We are powerful because we have survived

Herbert Ayesiga Aug. 10, 2020

During Pride Month Icebreakers Uganda joined Sexual Minorities Uganda, Kakyo Project and Elesmond Production to engage in an online month long celebration. The main aim of the celebration was to encourage self-expression and also bring on several guest speakers, healers, educators and activists to engage with the LGBTIQ community. In the following article we want to introduce some personalities which we regard as very influential for us and whose activities can serve as a point of reference for further engagement for LGBTIQ rights.

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We featured a talented transgender woman Javan Hector Klaus who took us through a makeup and modelling session. She said, “Using makeup is not about becoming another person, I am already myself as who I am and I just want my body to reflect that! It is not like I'm suddenly changing from the person you have always known. This is more about me, reality and my willingness to explore who I have always been." Visit the link to see her runway and watch the interview in full length.

Our Community’s LGBTQ Icons

Our Communications Manager Samuel Tusuubira shared as thus, “An Icon is a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration. And with that background in mind, I for one have four people that I so regard as my symbols worthy of veneration and approval. And in a particular order in the way they have influenced my life in the community here they are:

Cameroon Kakande, aside from the fact that you have been a very good friend for over 7 or 8 years, you are the reason why I am now in service to the community. If it wasn’t for you and that fateful call you made to me that particular day in 2019 and your good recommendation, I would still be very naïve in all the things, facts, and people that I have gotten to learn and appreciate about our community. Your devotion, hard work, love, passion, resilience and service you offer to the community inspires not only me but a number of people out there. And for that , you're my forever number 1 LGBT Icon.

Elvis Herbert, allowing me the opportunity to join Icebreakers Uganda is one of the biggest turning points in my life and for that you are my number 2 LGBT Icon. I have learnt a tremendous deal about the community that I never knew existed and it’s all thanks to you. The hardest working person I know around is you and yet you’re not just working for yourself but for a better community through advocacy on HIV/AIDS, Mental Health (a program I have been a beneficiary of), Gender Based Violence, and Intimate Partner Violence and so on. Your charisma, energy, effort, endurance and nonstop vigor towards community service is so admirable and it has helped positively change many people’s lives. Elvis, you’re a blessing and my Icon.

Bob Bwana, I do not know where to begin or end my appreciation for you, you are my number 3 LGBTIQ Icon. The warmth with which you greet, handle and treat everyone is by far the most amazing I have ever experienced in my life. You never disregard or segregate, you’re a good listener, very patient with everyone, so understanding and you give the best advice which I think is the reason why you’re the first person everyone asks for when in the need of anything. Through you, I have learnt to practice humility, patience and open mindedness, so for that you will always be my solid rock Icon.

Phyllis Wanjiru, my mentor, inspiration, guidance council, friend and number 4 LGBTIQ Icon. Through your great command in advocacy through communication, you have been able to reach a vast range of both the community and society at large educating us through different campaigns, information follow, news and keeps us up to bit on what’s happening all around the world. Personally, you’ve been key in moulding me into the activist I am becoming and it’s pretty evident ever since our paths crossed and hopefully when I grow up, I would love to be like you. Thank you very much for the good service you do, it really is much appreciated and respected. And those amongst others are my Icons, though deep down, these are the four that have really been fundamental in my life during my service to the community and they continue to inspire me day in and out to fight for a better tomorrow.”

During Pride Month we observed World Menstrual Health Day, our Finance Manager Irene Nabatanzi said “Today we join the rest of the world in celebrating the flow of life and freeing the period. We are pushing for only period positive engagements and coming up with better ways of helping to manage the periods. Because there is nothing taboo about periods. In that spirit, we are normalizing talking about the periods BECAUSE the flow of life is such a beautiful thing.”

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Our peer educator shared with us his icon who is Somizi Buyani Mhlongo a South African television presenter, radio personality, choreographer, actor and singer. In 1992, he appeared in the musical and political film, Sarafina! which gained his prominence. Mhlongo became lead choreographer for numerous shows and events, including the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. “I choose him as my LGBT Icon for his resilience, boldness and for the fact that he has fully embraced who he is comfortably in his skin while effortlessly showing it to the world. He really does inspire a lot of us here that it is possible to be who you are no matter what society thinks of you. He is a voice to the very many voiceless.” ~ Bana, Icebreakers peer educator.

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My icon is Janet Mock. She quoted “I feel honoured and privileged for someone to look at me as a possibility for them to live the kind of life they would want to live” Jojo, Community member

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We also celebrated our founder’s birthday, in our tribute to Dr Frank Mugisha, we celebrated him for being an inspiration to us and wished him happier, healthy and vibrant years.

We wound up the month by paying homage to Sara Higazy an Egyptian gay activist who was persecuted for wearing the rainbow flag during a concert in Egypt. Due to the terrible violence she suffered in her country, she had to be exiled to Canada. “This is sad, this is really heart breaking to lose such a young, vibrant soul for a devoted human rights activist the late Sarah was. Many times we say, suicide is a cowardly act but no, we beg to differ. By the time someone decides to end their own life, it's a powerful way of saying "I am tired of all this and cannot take this suffering anymore”, said our Programs Director Herbert Ayesiga.

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- Rest in Peace