Sexual Minorities Uganda-SMUG joined Freedom and Roam Uganda-FARUG as they launched a report about Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) women in Uganda. Ssenfuka Joanitah Warry the Executive director FARUG said, “The report means a lot to Freedom and Roam Uganda-FARUG, the entire LBQ community in Uganda and our stakeholders because it shows the challenges we face in terms of health care, education, Gender Based Violence among other challenges. It basically gives you a cocktail that LBQ people go throughout the country. The report will inform programming for LBQ organizations as well as stakeholders. Celebrating 16 years of existence and launching such a report is a great achievement for us.”
Diane Sydney Bakuraira Sexual Minorities Uganda administrator urged LBQ women to get out of their comfort zone. She said, “When we started the movement I continuously shied away from coming to the forefront of the movement. When you get comfortable in a situation you nurture it, this is why I advise my friends to never get comfortable in these situations. I challenged myself to go back to school and prove that the LBQ women in Uganda are not academic failures. I hope to graduate next year and this will be a victory for us all. Let us reflect on our fears and find a way to overcome. Use your anger for something positive. I’m glad that FARUG is here and more vibrant than ever before, seeing all these vibrant faces speaking out their truth is refreshing.”
During one of the sessions, Gloria the FARUG programs manager said, it is ironic how patriarchy has invaded queer relationships where those who are traditionally seen as masculine presenting women oppress those who are traditionally seen as feminine presenting women. Men are still using their positions against us.As LBQ women we need to be more assertive and stand strong. She added that LBQ women need to unlearn these negative aspects that they may have learned from patriarchal backgrounds.
“It is very exhausting being in the closet, I had to work on myself to be able to come out and represent LBQ women in the closet. It is not easy coming out too, LBQ women in my organization have to weigh the pros and cons. We fear what the society has taught us that being queer is a sin. Living in a closet may seem comfortable for some of us because we do not want to lose our friends, family and children. Lack of knowledge also makes it hard for us to come out. In my organization we help people discover themselves and the journey of self acceptance.” Winnie a queer mother whose organization works with closeted LBQ women.
It should however be noted that not everyone is meant to come out, this is an individual decision.
Amor a business woman said “I am a bisexual woman who worked in an MSM organization and it was interesting until I was challenged by my colleagues thinking I’m hormonal. Whenever I made a mistake, they said I was hormonal, she added this is why FARUG is like a home to me, I feel comfortable here. Unfortunately I have faced more biphobia from the women who preposition me. They say we are dirty and have sperms inside us.
Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) is a Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LBQ) diverse persons and women’s rights organisation based in Uganda. Established in 2003, FARUG is also a feminist organisation that reinforces feminist culture and principles.