“Our aim is for people to understand us, not accept us”, said Sandra Nametubi in a speech given to International Relations students in DCU on Thursday.
Nametubi is a human rights activist for the Ugandan LGBT+ community. She works alongside Frontline Defenders, an international foundation set up for the protection of human rights defenders.
In February 2014, the Ugandan President, Museveni, signed a law which outlawed homosexuality. Although the law was dissolved, Nametubi urged that “we are still being killed, we are still being silenced”.
Nametubi spoke about the belief in Uganda that homosexuality is “a new trend brought by a Western culture to kill African culture”.
In her speech, Nametubi expressed how in Uganda it is believed that an LGBT+ person is being paid by Western countries to spread homosexuality. “We are seen as selling our own country”, she said.
It is impossible for LGBT+ activists to rebut these beliefs being spread in Uganda as what activist say is not valid to the government and the society. “We know what to say, we lack a platform”, Nametubi said.
Nametubi stressed that there is no law that opposes homosexuality directly, the problem lies within the Ugandan society. She said, LGBT+ people are being “forced out of the country, not physically, but psychologically”.
She believes religion and the church in Uganda are a big part of the problem. “Christianity has done a lot of harm,” she said. “It used to be religion versus culture, but now they are combined”.
She said the root of the problem lies with Scott Lively, an anti-homosexuality American pastor.
“He had his agenda, he had his strategies”, she insisted. “After today we are crying because of one person, who fronted the approach”. Before his message arrived in Uganda, “people were never bothered about it”. She noted that people kept to themselves and didn’t think it was a big issue.
Despite the fear and silencing that Nametubi described she mentioned that “Uganda is not the worst country to be gay” in. She said she remains optimistic about the future of LGBT+ Ugandans’ lives, “With Uganda, everything is possible”.