Sappho Islands: LGBTI bar opens in Kampala

Strength comes out of struggle and Uganda’s Kuchu community now have an open space where they can gather together and just share their lives. Val Kalende of FARUG explains the importance of Sappho Islands to the community in Kampala…..

I have lived among LGBT communities for the past eight years and I know how much having a social life means to LGBT folks. I have learned from listening to people’s stories that sometimes anti-gay laws are not what LGBT persons are most concerned with. They are concerned about being able to meet people like themselves, laughing and forgetting their daily struggles even for a single time. I have been to LGBT social evenings and seen how folks do not want to go back home after the party is over. They value the only time they can be happy and have a good time.

I still get excited thinking about it. Sappho Islands. Yes, the great lesbian Greek poet has come to town. I last took a beer during theOctober of 2008. This is probably when I last went out to a bar to drink. Most of my friends are socialites and I respect that. Being a Born-Again Christian has made me look at my life differently but I am not the kind of conservative Christian who thinks what I do not do automatically becomes evil if other people are doing it. This is why I still hung out at bars with my friends if I have to. My reason for quitting beer was basically because I have never liked drinking. I don’t like the taste and I have never had a genuine reason to take alcohol.

The opening of Sappho Islands is to me a political statement. Looking how far we have come, I cannot ignore the fact that the Stonewall revolution in the U.S.A sparked off from a bar. When I first heard about Sappho Islands, I saw progress. I celebrated change.

Links:
SMUG [Sexual Minorities Uganda]
FARUG [Freedom & Roam Uganda]