Homophobic violence targets a trans woman, HIV counselor, allegedly gay man in a bar.

By Joto La Jiwe

Happy Boyz Bar in Kampala. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)
Happy Boyz Bar in Kampala. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Uganda is enduring a surge of homophobic attacks as homophobes use the cover of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 (AHA) to commit acts of terror against presumed LGBTQI+ persons.

The trend is escalating, with videos depicting the beating and humiliation of individuals based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity being widely shared on social media platforms.

In one distressing video from TikTok, an unidentified “gay man” is seen being assaulted, undressed and humiliated as one of the attackers cursing in a local language, saying, “We don’t want homosexuals, [Ugandan President Yoweri] Museveni signed the bill. You deserve death. You need to be gang-raped so that you learn.”

The incident took place at the Kampala bar Happy Boyz, according to Steven Kabuye, a human rights activist and the executive director of Colored Voice Truth to LGBTQ, who shared the video on X (Twitter),

Such violence is becoming the new normal in Uganda, and victims of the attacks rarely get justice. According to some human rights defenders the AHA made the state an accomplice in the violence.

“In almost all the attacks, the bad guys cite AHA as their motivator and the President assented to the law knowing very well that this was bound to happen. So in other words, he gave the green light to them” says a human rights defender who prefers to be called Annet.

Human rights advocate Frank Mugisha says extreme American Evangelical Christians must share the blame for the homophobic attacks in Uganda.

“This is how Ugandans have been radicalized, to hate LGBTQI people because of the anti-gay law and the propaganda by extreme American Evangelical Christians,” he stated.

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, an advocate for Ugandan LGBTIQ+ rights, urgently appealed to individuals to refrain from sharing these disturbing videos on social media.SEE ALSO

Online post distributed video of attack on allegedly gay man in a Kampala bar. (Photo courtesy of X / Twitter).
Online post distributed video of attack on allegedly gay man in a Kampala bar. (Photo courtesy of X / Twitter).

“This leads to continuous attacks on their lives even when relocated to ‘safer’ places. Many are having recurring trauma. We are trying to get these videos completely removed from [the] internet for their safety,” she said on X.

The Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) recently released its fifth monthly report on human rights violations against LGBTQ individuals in Uganda since the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

In the report, which focuses on incidents in October. HRAPF lists a total of 28 cases of actual violence (12 incidents) and threats of violence (16 incidents) against individuals on the basis of their real or presumed sexual orientation and gender identity affecting 35 persons.  In comparison, the previous month’s report noted 24 cases affecting 37 persons.

According to the October report:

  • On Oct. 2 in Kampala, a transgender woman’s status was leaked to the public by her roommate . People immediately ganged up with the roommate and started beating her. She was lucky to escape and run for her life.
  • On Oct. 3 in Isingiro District (Western Uganda), a social worker who provides counseling services to HIV-positive lesbian women in a refugee camp was attacked on allegations of recruiting women into lesbianism, and her leg was broken in the process. The attackers threatened to kill her.
  • On Oct. 8 in Mukono District (Central Uganda), two people were walking home at night when they were set upon by a group of strangers who beat them up, accusing them of trying to spoil all the children in the neighborhood with their “homosexual habits”. One of them was beaten into unconsciousness.

These are but a few of the violent human rights abuses that have become a common in Uganda since the enactment of the  Anti-Homosexuality Act, which imposed harsh penalties for homosexual activity, including death for what is termed  “aggravated homosexuality”.

Joto La Jiwe, the author of this article, is a Ugandan correspondent for the African Human Rights Media Network. He writes under a pseudonym. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.