Please share this post to let others know what is going on and how they can help:
I met Andrew Waiswa on Facebook in October of 2013. I learned he had lived in Toronto, Canada as a refugee from 2010 to 2012, but he returned to Jinja, Uganda to become founder of GEHO Uganda (Gender Equality and Health Organization), which he created with others to help the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community there because the situation for LGBT people in Uganda is horrible. They get killed, assaulted and chased out of their homes and workplaces. GEHO Uganda provides safe houses for those who need shelter, legal and medical aid.
In her article, "Indomitable activist," Andrea Houston writes:
Ugandan gay rights activist Andrew Waiswa lives under constant threat of persecution, always worrying police will find the secret location of gay safe houses and bust down the doors.
… (Waiswa has given me permission to write his full name. In fact, he insisted on it. He knows the risk but says making himself visible to the world is the only way his voice can be heard.)
"I set up the safe houses because I could not stand the pain of being picked up by the police, thrown in a cell, questioned and treated badly," he says. "For gay people, it’s torment when you think you’ll be arrested. Most people just hang themselves or take poison or commit suicide in any way."
GEHO does wonderful work. For example, on October 20th Andrew posted:
This coming Wednesday and Thursday, GEHO will be training 25 Police Officers on how to process cases of transgender men and women. This was on request of the police, though it was their own initiative GEHO is not only expected to facilitate the training but also provide lunch/feeding and training materials. It's a step towards acceptance, and we are all in!
At the end of October GEHO’s members were heartbroken when they had to raise funds for the burial of Noel Baganzi, “activist, a friend, a skilled person and above all a member” who was killed when he was hit by a car.
Then at the end of November 2013, Andrew was assaulted in what was probably a hate crime and he was in critical condition. He has had two operations and has had to be moved from one hospital where he was getting poor care to another. GEHO Uganda has had to raise money for his care and for continuing the work of the organization.
On Facebook, supporter Fred Kwint writes:
We cannot let our brothers and sisters in Africa alone. Too many have paid with their life already! Too many are on the run, in hiding, living their life in fear.
…With Andrew in the hospital the work of GEHO needs to continue. There is need for water and food in the safehouses and the rent needs to be paid. We can't bother Andrew with that now, so PLEASE!!!!!!!! If you can afford it, HELP!
Another friend of Andrew and GEHO wrote on 12/11/13:
URGENT: Reportedly, in his absence while in hospital, Andrew's task of servicing and maintaining the safehouses for the clients, has been interrupted. Will you please consider lending a hand?On November 4th Andrew messaged me, “Things are pretty hard right now but we have no choice out, hard times can't last forever.”
The monies are necessary for rent, food, and utilities most importantly. There are no Government-based resources for them. They are treated and considered as criminals with nowhere to turn.
BREAKING--- VIA Fred Kwint:
"Just got a textmessage from *******. He does not want to bother Andrew with it, but the situation at the (GEHO UGANDA) safehouses is bad, they need money desperately. Would you help and spread the word?"
If you are able to donate, please go to the GoFundMe page for GEHO Uganda:
To find out more, visit their website: http://www.geho-uganda.org/
And their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/geho.uganda
-- Media --
"Indomitable activist" by Andrea Houston - Feb 14, 2013 - Daily (Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver)
"Stephen Fry ‘Out There’ about Gays in Uganda"
In this video British TV personality Stephen Fry examines the way gays are treated in Uganda and he confronts some of the prejudices that are widespread. Broadcast in the UK on BBC2 on 14 October 2013.
The part about Uganda starts at 17:32 but the whole video is excellent and related.
"Film explores role of US evangelism in Ugandan moves towards proposed 'kill the gays' law" by Joseph Patrick McCormick, 17th October 2013 and with film trailer:
UPDATE: February 19, 2014
Geho Uganda (Andrew Waiswa) just wrote:
-----"I have just been updated that President Museveni already signed the AHB commonly known as the Kill Gay Bill! The government is just delaying to make it known to the world. Now live with it, the AHB is now a law and legally am a criminal. Its a hardknock out here hey...!!!???? Lost n confused"Your help, love, solidarity and support is needed now. Some LGBT people there must seek refuge outside of Uganda to save their lives. Others are in safe houses when they can find them, and those need support now more than ever. Donate through this link: http://www.gofundme.com/6suykk Thanks! Please share
UPDATE: March 1, 2014
I am sharing this status by Geho Uganda to show why I have been asking for people to be involved, to donate, to do something to help LGBT people get out of Uganda.
Geho Uganda (Andrew Waiswa) wrote:
"Two suspected Gay men have been badly beaten by a mob and shameful dragged to Nansana Police Station. Reports coming indicate that they were undressed, forced to have sex in broad day light, they were only saved by one person who suggested that they be taken to police or else they could be dead by now. I will keep on following this developing story and share the details. This is the 17th attack in just 5days."
UPDATE: March 2, 2014
Geho Uganda wrote:
The struggle has been long and hard, many battles fought to stop the AHB right from the start. Unfortunately there were many forces in play behind the scene and it was signed into a law.
“I am a criminal not because of what I did but just because the law says so” Andrew Waiswa the founder of GEHO – Uganda, when he learnt that the President has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
“I can’t just believe we the gays have sacrificed for political gains in Uganda, how can reasonable people arrange evil for the homosexuals yet ignoring important issues affecting Ugandans like poor education, poor housing, bad lacks, health etc” Moses Kyala Independent Political Researcher.
Unlike other laws, The Bahati - Anti Homosexuality Act doesn’t have a designated commencement date, so it should be operational after it has been gazetted, which can be anytime, since President Gen. Museveni signed. Though no person can be charged under this Law since it has been gazetted, because of lack of rule of law in Uganda, the public/locals have taken the law in their own hands. The Anti-homosexuality act has a lot of support among the Ugandans, and the President has used it to gain a lot of support in preparation for the 2016 general elections where he will be standing for another 5years’ term (He has already been in power for 28years)
In the recent days, just after the president assented to the AHB, several LGBTq persons have been assaulted, arrested and detained. On Feb/25th a gay couple was attacked and one of them killed while the other is in critical condition in hospital. Hundreds of LGBTq Individuals have been thrown out of their homes by landlords and several have lost their jobs.
GEHO demands that the citizens of Uganda desist from radical and irrational acts of violence towards suspected LGBTq Individuals.
The Press, Media Houses etc should immediately stop negative reporting which has generated a lot of hatred and attacks on suspected LGBTq Individuals.
GEHO demands that Uganda should be isolated and we further support the move by donor countries to suspend aid to Uganda however they can still channel funds to NGOs working in Uganda and respect human rights irrespective of sex orientation.
GEHO further demands that the Uganda police and prisons investigate any cases of violence perpetrated against LGBT Individuals and holdback from making arrests based suspicion. Uganda is a signatory to International treats and in 2013 Geneva - Universal Periodic Review Uganda committed to protecting LGBTq persons. While assenting to the Bill, the President said that the country can’t be forced to do something “fundamentally wrong.”
Since it’s very clear that GEHO can’t not get support locally, we request the International community to support the LGBTq community Technically, Morally &financially, this support goes towards security issues and human rights abuses and violations.
To make a donation big or small to GEHO, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or donate via our secure online link http://www.gofundme.com/6suykk
UPDATE: March 4, 2014
GEHO Uganda wrote:
The world should know that some exposed and at risk LGBT Individuals are being attacked, killed, abused, blackmailed....more and more will die in cold blood is nothing is done to get them out of Uganda. If all join hands we can save this bloodshed