Pursuing community development and resistance to oppression: Rainbow communities in Uganda
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Citation:Matthewson, P.J. (2021, July). Pursuing community development and resistance to oppression: Rainbow communities in Uganda Paper presented at the Australasia Pacific International Community Development Conference, Online.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5512
Life for rainbow (LGBTQIA+) people and communities in a number of countries in Africa is harsh and repressive, with discriminatory and oppressive laws and penal codes, and high levels of homophobia in communities. For example in Uganda male homosexual acts were criminalised under British colonial rule. However in recent years repression has become more severe. In 2000 female homosexuality was criminalised alongside male homosexuality, with a penalty of life imprisonment. Prosecutions, accompanied by “outing” in the media are common, and even when cases ultimately fail for lack of evidence, accused people have also suffered violence and abuse while remanded in custody. In general there are high levels of homophobia in society, and rainbow people experience ostracism from families, eviction from housing and homelessness, discrimination in employment, and severe physical violence including murder. A further complication is that 80% of the Ugandan population is rural; it is somewhat safer and less discriminatory for rainbow peoples in larger cities, however in Uganda much of this oppression occurs in remote rural areas. A community development response to this situation requires immediate crisis response and health, social and legal services for people in immediate desperate need, and community building and strengthening, often in remote areas. Advocacy and activism for social and legal change is also vital. This presentation will explore community development responses in this context, and how the international community can support.