Uganda has earned an infamous antigay reputation — the so-called Kill the Gays Bill continues to linger in the Ugandan parliament, and religious activists held an antigay rally at the grave of murdered Ugandan gay activist David Kato earlier this month.
But a new documentary film project aims to raise the voices of Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. Pepe Julian Onziema serves as the program director for LGBT advocacy group Sexual Minorities Uganda, and teamed up with American videographer Tim McCarthy to film a documentary by Ugandans, for Ugandans.
"As a Ugandan gay person, becoming that Ugandan gay historian is very important," says Onziema in a video announcing the film. "To have Ugandans tell the story to Ugandans. And that is, like, the ultimate thing, because then Ugandans will actually pay attention."
The project uses the Lugandan equivalent of the English word "queer" to raise the Voices of the Abasiyazzi, as the film is titled. Onziema and McCarthy have launched a Kickstarter campaign to make the documentary a reality and are hoping to raise nearly $75,000. The campaign ends Saturday, and the filmmakers only receive the money donated if they reach their fundraising goal.
"As a Ugandan, I am very sure that I will have a way to getting to speak to people, and just have a conversation," says Onziema. "Because when you put a face to homosexuality, of course initially people will judge you. But when you speak to people one-on-one, they get that essence of your humanity. And that is what is important with this project."
Watch a sneak peek of Voices of the Abasiyazzi below, and get more information on how you can help change the antigay culture in Uganda here.