advocate.com has an amazing and thoughtful article on D. David Robinson’s photojournalistic effort to hightlight the stories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexed people of Uganda, a country where the country’s governing body is considering passing a harsh piece of anti-gay legislation:
As it stands, the so-called Kill the Gays bill would prescribe the death penalty for some LGBT Ugandans, including “repeat offenders” and anyone who has same-sex relations with a minor, with someone who is mentally handicapped, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The bill demands long prison terms for those spared capital punishment and requires friends, family, and neighbors to report any “known homosexuals” to authorities or face jail time themselves.
But despite potential passage of the bill and a hostile environment stoked to an ideological inferno by American evangelicals proselytizing in Eastern Africa, Ugandan LGBTI people have a simple message: We are here. We are Ugandan. We will not be silenced.
“This is a project of intimate storytelling,” says Robinson, himself a gay man. “It is not political, even if these individuals are activists and human rights defenders in Uganda. These are personal stories, and obviously just a small window onto each person’s experience of discovering their sexual orientation and learning to survive and thrive in the country they love.”
The lensman says he hopes everyone will see that the Ugandans in these photos are not victims; they are human rights leaders. And they are profoundly human: at once vulnerable, resilient, flawed, and creative.