Gay Uganda On Safety In a Climate of “Outing”

Jim Burroway

November 2nd, 2010

Gay Uganda speaks to CNN’s David McKenzie:

David McKenzie: On your blog it’s clear what it’s about. It’s about being gay in Uganda. Why don’t you put your name there?

Gug: Because I know I don’t want to be killed. No, I mean, security, anonymity is… our anonymity is the most important weapon that we have. I lived, I’ve grown up, I studied, I’ve been in Uganda throughout my life. Now, all people who know me, most of them know that I’m so and so, but they don’t know that my sexuality is such and such. I can’t tell people that I work with that I’m gay.

I mean when you hear the president of the country say you should be arrested or when you hear the head of the Muslims say you should be marooned on an island, it’s the kind of thing you want to shake somebody, you want to express this anger. And that’s what it does for me.

Gay Uganda writes today about the “very, very personal nightmare” of being outed. These public vigilante campaigns have become “an almost inevitable right of passage for those of us who dare live in the glare of the public eye.” The recent campaign has hit close to home for many in the community:

Sunday, we were with a friend when we learnt that three of the papers had outed some people.

He is a professional, with a budding carrear. And, suddenly, he was unsettled. Jittery, wondering whether or not his name appeared in the unprecedented three papers outing on the same day! Wondering how it would affect job, earnings, carrier, just the whiff of scandal from the most gossipy of rugs in the country. But this the most damaging of rumours… gay in Uganda! His fear was contagious. At midnight, he wanted to go search for a copy of the filthy rugs, to confirm or not that he was amongst those outed.

Fear. That is an almost crippling feature of any outing happening, however it does. Worst is when it happens in the papers.

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