“A lot of things happened in prison”

From my fieldnotes (Kampala, 2015).



I was arrested around the time when the Anti-Homosexuality Act happened — for being gay. My friend ███ and I were arrested together.

So it started when ███’s neighbors gave a complaint to police about ███ that their neighbor was gay — like with a boyfriend.

We were still sleeping — it was approaching 6:30am. The landlord said ‘you people get ready for what’s coming.’ we heard people screaming outside. We opened the door and the chairmen, journalists, police, and people from around were there. They said ‘get out!’ ‘remove all your things!’ ‘We wont tolerate gay people in our area.’

It was mob justice — they beat us badly. That’s even how I got this wound.

She points to a huge scar in her leg.

We were taken to police. We were forced to make a statement — Beaten and threatened to make a statement.

They forced an examination. You understand? We did not want it. We did not like it. They told us to bend over. They put their hand up there —

They forced us to sign. And we stayed in custody for almost a week in the police cells. They take us to court. Court pushed us to prison. We were not given chance to talk to our lawyers.

A lot of things happened in prison. We were raped. Beaten.

She pauses.

We spent almost 5 months in prison.

The case kept going on until they couldn’t get evidence.

I realized when you’re in prison there is no one for you. Because you cannot even get a piece of soap. You can’t get these clothes. You can’t get nothing. The food they cook, maize brand, is the same they give to the hens.

“Because even our families dropped us. They say ‘oh he is gay he is no longer my son. You’re being in life alone.”


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