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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 26, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 52
Ugandan activists launch LGBT magazine
Section One
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Ugandan activists launch LGBT magazine

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Defying conservative public opinion and a government that has threatened to execute them, LGBT activists in Uganda have launched a new magazine titled Bombastic. The first issue appeared December 22 and is available in Uganda in hard copy, and online at http://www.kuchutimes.com/bombastic-magazine-online-edition/

'This publication is to give you an insight into the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons of Ugandan society,' the lead editorial says. 'The stories you are about to read are real life stories of your parents, brothers, sisters, teachers, clergymen, and friends.'

The 75-page publication contains personal stories, often accompanied by photos of the writers - in itself a brave statement - and editorials. It was distributed by activists who personally took copies to all parts of the country.

'BOMBASTIC will speak for the many voiceless LGBTI Ugandans, and the many who are brave enough to share their personal stories,' editor Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera wrote.

'I want to thank all those brave Ugandans who have gone out countrywide to distribute the magazine, the many who have worked tirelessly to see the success of this project and to our friends and allies around the world who have contributed in many different ways to make this a success.'

Nabagesera created the magazine to act as the instrument of her Reclaim the Media project. Mainstream Ugandan media have given a platform to homophobia, and supported anti-LGBT politicians, she charged, and LGBT Ugandans must challenge their hold on public opinion.

'By giving voice to homophobia, local media has also contributed largely to violence against LGBTI Ugandans,' she said in a statement.

'We share our lived realities in the hope that they will inspire many people who have been filled with hate from politicians and religious leaders seeking political power and cheap popularity.'

'Many have told our stories wrongly and we can't accept the trend to continue. Here are our stories, narrated and shared by ourselves,' added a member of Uganda's LGBT community identified only as Ambrose.

In October 2010, the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone published names and photos - and in some cases addresses and phone numbers - of 100 people it called 'Uganda's Top Homos.' At least four of those listed were subsequently attacked, and many went into hiding for their own safety.

Uganda's Rolling Stone has no relationship with the American music magazine of the same name.

In 2012, another tabloid, Red Pepper, published graphic photos showing what it claimed was famed soccer manager Chris Mubiru having sex with a player. In February 2014 the tabloid published a story titled 'Top Uganda Gay Recruiters Busted,' in which it published photos of supposed Gay men.

Meanwhile, a bill to increase penalties for Gay sex is still pending in Uganda's parliament, although officials now say it will not be voted on this year. The latest draft of the legislation calls for life in prison for 'repeat offender' Gays. Previous versions called for the death penalty.

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