In 2013, LGBT Ugandans worked with photographer David Robinson and Advocate.com to share their story in their own words. In the piece 12 activists talk about their work, their life experiences, and the adversities they face on a daily basis. By sharing their stories, these activists have taken a courageous step in the hope that readers will get a better understanding of their life in Uganda, and also debunk the lies that perpetuate an anti-LGBT culture throughout the country.
Recently, GLAAD announced the nominees for its 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards and the story and the courageous LGBT Ugandans who took the risk of telling their story were nominated in the Outstanding Digital Journalism - Multimedia category. At GLAAD, we know that storytelling is the foundation for a better understanding of LGBT life and ultimately cultural change that can lead to full equality for LGBT people. Although they are facing draconian anti-LGBT laws these Ugandan advocates are working toward a better life for themselves and other LGBT Ugandans who are unable to be out. Through photographer David Robinson, they shared what getting a GLAAD Media Awards nomination meant to them.
For me the nomination is already a win for us for the fact that our efforts and struggles are being recognized and appreciated. We may not be recognized or appreciated at home but it feels good to know that elsewhere we are loved and supported.
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, founder and Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda
I must say it's a great encouragement to see recognition of our work, this space provides a platform to share more the joy as well the plight of Ugandan LGBTI and those around the world who continue to suffer for who they are under the iron arm of the law in their countries.
Richard Lusimbo, Lead Researcher for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
I am so glad the project was taken so seriously! It's a victory for us all. Through this our voices are heard on a grand scale. The project nomination is a great step forward in the walk toward freedom for all of us back home and elsewhere in the world where humans are treated unfairly because of who they are. The comfort of knowing we are not alone gives me the strength to keep holding on for a better day.
Bobi Bwana, Office Administrator for Icebreakers Uganda
The award is very important to us in Uganda as it gives the Ugandan LGBTI community more visibility, legitimacy and international support.
Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
I think [the nomination] will impact more on the way the international community relates with the movement here and that then will determine directly the outcome on the ground here, it could be positive in a way that we may internationally get more people supporting our struggle but may also be interpreted by the mainstream community down here as a misrepresentation by us on the international scene since the whole subject of homosexuality is still very hostile to many people and majority treat it with resentment.
Kelly Mukwano, Program Assistant at the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law
As an activist from the rural areas representing a community who is unknown and hard to reach, this comes at great pleasure for me and the entire rural LGBTI community in Western Uganda. I hope that this will be a platform for people to know more about rural LGBTI activism and that they will choose to support Rainbow Health Foundation Mbarara.
Kevin Aine Dismus, founder of Rainbow Health Foundation Mbarara
You can read "We Are Here: LGBTI in Uganda" by Sunnivie Brydum and D. David Robinson here.
GLAAD also nominated two documentaries about the anti-LGBT culture in Uganda: Call Me Kuchu and God Loves Uganda. Check them out to learn more about the fight for LGBT equality in that country.