnerability before testing and it explored issues around visibility of various MARPs.
CONCLUSION: Contexts ranging from Policy, programmes, public and private settings form and influence actions targeting MARPs issues. HIV risk is one major issue most organisations target. However, before testing or accessing an HCT service MARPs need to be looked at as vulnerable and that vulnerability is disproportionate. Criminalization, Stigma and violence form a barrier that silences MSM, Sex-workers and substance users and it may cause them to go underground. This may not be the case for fisher folk, Long distance truckers or uniformed services. MARPs issues include demand for skills training to access anti-poverty programmes such as social grants. Public and private settings have all the basics in place to provide redress to all issues of MARPs. However, they are also points of violence to some MARPs.
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T M (user currently living in UGANDA) posted for straight readers on 26/09/2011 tagged with at the work place, hate crime and violence prevention, health, hiv/aids , gender identity, human rights, sexual orientation, armed forces
When we invite communities to access and attend our outreach health fares we do not exclude other categories of people. We also use peer mobilisers to reach out to LGBTIQQ people. We follow up LGBTIQQ people by e-mail, phone or coupons. It is possible to meet all categories of minorities in Uganda. The trick is to understand the difference between a Public-Health-Human Rights activist/advocate and a reactionary advocate/activist. One has to create networks in the homes, villages, be ready to be seen with leaders, avoid being a show-off, come down to grass-roots and have skills in negotiating diplomatically. The other,tends to use emotions/sympathy.
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