Aug 9, 2010

THE ¨KUCHUS¨ OF UGANDA: ¨...they represent a richly diverse community and a potent symbol of how far Uganda’s LGBTI movement has come in a short time

Archbishop Henry Orombi/Uganda--Pandering to evil, fear/hate superstition and taboo at THE BODY OF CHRIST? read it all HERE


¨How activists are using coalitions to promote LGBTI rights in Uganda.The kuchu movement is abuzz in Uganda. Kuchu is a (plural: kuchus) word, apparently of Swahili origin, that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) Ugandans have minted to describe their identities.

“We do not use the word ‘queer,’” explains Frank Mugisha, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda, an umbrella entity that brings together LGBTI organizations for advocacy purposes. “We’ve got our own word that encompasses the whole idea: kuchu.”

Despite a penal code that criminalizes homosexual acts with penalties of upwards of 10 years of imprisonment, Uganda has witnessed an astounding flowering of kuchu organizations in recent years.

Each cluster is structured differently: some exist primarily as online discussion fora while others run legal aid clinics or provide health services to sexual minorities. Some meet in bars and members’ living rooms while others maintain offices with laptop computers and Wi-Fi internet connections.

Taken together, they represent a richly diverse community and a potent symbol of how far Uganda’s LGBTI movement has come in a short time period. “We are out talking,” says Kasha Jacqueline, the executive director of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), an association dedicated to empowering lesbian women.

Some activists note that one reason that kuchus are able to speak out is that Ugandan law allows only for the arrest of homosexual acts, not for LGBTI identities. “We want to talk about these things. It’s our resilience that is making all of this happen.”

A painting by Ugandan artist Brian Kezaala Nkoyooyo representing the kuchu movement today Uganda’s embryonic LGBTI movement could hardly have been prepared, however, for the onslaught of activity HERE that would result from the introduction of an Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Ugandan Parliament HERE last year.

“The last six months have been chaotic,” writes Val Kalende, the manager of programs and communications for FARUG, in an e-mail, further explaining that most organizations were forced to slow down their other day-to-day activities to focus on fighting the bill.

The proposed bill calls for the death penalty for cases of the newly concocted crime of “aggravated homosexuality,” criminalizes advocacy on behalf of gay people, and would require third parties (including family members) to report known homosexuals within twenty-hour hours.

The bill has garnered significant media attention in the West both for its connections to the American religious right HERE (the subject of at least two documentaries) and the threat of donor governments to withdraw their aid to Uganda if the bill were to pass. Most American evangelical churches have distanced themselves from a bill that the Swedish government called “appalling” and President Obama deemed “odious,” but others like Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Nevada remain steadfast supporters of those who promote the bill.

Whatever else it did, the bill provided the nebulous LGBTI movement in Uganda with a common enemy, and the myriad organizations that were just beginning to take shape recognized the need to come together to kill the bill. read it all, HERE

· Thanks to Behind the Mask, Home/sidebar
· Thanks to FARUG, Uganda
· Thanks to Gay Uganda, sidebar
· Thanks to Box Turtle Bulletin, sidebar
· Thanks to African Activist, sidebar
· Thanks to Globaling the Cultural Wars
· Thanks to Brian Kezaala Nkoyooyo, Art
· Thanks to Val Kalende
· Thanks to Frank Mugisha
· Thanks to Kasha Jacqueline
· Thanks to African Anglican Bishops, homepage



The ANGLICAN UN, United Nations, HUMAN RIGHTS Observer, Mrs Hellen Grace Wangusa from Uganda, has an office and staff provided by the Episcopal Church (USA) at the Church Center 815 Second Avenue, New York, 10017. The direct office line is (001) 212-716- 6263 and the email address

Lionel Deimel, Anglican HERO, click HERE,¨No Anglican Covenant¨

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