From the LGBT Rights Cause.
Major Human Rights Award Goes to Ugandan Lesbian by Paul Canning
October 17, 2011
Besides the Nobel Peace Prize, the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders is the main award of the global human rights movement.
It is a unique collaboration among ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations.
The 2011 prize was presented to Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera in Geneva October 13 by High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Deputy Kyung-wha Kang.
The ceremony included a very moving film about Nabagesera’s work made by True Hero films.
Nabagesera is a Ugandan LGBT activist and founder/Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda.
She became engaged in LGBT rights in Uganda when she was just 21, and has since played a leading role.
She told Kathambi Kinoti of AWID in 2010:
Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) is the only exclusively lesbian, bisexual and transgender organization in Uganda. It was started by three lesbian-identified women on July 4, 2003 in a bar which at the time the media frequently called a lesbian bar. Many lesbian women who heard the news started coming to the bar to hang out and make new friends.
Earlier, in April 2003 we had been approached by a group of men who claimed to have a lesbian organization by the name Makerere University Students Lesbians Association. When we asked them where the lesbians were and why it was led by men, they said that the women were “shy.” Later we did some research and learnt that these men were not university students nor did any such organization exist.
An accountant by profession, she has excelled in human rights advocacy and obtained a certificate in human rights law. For the past four years she has been speaking at international forums highlighting the plight of lesbian women in her country. But perhaps more importantly, Kasha has had the courage to appear on national television in Uganda, becoming one of the first lesbians to openly speak out.
She has consistently invoked international covenants that Uganda has ratified and the Government has failed to implement.
In 2007, she was brutally harassed at the World Social Forum in Nairobi after she spoke in front of 60,000 people about the respect and tolerance of homosexuals in the world. Later for appearing in the media she was again heckled, threatened and attacked. Since then she has been shifting from house to house, afraid to stay long in the same place. Police and security forces regularly stop and intimidate her.
In 2009, she and two other activists held a press conference with the message ‘we do not recruit!’ The organization the Family Life Network (FLN), which receives substantial American evangelical backing, had been claiming that LGBT groups were receiving vast sums to pay Ugandans to become gay.
On January 26, 2011, one of her colleagues, gay activist David Kato, was murdered following the publication of a “gay list” by the tabloid Rolling Stone calling for their hanging; in this black list, Kasha Jacqueline’s name also appears.
She challenged the homophobia frenzy in the media in the high court of Uganda where she and two others successfully sued Rolling Stone.
Read complete story, with videos and photos, at CARE2 Make A Difference.