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Aerial View of Islands

The Silent Queer Genocide in Uganda

Updated: 2 days ago

Steven Kabuye 2024 Vancouver, Canada Address Co-Founder, Coloured Voices Media Foundation, Kampala, Uganda

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia and Intersexphobia\

I’m Steven Kabuye, a Ugandan gay man, a queer rights activist.

I'm co-founder and Co-Executive Director of Coloured Voices Media Foundation, a media organization that provides a voice to LGBTQ+ individuals in Uganda.

Of course, most of you do not know me, but those that follow queer news around the globe know about the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 in Uganda, the most draconian law in the universe.

It carries a death penalty and life imprisonment for being queer.

It denies access to health care, shelter, and employment, and carries a four year jail term for children who are queer, and for conversion therapy.

Because of my stand against the law, on 3rd January, 2024 I was attacked near my home and stabbed twice on my left arm and in my stomach. But here I am today thanks to our queer gods.

I stand before you as a survivor and I believe that my story will go places to make sure the voices that are silenced in Africa are heard.

In Uganda the price of freedom to 2SLGBTQI+ individuals is death.

I was held captive in hospital by the Ugandan police.

I was denied access to journalists. My house was raided and they took most of my belongings, including my educational papers and everything that was at home.

A friend of mine who took me to hospital, when I was bleeding to death with a knife in my stomach, was arrested and severely tortured.

I want us to add a voice to the voices of LGBTQI+ Ugandans, whose hope is surviving the day they are living.

In Uganda, the trans members cannot even rent a house nor walk on the streets without fear of being stoned to death.

There is a silent genocide on queers in Uganda, which is not documented worldwide because the dictator in Uganda censors the press.

The homophobia, transphobia, biphobia in Uganda is promoted and funded by white supremacists and right-wing Evangelicals like Scott Lively and Sharon Slater, who are from the US, who have continued to roam freely untouched, as innocent people are being killed and imprisoned.

Hearing this, you might think you are safe, but we've seen push backs in countries like the USA. The equality they won years back is being taken away.

My question is: are we safe also here in Canada if we keep on electing leaders we know are homophobic, transphobic and genocidal.

I'd like to end by telling you that it's us, the young ones, that are supposed to foster our future.

Let's not put our future in the hands of old men and women who don't care about climate change, queer rights and support wars that have left many innocent children, women and men dead and homeless.

I would also call for more funding for local organizations that help with resettlement of immigrants and refugees, who warn of persecution and advocate for trans rights.

Thank you for this opportunity. Where I come from you cannot even get a one minute talk to speak to people like this in public or else you risk death.

I know small voices can make a change.

My voice started small. But I reached an extent to where the government wanted to eliminate me for my work, for my voice.

So I know if we all speak up, change can be put in place.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda has been replicated or duplicated in Ghana, in the DRC, and another one is coming up in Kenya.

Not everyone back in Uganda can get a chance to flee to safety. I'm one of the lucky ones. Thousands are back home.

Most have fled to refugee camps in Kenya, where they have no hope. They sleep in tents without even a bed sheet or a blanket. They don't even know if they will get to reach safety.

When I speak about Kenya, it's even worse than Uganda when it comes to queer people. So I know we can stand up and make a voice.

I know we can demand our government here to make sure they put up strategies to hold politicians in Uganda accountable.

We've seen the US doing this. The US has put up Visa sanctions to politicians that participated directly in the passing of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act.

The Canadian government hasn't done enough. And we Ugandans are still being tortured, killed and imprisoned.

As I told you in the beginning, being found in a same sex relationship in Uganda, you can either be put to death or face life imprisonment.

This is what awaits people like us back in countries like Uganda and many other countries in Africa that are adopting this.

This is a revolution that is being moved in Africa. And any time from now it is going to be here. So I think we should start from the grassroots.

We should start from here and push back against these movements that are claiming away our rights.

Trans rights are human rights. LGBTQ+ rights are human rights.

I want us to stand for human rights for all.

For me, I believe in equality, love for all, and I believe that everyone regardless of his race, his gender identity, his sexual orientation, deserves rights like any other human being.

And I know that a grown up person that kills young children, innocent women and men does not deserve to be called a human being.

Let us stand up against these people. Let us add voices. Let us speak up.

Let us put this in action. Let us hold our leaders accountable. What we say. Thank you.

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