AMIDST ALL THE CHALLENGES WE ARE THRIVING
On 19TH-20TH July this year Freedom And Roam Uganda successfully held the first-ever #UGALEF2019 in Uganda. This doubled as celebrations of our 16 years of existence #FARUGAt16 as the first and longest-serving LBQ organization in Uganda. This forum brought together Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer women from across the country. It was an opportunity to celebrate and amplify our voices. “The dream has finally come true! I don’t know how many years we have dreamt of this. I have tried over and over again to write a speech about today but I am still speechless. It is a great honor to have all of you LBQ Women here gathered for this forum. Can you believe we are 10 LBQ organizations here? We needed a space like this for only us by us. You rarely find lesbian women in other spaces. These are dominated by gay men. We need to jealously safeguard this space.”Ssenfuka Joanita Warry a.k.a Biggie our Executive Director beaming with pride made these remarks as she welcomed participants.
Present at #UGALEF2019 were the three successive executive directors of FARUG from Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera the co-founder, Junique Wambya and Biggie.
“Am so happy to see you all. The fact that you are here we are a force. We need to safeguard women’s spaces. And please utilize these spaces. “Kasha reechoed the importance of the forum. She chaired a session on the history of the LBQ movement in Uganda. Kasha took participants through a session giving a detailed journey of the movement up to date. She vividly remembers the women’s forum she attended and half the participants packed their bags and left, when she introduced herself as a lesbian woman. They left but I did not. “All of us can play a part. You do not have to be at the front line but you can do something. “Kasha encouraged participants. She concluded by emphasizing the need for us to work with all social justice movements.
Prof. Sylvia Tamale an African feminist lawyer and Human Rights Award-winner 2018 joined us too. She took us through learning-unlearning-Relearning Gender Dynamics, Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression, Feminism, and Queer Activism. “Step out of your comfort zone. Unlearning about Gender and sexuality involves a lot of discomforts. But be willing to take that step….” she shared.
The two days of #UGALEF2019 #FARUGAt16 were crowned with the premiere of a documentary and launch of the research report titled The Lived Realities of Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women in Uganda. This project cut across all regions of Uganda with subject representations from Lira, Gulu, Arua, Mbale, Kampala, Masaka, and Mbarara. The report was launched by the guest of honor Solome Nakaweesi who was accompanied by Dr. Frank Mugisha (Executive Director Sexual Minorities Uganda), Biggie, and Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera. Various partners and allies especially from the feminist movement in Uganda were there to witness this milestone.
Shout outs to all partners and allies who have supported us on this journey. We are forever grateful.