The Story Free Self Expression in all Spheres of Life is published under the theme/series What does Equality Mean to Us? LGBTI Ugandans Speak out for Equality. Click the theme for similar stories

This individual did not want their face shown, because he said that someone might associate them with the Gay Pride parade and in his words- ‘God knows what shall happen to me…’ When we asked him if attending and celebrating Gay pride in Uganda was not a form of freedom of expression- He thought about it for a while and then nodded and said; ‘Yes, Iam happy to be here with the LGBT community and allies, But why do we have to hide on a secluded beach if we are proud'?
We should be able to go to the streets and freely express who we are to the rest of the community, how will they know we exist and are ‘normal’?. In essence- He was right; the constitution protects our right to freely express ourselves in all spheres of life. The Constitution of Uganda; Chapter 29(1) Guarantees that; Every person shall have the right to: - (a) freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media: (b) freedom of thought, conscience and belief which shall include academic freedom in institutions of learning; (c) freedom to practice any religion and manifest such practice which shall include the right to belong to and participate in the practices of any religious body or organisation in a manner consistent with this Constitution; (d) freedom to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peacefully and unarmed and to petition; and (e) freedom of association which shall include the freedom to form and join associations or unions, including trade unions and political and other civic organisations.
It was clear  that this is his deepest desire as a Ugandan is to be free to express himself, not in a way that would harm anyone- But in a way that would make him less afraid. When asked why he did not want his face shown- yet he had such a powerful and confident response to what equality means to him, He simply said- ..‘my rights are suppressed everyday, How would exposing myself make it any better? We do understood his stand point, there is a level of safety in the ‘closet’ and not actively/publicly demanding for your rights.  One wonders though, wasn’t remaining silent about things that make you feel less human, one of the worst forms of suppression ? - Especially if the law guarantees you the right to freedom of expression?

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