By Kasha Jacqueline*
The Kampala Court decision of 3rd January 2011 is crucial not just for the persons directly involved, like myself, but for the Ugandan LGBT community at large. Since 2006 many media vehicles and specially the tabloids have been attacking us systematically. For all these years people have been exposed to virulent discrimination and defamation but until now no measure has been taken to countervail these continuous waves of homophobia.
Over the years many persons who have been victims of the press did not stand up to claim for the rights because they were afraid of being further discriminated and stigmatized or even at risk of loosing jobs and the affection of family members.
But this time we felt the time was ripe to legally contest the stigmatizing discourses deployed by Rolling Stone and we won it. It is our belief that after this verdict other media houses – that may be planning to attack us for their own gains and benefits — will think twice before doing so.
In reacting to the court decision some people were not so positive because they consider that the financial compensation defined is very little and therefore the wealthy media companies will not care and will continue to attack and expose us. But I am confident because I do not think they are totally stupid to insist on this line of work after the verdict, because a sequence of lawsuits may compromise their financial gains. Most principally I am very glad with the verdict because it gives us a clear breathing space.
On the other hand we must be aware that there are many people who are not happy with this outcome and they will react strongly. We therefore must also be prepared to also resist and countervail these attacks. Last but not least the court decision does not mean that we can rest. The struggle continues, since it is worldwide known a monster to be killed still lurks at parliament level (click here for more details).
* Kasha Jacqueline is from the Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG)