Research

“All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.”

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda

Our survey found a community in need…

In August 2016, MRF conducted a baseline survey to better understand the types and magnitude of challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda. The striking results depicted a population severely under served by health care providers, employers, and educators.

  • 85% surveyed were unemployed
  • 75% faced discrimination and have no shelter and food
  • 85% are being denied health services
  • 95% never belonged to any organization which means they lacked information, support, help, lacked human rights awareness and many things

… facing a crisis of access in education, health care, and employment.

The Constitution of Uganda states that, “all persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.” In addition, it specifically outlines that “a person shall not be discriminated against on the ground of sex, race, color, ethnic origin, time, birth, creed or religion, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability.” LGBTQ+ people, however, remain at risk of injustice because many lack an awareness of the rights they are afforded under local law. This challenge is especially exacerbated in rural communities by lower education levels.

The experience of LGBTQ+ people is one fraught with discrimination, stigmatization, and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Mob justice, human rights violations, inhumane treatment, and unequal access to basic human rights such as health care, education, and shelter are all too common.

Access to healthcare for LGBTQ+ Ugandans is often characterized by extreme stigma. Denial of service by health care providers has resulted in an increase of HIV infections, STD diagnoses and mortality rates. The experience is one opposed to that requirement “to never discriminate when providing service” stated in almost every heath care facility in Uganda. The outdated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-II), cites homosexuality as a mental disorder, and continues to be used to train health care workers in Uganda. This results in prejudice against LGBTQ+ people who are open with health care workers. Uganda’s HIV prevalence has been on the rise since 2005, unlike almost every other country in the world. Over the past five years the rate has increased from 6.4 to 7.3%continuing to discriminate against sexual and gender minorities will only make this figure continue to increase.

Employment discrimination also disproportionately affects members of the LGBTQ+ Ugandans. Many LGBTQ Ugandans are fired from work and expelled from schools and villages on grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These prejudicial practices have driven most LGBTQ youth into prostitution and drug abuse. Compounded by challenges in health care access, this increases the risk of acquiring HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.