We Have A Dream Global Summit Against Discrimination and Persecution, United Nations, New York City September 21-22 2011


Jacqueline Kasha

Jacqueline Kasha Nabagesera is the founder and Executive Director of "Freedom and Roam Uganda", one of the main lesbian, bisexual and transgender women rights organization in the country. She has being continuously fighting for the rights of the marginalized communities. Already at the age of 21, she engaged in the very “controversial” issue of gay rights in Uganda and started building a strong movement.

After being expelled from several schools, Kasha decided to study the law of Uganda and find a way forward. An accountant by profession, she has excelled in human rights advocacy and obtained a certificate in human rights law. For the past four years she has been speaking at international forums highlighting the plight of lesbian women in her country. Perhaps even more importantly, Kasha has had the courage to appear on national television in Uganda, becoming one of the first gay people to openly speak out. Similarly, she has issued press statements on behalf of the gay community, and spoke on several radio stations. At the High Court of Uganda, she also challenged the homophobic frenzy advocated by the media, when she and two others sued the tabloid Rolling Stone (Uganda), which on 2nd October 2010 called for the hanging of homosexuals. In general, Kasha has emphasized that international law should be respected. She has consistently invoked international covenants that Uganda has ratified and that the Government has failed to implement.

Many African countries have an environment that is extremely hostile towards LGBT issues, yet Kasha continues to work there. In 2007, she was brutally harassed at the World Social Forum in Nairobi after she spoke in front of 60,000 people about the respect and tolerance of homosexuals throughout the world. Later, for appearing in the media, she was again heckled, threatened and even attacked by various people. Since then, she has been shifting from house to house, afraid to stay too long in the same place. On 26 January 2011 one of her colleagues, gay activist David Kato, was murdered following the publication of a “gay list” by the tabloid Rolling Stone calling for their hanging; Kasha Jacqueline’s name also appears in this black list.

Kasha will receive the prestigious Martin Ennals Human Rights Defender Prize in October this year.

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