Day one had members of the LGBTI community meet , greet and interact with different partners that have supported, continue to support and contribute to cause of Equality for the LGBTI community.
It was a grand affair as everyone that turned up was in the most fashionable attires, from tuxedos to fabulous Dinner dresses and stunning African attires that ruled the night. “It was a networking platform that got our donors, National Partners, Members from the different Civil Society Organizations, Activists and Co-operations together, so they could understand the meaning of Pride to us as Ugandans.” Says Dr. Frank Mugisha the executive director SMUG.
The night was crowned by the unveiling of the Grand Marshals for the Pride Parade 2014 including Dr Frank Mugisha SMUG Executive Director, Diane Bakuraira who is the Chairperson Board of Directors at Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) also Administrative Officer at SMUG, Dr Stella Nyanzi Post-Doctoral research fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research and senior researcher at the Law, gender and sexuality research project at Makerere school of Law and Joseph Kaweesi the Executive Director Come Out Post-Test Club (COPTEC).
Day two celebrated the Trans members of the community with Trans-night festivities “Health Talk, Trans Testimonies and Trans Awareness Night.” A documentary film about the challenges that transgender individuals face in their motherland Uganda was screened. Trans identified individuals shared with us their touching real life experiences. The night was crowned by performances from various divas miming various songs; the most popular songs of the night were from Juliana Kanyomozi, Beyonce and Shakira. Dr.Stella Nyanzi notes “I celebrate the Pride Team for putting together a fabulous program focusing on Trans Visibility; it was amazing to be surrounded by many gender non-conforming people who spoke freely about the multitude of issues facing trans-people.”
Friday night the third day of Pride week 2015 the LGBTI community came together for a beauty pageant that saw participants showcase different fashion Styles, however what stood out the most was the cultural wear as participants proudly showcased different attires from their cultural back grounds. Participants faced tough questions from the judges who were looking for Mr. and Miss Pride that would reign with example. One of the participants Isaac said he’d make sure the LGBTI youth in Uganda got employment. The winners of the Night were Phiona Adebayo a transgender man who bagged the Mr Pride 2015 crown and Mahad a Transgender woman who was crowned Miss Pride 2015. Joseph Kaweesi says “We are very grateful that a member of COPTEC was announced winner at the pageant. I commend the organizers on the success of the event.”
Saturday morning the day of Pride Parade the most anticipated event for Pride Week 2015 was blessed with great weather, the sun was out and the skies blue. The LGBTI family set off for Entebbe district in buses provided by Pride Uganda 2015 organizing committee. The venue had to be kept a secret and although police was around for protection, there was need to be discreet not to draw too much attention to the event. However as the day wore on spirits were lifted and members holding placards, rainbow flags and a huge banner bearing the theme for this year “We are Family” bravely marched and celebrated who they truly are. Together with the Grand Marshals, members of the LGBTI played different games freely at the beach and cut a rainbow color layered cake to mark the highlight of the event.
“Having being part of the organizing committee for the 1st Pride Uganda 2012, I’m excited seeing this event continue this far to 2015 without members giving up especially with increased issues due to the introduction of Anti Homosexuality Act and its nullification. Pride Uganda brings so much joy seeing members of the community that I serve coming together as one UNIT to enjoy their different diversities.” Says Diane Bakuraira.
The final day of Pride Week came on a Sunday with roads that led back to a venue decorated in Rainbow colors one would think Pride week was just beginning. Members showed up in large numbers, groups of friends sat in circles and others danced celebrating a successful Pride Week. The organizing committee for Pride Week 2015 could finally kick off their shoes and for once enjoy the fruits of their hard work, the organizers with so much excitement joined in the fun and danced with the rest of the members of the LGBTI bidding farewell to Pride Uganda 2015.
All in all we must say Pride Uganda 2015 was a great success and although prosecution and rejection by friends and family continue we shall never stop being who we are. “We are Family