In 2014 a Ugandan law, making homosexuality punishable by a life sentence, was overturned in court. To celebrate this landmark event, several LGBTQ advocates gathered on the shores of Lake Victoria to host what would become Uganda’s first gay pride rally. The Ugandan government has responded to this increased visibility by banning all gay pride events.
According to The Guardian, Simon Lokodo Uganda’s minister of ethics and integrity, called for the cancellation of a pride gala scheduled to take place at the Sheraton Hotel, calling the event an “illegal attempt to promote homosexuality.”
Lokodo went on to proclaim, “No gay gathering and promotion can be allowed in Uganda. We can’t tolerate it at all.” Still punishable by law in several parts of Uganda, proven homosexuality violates several colonial-era laws that remain on the books. “We know they are trying to recruit and promote homosexuality secretly,” Lokodo said. “But it’s worse to attempt to stand and exhibit it in public arena. This is totally unacceptable. Never in Uganda.”
LGBTQ advocates in the nation are standing against the minister’s actions. “We are utterly appalled by the minister’s actions,” said Frank Mugisha, the director of the Sexual Minorities Uganda organization. “The government crackdown on our events is abuse of our freedom of assembly and association. We have a right granted by the Ugandan constitution.” He continued, “It is sad and difficult. This is based on conservative views of our politicians. Pride is about celebrating who we are, giving courage and hope to those individuals who are living lonely and isolated lives in hostile communities, for them to know they are not alone. We shall not allow this intimidation. The struggle will go on.”