LGBT Ugandans live under some of the world's most discriminatory laws, and regularly face violence and abuse. Despite the danger, they bravely stand together in defiance at an annual Pride parade. However, in 2016, Pride Uganda was struggling to gather the necessary funds to host the event.
In partnership with local activists, All Out launched a fundraiser to support Pride Uganda. Over 2,500 All Out members chipped in and raised enough money to fully fund the week long event, in defiance of local authorities and the country's anti-LGBT law.
All Out's Executive Director, Matt Beard, travelled to Kampala to show support to our partners and friends during this amazing event.
The first two days went very well without any incidents. But, on the third night, during a Pride beauty pageant, the Ugandan Police violently raided the venue. People were beaten, sexually assaulted, and humiliated.
One young man was so afraid, he jumped from a 4th floor window and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Directly following this horrific event, Reverend Simon Lokodo, Uganda's Minister of Ethics and Integrity, threatened to incite mob violence against participants planning to attend the main Pride Parade that weekend.
Lokodo 2day addressed e nation n vowed 2 do everything within his power 2 'stop' gays.Wen wl this persecution end? pic.twitter.com/ICKE1yUEpW— KuchuTimes (Q-Times) (@KuchuTimes) 8 August 2016
In the aftermath of the attack, All Out launched a second rapid-response fundraiser to cover our Ugandan partners' immediate medical and safety costs. In just 24 hours, All Out members met our fundraising goal of $17,900.
In light of this grave risk to the safety and freedom of participants, the organizers made the heartbreaking decision to cancel the Pride parade – but they didn't give up! They still gathered in Kampala to discuss next steps and have a Pride celebration at a later date.
Activists worked tirelessly to get permission from the Uganda police to organize the Pride march on September 24.
To support our friends on the ground, All Out asked people around the world to show their solidarity by using the hashtag #IStandWithPrideUganda. Dozens of All Out members from around the world joined in.
However, days before the event, Minister Simon Lokodo announced that anyone who marched in Pride would be arrested.
Uganda 'will arrest' anyone who takes part in Pride https://t.co/ml1B6aYK2W— PinkNews (@PinkNews) 21 September 2016
But activists did not back down.
On September 24, our friends in Uganda went out to celebrate Pride. But unfortunately, the police raided the event again, huddling people into buses and escorting them back to Kampala.
Uganda police blocked gay pride celebrations. Minister Lokodo threatened to mobilize mobs to attack LGBTI. pic.twitter.com/jMGdUnLA71— Alice Ruhindi (@AliceRuhindi) 25 September 2016
Still, our friends were not deterred. They were determined to celebrate Pride – and they did!
Our parade might have been ruined bt pride still went on! UG LGBTI community remains resilient, we stood together! pic.twitter.com/RcEsc7wDJc— KuchuTimes (Q-Times) (@KuchuTimes) 25 September 2016
We will continue to stand in solidarity with our brave, resilient friends in Uganda. We will stand by their side as they fight for justice and freedom for all LGBT Ugandans!