LGBTI Ugandans tell their stories in their own magazine

The Ugandan LGBTI community has launched its own magazine to tell their stories to the nation.

“Bombastic Magazine is a compilation of stories, testimonies and opinions by LGBTI Ugandans. The objective of this campaign is to end violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people countrywide,” the introductory press release states.

Supporters of the magazine are attempting to get a free copy of the magazine into the hands of each Ugandan — from local supermarkets or local volunteers. An online edition is available in cooperation with the African online media site Kuchu Times.

In the first edition, human rights defender and editor Kasha N. Jacqueline wrote:

“It is our desire that this publication will enlighten many Ugandans and people around the world who have been indoctrinated into believing that there is only one kind of sexual orientation and gender identity by religious persons and politicians who have conservative values.

“We also hope that state-sanctioned homophobia via the laws that are being proposed will come to an end, and that instead we will be included in the national health policy. Driving LGBTI persons underground only continues to impede the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda and worldwide.”

Part of the motivation for launching the magazine is to respond to the typically anti-gay voices of most Ugandan media. LGBTI community member Ambrose said:

“Many have told our stories wrongly and we can’t accept the trend to continue. Here are our stories, narrated and shared by ourselves.”

The press release added:

“This magazine will also shed a light to readers on the extent of the marginalization and discrimination the LGBTI community in Uganda continues to face on a daily basis.

“We have been forced to live undignified lives; the authors of the stories are Ugandans who, through their voices, should be heard by policy makers and the general public, and hopefully, help to create a path for attitude change in a community that is continuously growing in homophobia and violence against this harmless group of Ugandan citizens. …

“Through Bombastic Magazine, we share our stories, realities of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex, our health, religious, cultural and family issues, with the public as a peaceful call to respect and accept us as Ugandans; our sexuality does not make us any less Ugandan. …

“Many have told our stories wrongly and we can’t accept the trend to continue. Here are our stories, narrated and shared by ourselves.”

In an appeal to their fellow citizens, the magazine’s staff appealed to:

  1. The media in Uganda to promote humanity, peace, unity and liberation as they report on LGBTI issues
  2. The government of Uganda to suspend all moves to introduce any further legislation that criminalizes our sexuality and gender identity and decriminalize already existing criminalization laws.
  3. The general public to establish and sustain dialogue with the LGBTI community in the country and in multi-lateral spaces

Religious leaders to refrain from preaching and instigating hate within their congregations.

Articles in the 75 pages of the first edition of the magazine include:

  • Many accounts of LGBTI people coming out to their friends and families.
  • “I lost my job refereeing and coaching for being transgender.”
  • A religion section, including writings by Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo; Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Anglican Canon Gideon Byamugisha, founder of the African Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV/AIDS; and Pentecostal Bishop Carlton Pearson.
  • “Confessions of a Gay Naive Cleric: I clothed and schooled Bahati,” by the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, an Episcopal priest.
  • “Bible says, Love your neighbor as yourself. Are you?”
  • “My story and experience as a lesbian.”
  • “Interview: Positive Living,” a Q & A with Stosh Jovan Mugisha, a 30-year-old transgender man, interviewed by Kasha Jacqueline.
  • “VK’s Diary: I would rather have friends than lovers.”
  • “Exploring the Intersection of Religious Freedom and Human Rights.”
  • A health section, including basic information about HIV/AIDS and frequently asked questions about sexuality.
  • A transgender section, including “Why we have to live a lie to survive.”
  • “A belt for a bra,” an article that starts, “My name is Juliet Victor Mukasa, a 32 year-old transgender lesbian. It was someone’s story that liberated me. So I share my story here hoping it will liberate someone. …”
  • “My Pride Story” by Pepe Julian Onziema.
  • “Uganda Pride and My Detention” by Maurice Tomlinson.

by Colin Stewart
Source – Erasing 76 Crimes