The former Director General of Services at the Ministry of Health was quoted saying “You see for us we are Africans, you come into an environment and say you are gay, people look at you, even if they spit on you, you should see that as normal.” And as thus the Sexual Minorities Uganda report “Even If They Spit At You, Don’t Be Surprised a report aimed at addressing Health Care discrimination against Uganda’s Sexual and Gender Minorities” file:///C:/Users/acer/Downloads/Draft%20Health%20Report_March19-Mock%20up%20ready%20copy.pdf was named.
These remarks unfortunately portray institutionalized stigma that forces Uganda’s sexual and gender minorities to experience higher rates of HIV, mental health concerns, and everything from denial of services to violent attacks.
“The moment you open up a health worker about your sexual orientation-you are immediately frowned upon, asked if you are a Christian and in some instances threatened with arrest or denied services.” Says Dr Frank Mugisha the executive director Sexual Minorities Uganda.
Pepe Julian Onziema the programs director Sexual Minorities Uganda says, “Although there’s space for dialogue with the health policy makers, the practice and implementation remains poor and gagged by prejudice and ignorance of health caregivers about the sexual and gender minority healthcare needs. This report is hereby lifting the lid off those prejudices and show them for what they are. Stakeholders can learn from it and in time become more accountable to sexual and gender minorities.”
Austin Bryan a Research Fellow at Sexual Minorities Uganda who authored and researched the report says “This report’s title comes from comments from an interview I did with the Director of General Services at the Ministry of Health. When I presented him with testimonies of abuse, he said, “Even if they spit, don’t be surprised”. When LGBT people experience abuse, document their abuses, and leaders continue to deny that abuses take place this is state sponsored homophobia.”
Austin commends all LGBT people who were brave enough to share their stories for documentation in this report. He adds that their bravery will help activists, organizers, researchers, and the international community alike hold those in power accountable for their actions.
We hope this report enlightens you.