LGBTI+ individuals in Uganda are severely discriminated against, and are prevented from enjoying their universal human rights due to a high rate of anti-LGBTI+ violence and a lack of positive legal recognition of their rights.
Freedom Centre-Uganda’s training sessions trained participants on their rights according to regional and international human rights instruments, and demonstrated how religious beliefs can never provide legitimate grounds to discriminate against others. The sessions also provided participants with practical training on advocating for their rights, and supplied materials and an “action plan” on campaigning for legislative and social change.
The training initiative comes as part of a wider project by Freedom Centre-Uganda, designed to create a network of support between the LGBTI+ and humanist communities in Mbarara City. The project has been running since 2021 and is supported by a grant from Humanists International.
Freedom Centre-Uganda also held several focus group sessions as part of the project, so as to better understand and report on the lived experiences of LGBTI+ individuals and the nature of the religious discrimination they have faced in the past, or are currently facing.
The report highlights how many members of the Ugandan LGBTI+ community had shared experiences of isolation, loneliness and rejection, often enhanced by discrimination faced from within the religious communities. In addition, as noted in the report, socio-economic inequality, illiteracy and a lack of community and organizational capacity have limited the ability of LGBTI+ individuals to live a life of fulfilment.
Kamugasha Louis, President of Freedom Centre-Uganda, commented:
“Humanists and LGBTI people have forever been allies. With our project, we wanted to help amplify LGBTI+ voices and agency, to encourage advocacy activities against the widespread discrimination suffered by many on the grounds of gender identity, sexual orientation and belief, at the hands of religious communities. Our aim has been to help empower people to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment, and change some lives for the better in our city of Mbarara City; with support from Humanists International, I believe we are on our way to achieving this.”