TheJournal.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more »
Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 26 September, 2017
Advertisement

Ugandan LGBT activist in Dublin to speak out for those who can't

Despite constant danger, activist Kasha Nabagesera said that she still loves her country and remains hopeful that the country will reverse its stance on homosexuality.

Ugandan activist Kasha Nabagesera (file photo)
Ugandan activist Kasha Nabagesera (file photo)
Image: Karen Veldkamp via Amnesty International

“NOT EVERYONE WILL stand up and speak, so I speak on their behalf,” the Ugandan LGBT activist Kasha Nabagesera told TheJournal.ie.

Hailing from a country where being gay can mean jail, or worse, Nabagesera knows the risks first-hand.

Upon her return home, she’ll be forced to take those same risks again.

With homosexuality still illegal in Uganda, things could be about to get a lot worse for LGBT in the east African country.

Legislation is currently before the Ugandan parliament which includes a punishment of life imprisonment for consensual sex between two people of the same sex and has, in previous drafts, included an offence called ‘aggravated homosexuality’, which would be punished by execution.

The threat of violence in her home country is all too real, with Nabagesera one of a number of prominent LGBT activists who were identified in a Ugandan newspaper a number of years ago.

The call by the paper to hunt them down and hang them resulted in the murder of her friend and fellow campaigner, David Kato, in 2011.

Ahead of her talk tomorrow at the annual conference in Dublin of Amnesty International Ireland, Nabagesera, the founder and executive director of the only national Ugandan LGBT organisation, called Freedom & Roam Uganda, said that speaking out was “very important”.

‘The world is watching’

“It drives the point at home that we are not alone,” she said, “and that the world is watching.”

Despite having to constantly move from house to house when home to avoid being identified, she is never tempted to stay in one of the many countries she travels to:

I still love my country. There are some people who are very very evil, but there are people who love us, who keep us strong, and together I believe that we can bring about change.

The recipient of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2011, she is set to be awarded the Seán MacBride Award for Human Rights this weekend.

“I hope to share my experience and I’m hoping to learn a lot too,” she said of her Irish trip. “I’m going to have a lot of meetings with government officials when I’m here.”

“The people I speak for need moral support, technical support, and financial support,” she said.

We need to document our struggle. To change the laws, we need evidence. We need cameras, phones, laptops, and people to volunteer. The situation is not improving. It’s getting worse.

Below is a video of Nabagesera speaking at another Amnesty International conference:


(Amnesty International/YouTube)

Read: Labour LGBT: Ugandan ‘kill the gays’ bill must be stopped >

More: Homophobic assaults surge in France amid gay marriage debate >

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Read next:

COMMENTS (48)