‘Everything is prohibited’: Uganda’s anti-gay law forces community into hiding

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10/09/2023

When Richard Lusimbo came for the interview at an office in the suburbs of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, he looked exhausted. The bags under his eyes told the story of long sleepless nights. Throughout the interview, his phone wouldn’t stop ringing, and he would occasionally glance at it to check who was calling before placing it face-down on the brown coffee table. “It’s like an emergency service,” he said. “Everyone looking for shelter but without anywhere to really put them.” Lusimbo is the first phone call for many in Uganda’s gay community, which has been forced into hiding since the country passed one of the harshest anti-homosexuality laws in the world, with steep penalties including life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality” and jail terms of up to 20 years for “promoting homosexuality”.

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