Being Gay In Uganda

Jim Burroway

March 8th, 2010

Time magazine explores what it’s like:

[Pepe Julian] Oziema’s partner doesn’t mind that her girlfriend works trying to protect gay rights and change public opinion in Uganda. But she worries about the dangers Oziema might face, especially with the bill working its way through parliament. In 2008, when Onziema and a few other kuchus, handed out flyers at an HIV conference in Kampala, they were charged with trespassing. The trial dragged on for months and months. Though the charges were ultimately dropped, the experience in prison was traumatic for Onziema. Several officers taunted her — was she to be put with the male inmates or the female ones? Her clothes were forcibly removed and an officer touched her genitals “for confirmation.”

Both Onziema and her partner know that next time might be even worse.

Black Mens XchangeNY

March 9th, 2010

These women are not gay. All homosexuals are not gay. The Term Same Gender Loving

Emerged in the early ‘90s to offer Black women who love women and Black men who love men (and other people of color) a way of identifying that resonated with the uniqueness of Black life and culture. Before this, many African descended people, knowing little about their history regarding homosexuality and bi-sexuality had taken on European symbols and identifications as a means of embracing their sexuality(ies): Greek lambdas, German pink triangles, the White-gay-originated rainbow flag, in addition to the terms “gay’ and “lesbian.”

The term “gay,” coined as an identification by White male homosexuals beginning in the in the 50s, was cultivated in an exclusive White male environment. By the late 60s, the growing Gay Liberation movement developed in a climate excluding Blacks and women. In response to this discrimination, White women coined the identification “lesbian,” a word derived from the Greek island Lesbos. The lesbian movement, in turn, helped define a majority White movement called “feminism.” In response to the racism experienced by women of color from white feminists, celebrated author Alice Walker introduced the term “womanist.”

The term “womanist” identified woman of color concerned with the oppression of women and with addressing the problem of “racism.” In this spirit of self-naming and ethnic-sexual pride, the term “same gender loving” (SGL) was introduced to enhance the lives and illuminate the voices of homosexual and bi-sexual people of color; to provide a powerful identification not marginalized by racism in the gay community or “homophobic” attitudes in society at large.

As gay culture grew and established itself in San Francisco, Greenwich Village, West Hollywood and other enclaves, Blacks, especially, were carded and rejected from many establishments. Even today Blacks, Asians and Latinos often appear in the pages of gay publications solely as the potential sexual objects of white men. Ironically, gay rights activism was modeled on the Black Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Unfortunately, this replication of Black liberation provided little incentive for gays to acknowledge SGL Blacks, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans.

Since the advent of the gay rights movement many Black SGLs painfully discovered that this “movement” provided little space for the voices, experiences and empowerment of Black people. The rigid influence of the Black church and its traditionally anti-homosexual stance has contributed to attitudes that repress and marginalize Black SGLs. The lack of acknowledgement and support in the Black community has led multitudes of same gender loving African descended people to the White community to endure racism, isolation from their own communities, oppression and cultural insensitivity.

The high visibility of the white gay community contributes to the tendency in Black communities to overlook or ridicule Black SGL relationships as alien or aberrant. The Black SGL movement has inspired national dialogue on diverse ways of loving in the Black community. The term same gender loving explicitly acknowledges loving within same-sex relationships while encouraging self-love.

SGL has served as a wakeup call for Blacks to acknowledge diverse ways of loving and sexualities and has provided an opportunity for Blacks and other people of color to claim, nurture and honor their significance within their families and communities.

Seeking support and positive identification, people of color still endure ethnic invisibility in many gay settings and sexuality invisibility in their own communities. It is the intention of the SGL movement to break these cycles. The term “same gender loving” (SGL) has been adopted by women and men from all over the African Diaspora. To same gender loving sisters and brothers everywhere… Peace, self-love and respect to you, to your families, communities and allies.


March 10th, 2010

Wow. I’m disappointed. I always thought of unity as a basic necessity in any fight against oppression.

The same gay movement that you criticize, claiming that it excluded blacks and women, is the same gay movement that has won victories on behalf of all LGBT people – including blacks and women who equally enjoy the benefits of those victories. And gay white males would benefit from any victories won by “same gender loving” movements, wouldn’t they? …we share struggles and victories as LGBT people, regardless of race.

Gay Ugandans refer to themselves as kuchus. Gay haters in Uganda prefer to use words like homos, homosexuals, sodomites and other words in Ugandan dialects, and have asked the Ugandan media not to use the word gay to describe homosexuals. There are very few white people in Uganda, and even fewer gay white people. The term “same gender loving” just doesnt apply to Uganda.

The gay movement that you claim excluded blacks is the same gay movement that wont turn a blind eye to Uganda… tirelessly fighting the anti-homosexuality bill. How has the “same gender loving movement” helped gay Ugandans? …politically, raising awareness or otherwise? …blogsphere? …it’s gay blogs (including gayuganda) and not same gender loving blogs that seem most concerned about Uganda.

The Africans in the diaspora that Ugandans have heard most clearly on the subject include TD Jakes, Donnie McKlurkin(sp?) and that Brundige(sp?) ex-gay dude who attended the anti-gay conference in Kampala last march.

This would explain why so many anti-gay Ugandans (like Martin Ssempa who married a white woman) have had great success portraying homosexuality as a type of neo-colonialism… not just as “unAfrican”, but more explicitly, as “a white thing”. I’ve read blogs and forums where Ugandans insist that all black people know that homosexuality is evil – they believe that in the US, most people of color reject same sex marriage, they believe Obama was compromised into opposing the kill the gays bill… many Ugandans believe that South Africa’s LGBT affirming constitution is the work of oppressive “white forces” in that country… Ugandans refer to homophobia in the Caribbean as further evidence that homosexuality is a white thing.

In short… division, especially along racial lines, has no place in any LGBT struggle… including Uganda.


March 10th, 2010


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, intersex, queer, same gender loving, kuchu?

come on.

At this rate, we’ll be better off with “ABS” – Anything But Straight.


March 10th, 2010

i’m curious… what term would be most appropriate for inter-racial couples? …”gay couple” or “same gender loving couple” or “that same gender loving dude and his gay partner”?


March 10th, 2010

Jeepers, BMXNY, if you want us to check out your website just provide a link. You don’t need to paste in a huge chunk of pre-written text.

Timothy Kincaid

March 10th, 2010


Although gay enclaves may be more racially segregated than they should be (though this is less true than it used to be), I don’t think that creating terminology that further separates is going to help.

I understand “a place of our own” mentality, but surely you must realize that if one champions voluntary exclusion you can’t very well be angry that you’re excluded.

I appreciate that there is a black gay (or SGL) subculture. The times that I have been allowed to be part of that community have been delightful. But I am also glad that there are black gay men and women who have chosen to remain connected with the larger gay community and those friends add value to my own personal life and give me a window into their own unique perspectives.

I guess my point is that if you don’t give people a change to find commonality with you, they won’t. And then you both lose.

Priya Lynn

March 10th, 2010

Black mens exchange, These women are gay, all homosexuals are gay. Gay means same sex attracted, just as homosexual does.

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