Uganda’s Constitutional Court struck down (on Aug. 1, 2014) the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 on a procedural technicality, unanimously ruling that the bill was passed in Parliament without a quorum. While this does not mean that Uganda has de-criminalized homosexuality — sexual minorities remain illegal under the 1950s penal code — it still represents a massive coup for LGBT activism in Uganda.
These photos were taken in January 2014, just a couple weeks after Parliament first passed the bill. Then, the LGBT community was preparing for the worst as they waited to see if President Museveni would sign the bill into law.
Activism organizations and other LGBT service providers rapidly began to close their offices and go underground, fearing persecution and violence. When the bill was signed into law the following month, many of the photos I took in January became unpublishable for fear of endangering the lives of the individuals pictured.
Now, Uganda's LGBT population is experiencing a reversal of what I documented earlier this year — at long last there's been an injection of hope and life into a strengthening human rights movement that has refused to be silenced in the face of increasingly harsh legislation.
Sexual health organizations and support groups are getting ready to reopen. The bars in downtown Kampala that used to have gay-friendly nights might return. And most symbolically, Kampala will see its third annual Pride celebration next week, on the banks of Lake Victoria.