(Updated 2012)
Kampala, Uganda

Counselors Disregard Inborn Homosexuality

By Denis Jjuuko

About four weeks ago, my editor assigned me to do an interview with a homosexual. I visited some NGOs and inquired if they had any of their contacts, but all in vain. I contacted a few female friends, but they too were not helpful.

Eventually, I was directed to a popular restaurant in town. This restaurant is run by a white homosexual, whom we shall refer to as Mr. A. He promotes homosexuality in Uganda. He works with another white homosexual who comes to Uganda once every three months to assess Mr. A’s work. A lot of money is involved.

Mr. A, who is about 57 years and wears mostly short sleeved shirts and demin jeans, recruits young boys whom he promises a lot of money and juicy jobs. At the job interviews, one is asked whether they have a girlfriend or not. Those who show no interest in women or men are given these jobs straight away.

Heterosexuals are also employed, but not highly paid. For them, promotion to managerial levels is a myth. After careful scrutiny, they are turned into homosexuals. The homosexuals without permanent partners come here and ‘buy’ these workers when they are off duty. You may as well call it prostitution.

In order to identify these ‘buyers’, one has to be very keen. However, at times they go overboard and one can easily notice something unusual. Mr. A has successfully turned two brothers into homosexuals. He has since monopolised them as his own sexual partners. He paid their tuition fees up to the university. He looks after their family well.

Some family members take him as a Good Samaritan, while others are resigned to the situation. These two brothers are now managers at this plush restaurant. They live with Mr. A at his swanky Muyenga residence. This eatery is for the more sophisticated, fashionable and rich homosexuals.

However, it was impossible to get information from them. I was getting flabbergasted and very frustrated. I was about to give up when someone gave me two e-mail addresses of some associations. Still I didn’t believe him. Nevertheless, i gave it a shot. I received a quick response from gayuganda(at)yahoo.com. They promised to link me up with a lesbian. I was thrilled that my assignment was making headway.

Two days later, I received a phone call and a male voice from the other end asked me if it was okay to meet his clique over the weekend. We agreed to meet on Saturday August 24, 2002 at exactly 2:00pm. We were to meet at the poolside bar in Grand Imperial Hotel.

Shortly before our agreed time, my new friend, Ssebudde Lule then called and said that we should meet at the Rhino Pub in the Sheraton Hotel. Lule told me that I would only meet him, if I was alone and without a camera. I agreed since we were meeting in a public place. I described to him how I was dressed and he came up to meet me as I walked in.

I thought that Lule was from Gay Uganda. He wasn’t. He was from the other group that didn’t reply my e-mail: gala4ug(at)yahoo.com. He told me that he is the chairman of GALA Uganda.

GALA stands for Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Uganda. The two were dressed in designer polo shirts and had trendy baseball caps. To be honest, they are attractive men. They didn’t wear any jewelry normally associated with homosexuals. No pierced ears. They were just like other ordinary guys in town.

I was nervous and could not speak coherently. I eased up after a moment and over a drink and some eats, we started our cordial emotion-free interview. “What does your alliance exactly do?” I ask. Lule, 30, gives me a brochure of his alliance. It has an e-mail and postal address number, 23717 Kampala written on it. “We are Ugandan gays and lesbians. After a long time of discrimination, hatred and oppression, on May 17, last year, we decided to form an association to give our community a voice,” he explains.

Lule adds that they were 18 members but the number has since increased into what he calls a network. “Our association does not seek to increase the numbers of homosexuals in this country or anywhere else. We want to unite as members not to convert people. We look for those who are already homosexuals and under-18s are not part of my organisation,” he hastens to add.

“Then, where do you get your facilitation?” I ask. “I hold a higher diploma in business studies. I’m involved in private business. I am an importer and exporter of general merchandise. I get some good money,” he answers.

Lule says that his alliance has already sent letters to the Uganda Human Rights Commission and proposals to the Constitution Review Commission. The handsome Lule says that he was born a gay but went into active homosexuality 10 years ago.

He informs me that he has not agreed to publish his picture because it may jeopardise his campaign. “In South Africa, people never knew that Nelson Mandela would one day be their leader. One day we will be recognised. Maybe, I won’t be around but I have made the ground,” he concludes with a glint of hope in his eyes.

However, Ruth Ssenyonyi, a professional counsellor disagrees that anyone can be born a homosexual or lesbian. “The sexual desires are there but it’s not the right way. Even the Bible condemns it,” she argues. She says that homosexuality is a result of pornography. Dr Vick Owens of the Institute of Physcology at Makerere University says that it is possible for one to change into a heterosexual through physcotherapy. “If you are willing to change then it’s possible,” she says. Dr Jim Lwanga and Guston Byamugisha argue that there is no evidence that a person can be born with homosexual tendencies. “Such people need urgent counselling,” they advise. Peter Iga Lubega, a member of his group, accompanied him.

Also see:
Gay Uganda Stories
Gay Uganda News & Reports 2002 to present
Gay Uganda Photo Galleries

New Vision (http://www.newvision.co.ug)
From http://allafrica.com/stories/200208300163.html