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Sun. October 01, 2023
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Uganda’s LGBTI Community Comes Out with Magazine
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In a country where homosexuality is considered illegal, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community has come out with a magazine that shares the experiences of the community. Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, a lesbian activist, started the magazine in Uganda to provide a voice for everyone in the LGBTI community in Africa, especially since the local media has played a part in the intimidation and harassment of LGBTI people.

In January 2011, gay activist David Kato was beaten to death a Ugandan newspaper, Rolling Stone, outed him and others as homosexual. The paper published their pictures in October 2010 under the headline “Hang Them.” The publication stopped circulating in November 2010.

“Since 1999, the media has been routinely exposing people perceived to be LGBTI, publicly humiliating and degrading them, and sometimes even publishing person details about their homes and workplaces,” Nabagesera wrote in her editorial in Bombastic, which published in December 2014. “It is because of the hate that has been instigated by the media that we have decided to undo the myths, lies and hate that have been portrayed throughout the years by publishing our own news source.”

The 72-page magazine, Bombastic, contains personal essays, commentaries, and articles on religion, homosexuality and sexual health. The money to print the magazine was crowd-funded. Nabagesera asked for stories on Facebook, and she said she was “flooded with more than 500 contributions.”

One hundred and thirty eight volunteers distributed 15,000 copies of Bombastic have been distributed all over the country. Nabagesera personally delivered copies of the magazine to members of the parliament with an anti-gay stance, and the president, Yoweri Museveni, according to a report by The Guardian.

Although she has not received any feedback from the politicians yet, the magazine itself has not been accepted in parts of Uganda. Moses Kimbugwe, one of the activists who helped distribute the magazine, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) that copies of the magazine were torn in his presence, and that distributors narrowly escaped arrest in northern Uganda.

Homosexual activity is illegal under a 1950s penal code. According to DPA, publishing homosexuality-related material carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison in Uganda.

By Lakshna Mehta

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