Raise our voices
The past few months has seen the tension being ramped up and LGBT+ groups and individuals being forced to curtail their activities. The Parliament in Uganda has driven through legislation to criminalise any one, directly or indirectly who has links with the gay community. President Museveni has now passed what many are calling ‘legalised state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia’. Human rights organisations and NGOs around the world have condemned this law that advocates the death penalty to any person found to be gay.
At GNRC we have members who have lost their organisations, their livelihood, their homes and now live in fear for their lives. The huge level of anxiety, uncertainty and fear leaves them in a place of distrust and suspicion to any approaches being made to them. The GNRC Board is wracked with pain and a sense of helplessness whilst it struggles to find the best way to reach out to them without causing any further distress or difficulties to their personal safety.
Chris Vella, Co Chair of GNRC said “I am deeply shocked and saddened by this decision that sees LGBT people losing all their rights and dignity. We reach out to our LGBT family in Uganda in solidarity and extend our prayers on their behalf. May the Holy Spirit of Pentecost protect them and guide them in this hour of darkness.”
We know that one of the things that we can do as a global organisation is to give a voice and a platform to their dangerous realities. We are reaching out to various NGOs and agencies who are best placed to offer support and safety to anyone who contacts them. There are many organisations out there such as All Out who have helped many through their fund raising campaigns. All Out Donations
Many activists such as Peter Tatchell have consistently campaigned against President Museveni’s regime Peter Tatchell Foundation and many have spoken out against this crime against humanity.
Many NGO and human right organisations ranging from United Nations to Amnesty, Human Rights Watch through to ABC owned by Disney have all denounced what is happening in Uganda.
Despite all the protests, which have fallen on deaf ears of the Ugandan Government, we cannot give up on our brothers and sisters in Uganda. We must continually speak up in support of our LGBT+ family by putting pressure on our multinationals who have vested interests in Uganda, put pressure on our politicians to denounce this law, to urge the Commonwealth to challenge Museveni and to speak to our faith leaders to encourage the priests and bishops in Uganda to not give up on their LGBT+ flock.
On this point as previously stated, Co Chair Marianne Duddy-Burke appealed to our Christian ethics and morals by stating “We invite church leaders to look closely at the lived experience of LGBTIQ people and start a genuine and sincere dialogue with these people before issuing statements that are deeply harmful and dangerous. We appeal to people of good will to protect the human rights of LGBTIQ people and not tolerate any violence and discrimination.”
Let all of us find ways to support our Ugandan LGBT+ family, in our personal capacities, by praying for them, by voicing our care and concern on social media platforms, by writing to our politicians and CEOs, by sending money through established charities and NGOs. We just cannot give up on our rainbow family in Uganda.
Author Ruby Almeida former GNRC Co Chair, and Chair of Bridge and Embrace, India