Uganda LGBT Holiday Advice
Uganda has the world’s strictest anti-LGBT legislation. LGBT persons struggle in this country because tabloids disclose their identities and pictures, and Gay pride activities and other gatherings are prohibited. LGBT holidays in Uganda might not come to mind straight away. Still, we consider people’s right to decide, to be aware, and comprehend the daily struggles that gay Ugandans endure. It is common to dismiss homosexuality as “non-Ugandan” and a western import. It is intriguing to discover that gay conduct was commonly acceptable in Uganda before the British government outlawed it in the 1800s. Gay Ugandans have selected the moniker “Kuchu” to identify themselves.
The word Swahili in origin indicates “same.” The negative associations of the terms “gay” and “homosexual” in Ugandan, a nation infamous for having some of the world’s strictest anti-LGBT legislation, influenced the decision to use a new name. In Uganda, there are 500,000 LGBT persons, making up a sizable minority that lacks legal security. But since the 1800s, homosexual actions have been illegal in Uganda, and in 1950 the Penal Code Act included same-sex relationships between men to its list of “unnatural offenses” and “indecent practices.” It was a crime in 2000 thanks to amendments, and anyone guilty might spend up to seven years in jail.
The envisaged Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) in 2009 broadened the spectrum of these crimes. It imposed more brutal punishments, including the death penalty for individuals deemed “repeat offenders.” Anyone engaging in same-sex relationships with children or HIV positive was also subject to the death penalty proposal. The death penalty was replaced with an entire life in prison when the legislation was finally approved in 2013. However, anyone who is seen as “promoting” homosexuality or merely having “the intention to perform an act of homosexuality” can still receive a seven-year term.
Numerous Western authorities and the World Bank diverted thousands of pounds of funding scheduled to be paid to Uganda in reaction to the law, which sparked international outrage. Additionally, several governments have provided financing to LGBT organizations nationwide.
Perceptions of the LGBT Community
I often feel that LGBT Ugandans have a legal right to be persecuted and that simply bringing up the matter is considered as complaining to the world or being disrespectful. Do not question the persistent discrimination against LGBT Ugandans. Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, Frank Mugisha, writes in The Guardian.
There is a long tradition of homosexuality, bisexuality, cross-dressing, and overall sexual attitude ambiguity in several of Uganda’s communities. One illustration is the blatantly bisexual King Mwanga II governed the Baganda tribe in the 1880s. The first anti-homosexuality laws were not enacted by Ugandan authorities but rather by the British during colonial control in the 19th century. It is consequently hilarious that several Ugandans who reject homosexuality now assert that they do it because they believe it to be anti-African and anti-Ugandan. Homosexuality is perceived as a Western norm that has been “brought” onto the continent as a type of cultural colonialism, notwithstanding Uganda’s historically sexually open background.
Some have even asserted that it is being “pushed” on purpose by Europeans to prevent Africans from having children. Due to Uganda’s Christian tangible heritage, these views are supported by religious convictions. Additionally, pro-LGBT organizations criticize evangelical organizations for their resistance to “homosexual agendas,” like the 2009 arrival of US missionaries. They argued that homosexuality was wrong in speeches delivered to tens of thousands of attendees. They provided instructions on converting gay persons straight. We would underline that it is crucial to distinguish between the people and the administration in many nations with strict anti-LGBT policies. People frequently disagree with their nation’s laws.
Nevertheless, a large portion of the public in Uganda accepts the state’s beliefs, making it considerably more difficult for LGBT tourists to trip for the causes mentioned above. Only 4% of Ugandans, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2013, thought that society should tolerate homosexuality. A few courageous NGOs are pushing for LGBT rights here, and a few understated events like Pride Uganda. However, it is believed that these gatherings are arranged to “recruit” gay individuals and convert kids, therefore “promoting” homosexuality. Unfortunately, the term “pride” is somewhat misleading; even though taking part in such marches is dangerous, members shield their identities, their numbers are small, and they stay away from public areas, authorities nevertheless view them as a “threat.” Earlier Pride gatherings had seen police searches. Pride Uganda in August 2017 was postponed after arrest threats were made to the event’s organizers.
Why is homophobia so prevalent in Uganda?
34 African states and other countries like Iran and Jamaica have strict laws against gay behavior. Then why is Uganda among the most infamous countries?
One explanation could be that several other African states, such as Sudan and Mauritania, are not considered tourism hotspots. Hence, their restrictive policies are least likely to receive worldwide press attention. However, several events in Uganda have also brought LGBT rights to the world’s attention. One of these was a publication of the neighborhood trashy newspaper Rolling Stone, with the heading “100 pictures of Uganda’s top homos leak: Hang them.”
It was horrifying that the article encouraged Ugandans to pursue “justice” on their own, including the names, photos, and occasionally even the residential locations of the gay males. After that, other articles appeared, some of which implied that these males posed a danger to kids. There was a spike in homophobic crimes, including the horrible killing of transgender males, for whom the victims had no legal remedy.
Then, three months after the release, David Kato, one of the nation’s most well-known gay rights campaigners, was shot and killed in front of his house in January 2011. His passing generated international news coverage. Kato was Uganda’s first out gay man and one of its most well-known LGBT campaigners. The authorities said it resulted from a heist, although activists dispute this.
To combat anti-gay legislation and advance LGBT rights in Uganda, he established Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in 1994. In the acclaimed 2012 film Call me Kuchu, David Kato’s life, and horrific end are explored in greater detail.
Uganda LGBT Travel
Given Uganda’s horrific discriminatory laws and social opinions against the homosexual and Trans population, it would be natural if several LGBT and non-LGBT tourists choose to boycott the nation. Furthermore, we fully recognize that everyone has the right to pick their location and that visiting places with harsh laws requires traveling with as much knowledge as possible. Additionally, there are a lot of factors why we think entire boycotting nations is counterproductive and might even be detrimental.
Travelers who identify as LGBT will probably not have any issues seeing gorillas, staying in luxurious hotels in national parks, or going on savannah game drives. But regrettably, it could be difficult for LGBT visitors to participate in low-key, appropriate tourist activities without encountering intolerance. These include homestays, rural tours, and lodging in smaller, regionally owned guesthouses.
A shared room shouldn’t be an issue. Still, your travel agency should have done its homework to determine whether it’s best to demand a double bedroom or stick with a twin. Similarly, it would be wise to keep your distance during activities like boat trips, market excursions, and cultural activities that include many local interactions. Travelers of all sexual orientations are urged to refrain from exhibiting affection in public because it is regarded upon heterosexual couples to kiss, cuddle, and even hold hands in public. Strangely enough, men are more inclined to walk hand in hand with other men than with women to show their friendship.
In Uganda, conservative attire is also needed. Men & women are encouraged to cover their bodies at least to their knees and to stay away from low-cut shirts. The lifestyle is more conservative in rural areas than in Kampala, which is relatively more open. You need to cover up, bring long-sleeved shirts, sarong, or scarf along with light pants or long skirts. The one place where this is not true is in Kampala’s crowded nightclub, where almost everything goes regarding attire and conduct; however, even here, LGBT visitors shouldn’t flaunt their sexuality. Female travelers may choose to dress more subtly unless they are eager to draw a lot of male interest because striped stockings and Lycra are frequently seen in these settings.
Asking inquiries to find out further about how this is implemented in their Uganda vacations is worthwhile even if all of the tour companies we work with claim to be LBGT accommodating. How do they determine whether an establishment is LGBT-friendly? Can they make an LGBT-friendly vacation that includes homestays, village visits, and experiences of more conventional ethnicities? This is more crucial in Uganda than in other places since it concerns personal security and social acceptability.
Gay Pride marches and other LGBT activities are held in Uganda. However, we recommend against participating in Pride marches or other similar events for security concerns, just as we often advise travelers against attending political protests or rallies.
Since they are seen as political demonstrations, they may lead to arrests and violent backlash from anti-LGBT activists and religious organizations. LGBT activities have previously been banned. Thus, protesters typically conceal their faces to prevent being recognized and captured on camera. Please contact our Tour team and experience your unforgettable safari in Uganda and East Africa. If you have any questions about Uganda or need assistance finding a vacation that suits you, we’re pleased to help.