Gay Ugandan asks ‘Where will I go?’ as secret shelters under threat

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03/29/2023

Uganda’s parliament last week passed one of the world’s toughest laws against homosexual activities, prompting widespread condemnation. If signed into law by the president, anyone who identifies as LGBT could face life in prison. It also threatens the existence of the handful of refuges where LGBT people have sought shelter after being kicked out of home. The BBC got access to these secret shelters and spoke to residents about their lives and concerns. Ali had kept his sexuality secret but was outed after he was arrested when Ugandan police raided an underground gay bar in the capital, Kampala, in 2019. “My father said: ‘I never want to see you again. You’re not my child. I can’t have a child like you,’ says Ali, whose name has been changed to protect his identity. Despite the obvious trauma of this experience the young man, in his mid-20s, speaks in a gentle, calm way. “He was searching for me to beat me but my mother told me to hide. I did not have a plan, but I knew I had to leave home.” His story of stigmatisation, violence and fear provides a glimpse into the lives of LGBT people in Uganda.

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