We Are Here: LGBTI in Uganda
BY Sunnivie Brydum
January 02 2013 5:00 AM ET
Photos by D. David Robinson © 2013, for use by The Advocate with this article only. All rights reserved. Subjects have approved use of images contained herein.
Kevin Aine Dismus, 29, founder of Rainbow Health Foundation Mbarara
My Catholic background is strong, and it was my dream to become a priest. But I knew early that I had a secret. I didn’t discover it — it discovered me. Eventually I chose to confide in a close friend. He betrayed me. News spread quickly in my boarding school, and suddenly I had no one.
One evening, I returned from studies and found a small note from my classmates on my bed: “We don’t befriend gay people. It’s against our religion.” My dream instantly fell away. In tears, I tossed the note on a burning pile of rubbish, faked sick and asked to go home.
Along the way, I bought five packets of rat poison. When I woke, vomiting black poison and blood, my family took me to a clinic — that is how I managed to survive.
To this day, my family thinks it was nerves about my exams that brought on the “sickness” — I was such a perfectionist in my studies. It took years before I accepted myself and came out to them and others. In 2011, I founded a refuge for LGBTI people in my hometown in rural western Uganda. Rainbow Health Foundation Mbarara wasn’t around for me, but it is now here for others.
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