LGBT Ugandans Are Ever So Bombastic

LGBT Ugandans Are Ever So Bombastic

Living in a nation that proudly criminalizes LGBT identity would be enough to make most people stay in the closet — but LGBT activists in Uganda refuse to be silenced or ignored. In fact, they’re downright Bombastic!

Led by prominent human rights defender and out lesbian Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, LGBT activists in Uganda released the second edition of Bombastic magazine on the International Day of Transgender Visibility.bombastic-magazine-x750d

Fittingly, the cover of the latest edition, which is available in print for free throughout Uganda and online at the outlet’s attendant website, Kuchu Times, features a photo of a transgender man binding his breasts. Billed as “an anthology of stories, poems, and testimonies,” the full-color, 72-page Bombastic looks to serve as “a beacon of hope and a symbol of our resilience,” according to a press release from the publisher, Kuchu Times Media Group.

The word “kuchu” is Ugandan slang for “gay,” and activists have long been working to reclaim the term, much as some U.S. activists have reclaimed the once-defamatory word “queer.” Included with each copy of Bombastic is the award-winning documentary Call Me Kuchu, which documents the life and untimely death of David Kato, often described as the first out gay man in Uganda. Several of the members of Bombastic‘s editorial team knew Kato personally and can be seen in the film mourning his death and fighting back against religious demonstrators who interrupted his 2011 funeral in Kampala.

Launched in December 2014, Bombastic is Uganda’s first and only publication created by and for the beleaguered LGBTI community in the East African nation. Its slogan — “our voices, our stories, our lives” — speaks to the importance its editorial team places on elevating the first-hand experiences and struggles of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans living at home and abroad, rather than seeing those stories told through a lens of Western, predominantly white journalists. The first edition of the magazine has been downloaded more than 2 million times, according to Kuchu Times Media Group.

“This publication is a humble call to all Ugandans to understand our plight and not judge us based on the misconceptions told to them,” Nabagesera said in a statement accompanying the latest edition. “We are not calling on Ugandans to become LGBTI nor are we asking for special treatment, we are simply calling on our fellow society to recognize that we are part and parcel of the Ugandan society and any unfair treatment towards us simply because of who we love is an injustice to the whole society.”

Beginning in 2013, Nabagesera was one of a dozen LGBTI Ugandans who worked with The Advocate to compile a photo essay that shared firsthand stories from these diverse individuals. Although the article received several awards — including a 2014 GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism, Multimedia — editors with this publication took the story offline after Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper plagiarized the story wholesale, splashing a headline on the front page reading “Uganda’s Top Gays Speak: How We Became Homos.”

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12 Comments

  1. Law
    April 04, 07:08 Reply

    Nabagesera said in a statement accompanying the latest edition. “We are not calling on Ugandans to become LGBTI nor are we asking for special treatment, we are simply calling on our fellow society to recognize that we are part and parcel of the Ugandan society and any unfair treatment towards us simply because of who we love is an injustice to the whole society.” thats all

    By the way yall should check El rufai’s latest interview yesterday. He cam down hard on Christians and Muslims fanatics. The man is bae

    • ambivalentone
      April 04, 07:28 Reply

      Azzin ehn. It is annoying how ANYONE can see that this is a one-sided law.

  2. ambivalentone
    April 04, 07:22 Reply

    They should not have taken it down. They should av sued Red Pepper. But homophobes sha. Dem kill person, no gree allow am RIP again….iru aye oshi wo gan lo wa naa?

  3. Dennis Macaulay
    April 04, 08:09 Reply

    People are making progress despite, in these parts all we do is bicker and prove who is the baddest (insert B word) on the block.

    Tsk Tsk

  4. Delle
    April 04, 08:49 Reply

    Wow! What bravery. Do we have such a journal in Nigeria? Let’s keep fighting like this, that’s all we need. This resilience. For a country like Uganda to have such guts, what more Nigeria. Oh well

  5. Mandy
    April 04, 12:58 Reply

    LGBT Ugandans = Africans with guts.

  6. Geeluv
    April 04, 18:32 Reply

    In Naija… it’s all about selling market. So I think we’re comfortable doing that in our usual way…. we nor get power for activism. Smh….

  7. pankar
    April 05, 04:13 Reply

    There is a reason Nigerian activvists can’t do as much

    • Delle
      April 05, 08:44 Reply

      I’m really interested in knowing this reason also

  8. pankar
    April 08, 07:37 Reply

    Well activists here are working. In Uganda though, wasn’t the anti gay bill s annulled. There is no such law for now..

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