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Scenes from the GLBT Underground in Uganda

 by Danielle Maestretti


Tags: Politics, international, GLBT rights, Uganda, anti-homosexuality bill, bloggers, In These Times, Danielle Maestretti,

GLBT decorationIn the new issue of In These Times, John Ireland profiles a gay blogger who’s telling his story from one of the most GLBT-unfriendly countries in the world: Uganda, where a draconian “anti-homosexuality bill” was introduced last October. The proposed bill, which would mandate the death penalty for cases of “aggravated homosexuality” and require Ugandans to report any known GLBT people to the authorities, has been widely condemned by Western leaders, including President Obama.

Despite the tense, dangerous environment—and the fact that he was publicly outed in a Ugandan newspaper in December—this blogger, who uses the pseudonym “Gug,” continues to post dispatches on his website (GayUganda.blogspot.com) and Twitter account (Twitter.com/gayuganda). “It’s a risk that I have to carry,” he tells In These Times.

Closeted life is similar the world over. Gug finds a comfort zone and a way to “pass” that has kept him safe so far. He can relax within a tight-knit group of other “kuchus” in bars, after the early evening crowd leaves. He tweets:

like a change of guard. football fans out. us partiers in. and the night is young… its pleasant to be in a place of safety. where i and other kuchus can interact in relative safety. a heavy cloak lifts.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is transforming his circle of friends, forcing them to make difficult choices. He describes [via Twitter] how he and his partner are drawn into the battle, sometimes reluctantly:

“he is on the phone. counseling. someone being blackmailed. yeah, a kuchu. life, as normal”

“some weighty decisions on my mind. personal. I tend to mull them over.. and i have”

“would i ever leave kampala??? or uganda? not by choice. this is home”

Source: In These Times

Image by FredoAlvarez, licensed under Creative Commons.