Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
I just got word that a trans-woman (she is a woman by identity) was physically assaulted by a man at a club in Kampala. These incidences occur often and are unreported or under reported because the government will not acknowledge them and the press is only relatively free.
The woman was from outside Kampala and was brutally beaten on Tuesday night. However, because of the stigma against LBGTI – in fact the illegality of homosexuality in country – she didn’t report the assault until Thursday.
A police report has been filed. I will be getting new details soon. Of note, the first thing the police asked the victim was “are you a man or a woman?”. Although the question should never have been asked – the obvious answer is “I’m a human being.”
The woman was beaten so badly her eye was completely swollen shut. She did finally receive medical care through a background network of organizations that help the LGBTI community.
Homophobia is not discussed in any meaningful way in Uganda. Advocates work tirelessly to change this. However since the government’s official position is that homosexuals have no rights they (obviously) cannot education the community about homophobia and rampant hate crimes.
I have talked with members of parliament and in fact the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo. Although the government claims to not discriminate against LGBTI persons, as Lokodo told me – homosexuality is an abomination and in not “the African way”. (more to come from that interview.)
There may be some action around the case of the abused woman tomorrow. Will post as I know more.