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Uganda: “He Was Sure That I Was an Envoy of Americans”

December 18, 2016

GPJ-Uganda

KAMPALA, UGANDA — Reporting on LGBT issues in a country where many people frown at the word “homosexuality” was a daunting task. First, some of our reporters dreaded it. Later, sources, including those in the LGBT community, weren’t comfortable speaking about the subject.

Never before have I been embarrassed in an attempt to report a story. One pastor, a reknowned anti-LGBT activist told me, in front of some of his church members in his office, that he was sure that I was an envoy of Americans who are promoting homosexuality in Africa, so he had no time for people like me. He said his information would be twisted to suit American interests.

Later, I met another anti-LGBT activist, also a pastor, who was willing to speak with me. He was very passionate as he talked about what he feels are the motives of the LGBT community in Uganda, including what he says are their attempts to indoctrinate young people into being homosexual, luring them with money and gifts. That pastor introduced me to other activists who were willing to speak with me.

When I set out to interview a gay person to give the story balance, I knew it would be no easy task. Some people preferred anonymity. Others questioned how I found them, or even refused to take my calls after learning that I wanted to speak with them about homosexuality.

I kept looking for sources. Eventually, one person was willing to speak with me on the record.

We had to find very private places to conduct these interviews. I followed people into their homes to get their stories.