What are you looking for?

Welcome to Uganda Feminist Forum

Copyright ©2022 Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA). All Rights Reserved.

Follow us

>Insight >Blog >The Uganda Feminist Forum Stands in Solidarity with SMUG and LGBTQ+ Persons in Uganda

The Uganda Feminist Forum Stands in Solidarity with SMUG and LGBTQ+ Persons in Uganda


AUGUST 8, 2022

The Uganda Feminist Forum Stands in Solidarity with SMUG and LGBTQ+ Persons in Uganda

The community of feminists in Uganda which proudly counts LGBTQ+ persons among its membership was distressed and shaken to learn about the closure of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a leading voice for organizing for LGBTQ+ rights in Uganda. While enraged about these actions, we are not at all surprised by them as they are in keeping with a pattern of increasing persecution of LGBTQ+ persons using state institutions and resources.

 The LGBTQ+ community in Uganda has always been a convenient scapegoat for landing political punches and discrediting the moral standing of political and social collectives because of their association with them. We know that while the closure of SMUG by the NGO Bureau is ostensibly about the lack of compliance in registration, it is actually about the non-desirability of gender diversities and sexualities, and an unsuccessful attempt to deny their existence in Uganda. The Uganda Registration Services Bureau’s (URSB) refusal to register SMUG citing laws that we inherited as part of a violent and dehumanizing colonial experiment is a testament to this.

 Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer persons, and others have the right to exist and to have rights. They also, like every citizen, have the right to organize and build community as they have done with SMUG and other organizations. The closure of SMUG, which has for years been an unwavering advocate for LGBTQ+ issues and a refuge for queer persons,  threatens the well-being of many LGBTQ+ persons and the work of other organizations working on human rights and issues of sexuality. This halting of operations means that many LGBTQ+ persons will not have access to legal and material support during this period.

We stand in solidarity with our community at SMUG and all LGBTQ+ persons affected by its closure. We are under no illusions that this is a minor setback. The precedent set by the arbitrary arrests of LGBTQ+ persons as well as the closure of other NGOs seen to be challenging the wanton abuse of human rights by the state tells us that things could get worse. We are thus resolute in our fight. We shall dedicate all our resources and energies to challenging this unjust action and to continue fighting homophobia in Uganda and elsewhere.

 We demand that the Government of Uganda desists from weaponizing the law to control, discriminate, and mete out violence against its own citizens whose existence and protection are guaranteed under Ugandan law and other regional and international human rights instruments to which Uganda is a signatory.

 We also urge the NGO Bureau to reconsider its decision and for URSB to create pathways for SMUG to register its operations so that it can enjoy the same modicum of freedoms that other NGOs in Uganda do, even if those are also under threat.

Lastly, we call for support and collective action from civil society organizations working in Uganda. As our feminist ancestor, Audre Lorde once said, “your silence will not protect you.” Now more than ever, we must rally our courage of conviction and challenge this injustice. After all, the past has shown us that it is only a matter of time before these same weapons are deployed against all of us.