The book chapter Richard Lusimbo and I wrote on the history of the kuchu (LGBT) human rights movement in Uganda is now available in the new book “Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights: (Neo)colonialism, Neoliberalism, Resistance and Hope” published by the Human Rights Consortium at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.
Richard and I started writing this chapter together in 2015 when we were working together in Kampala with a team of social workers, activists, and community members to document cases of human rights abuses in Uganda. Together we documented 264 cases in 2015-2016 and published a report which has since been cited in both government documents and peer reviewed literature in addition to aiding activists to influence policy in Uganda and around the world. When we wrote this report we realized there was a general lack of scholarship on the history of the kuchu community. How did the organizing begin? Was it all a response to the infamous Anti Homosexuality Act? Not quite.
After interviewing activists and community members, consulting historical and anthropological texts, we found a different story—and one that challenges the re-victimizing narrative prominent in coverage one finds in the (well intentioned) international media. Centering the resilience and resistance of kuchus throughout the history of the LGBT human rights movement in Uganda reveals lessons to be learned for all of us but most of all begins to establish, through rich first hand testimonies, the power of kuchus fighting for their rights well before the Anti Homosexuality Act.
Richard and I, along with the entire editorial team, are so excited to share with you this book compiling exciting new text from around the world and we would greatly appreciate any feedback you have. We do not see this “history” as comprehensive but as the beginning, and hope it will help inspire or trigger other research projects. Please feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course this chapter would not have been possible without the support of Sexual Minorities Uganda and the many brave activists and community members who shared their stories.