Bénédicte Desrus

Documentary Photographer + Photojournalist
     
The persecution of homosexuals in Uganda
Location: Mérida, Mexico
Nationality: French
Biography: Bénédicte Desrus  is a documentary photographer based in Mexico.  She is represented by Sipa Press USA  and has worked throughout Europe, East Africa, the United States and Latin America. She focuses on humanitarian... read on
Public Story
The persecution of homosexuals in Uganda
Credits: bénédicte desrus
Date of Work: 12/31/69 - 12/31/69
Updated: 02/02/21
Location: Kampala, Uganda

THE PERSECUTION OF HOMOSEXUALS IN UGANDA



Uganda has criminalized homosexuality for over a century. Yet today, one of the most punitive laws against homosexuality ever conceived threatens the lives of the country’s gays and lesbians.  Ugandan legislator David Bahati, a member of the United States-based fundamentalist Christian group The Family, introduced the law in parliament. If passed, it could lead to the execution of people who have gay sex more than once, the imprisonment of heterosexual people who fail to turn gays and lesbians over to the police, and the abolition of all organizations that support LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights. 


The possible passage of the law hangs like a Damocles sword over the LGBT community in Uganda. Each day that no decisive action is taken to throw out the bill, it encourages homophobia to spread and allow political and religious leaders to scapegoat the LGBT community for society’s ills and their own personal gain. Hundreds of men and women have already been “outed” by tabloid newspaper in Uganda. Their names, photos and adresses are regularly published under headlines such as “More homos faces exposed” and “Men of Shame”.


I started this project to tell the stories of LGBT human rights defenders living and working in this environment. There is, for example, Auf Usaam Mukwaya, a 26-year-old gay man who has been involved in gay rights activism for years. Consequent to that, he has been arrested and jailed twice, and harassed and threatened by neighbors after being outed in a local paper and identified by name and picture on television. Part of my work document his story of enduring prejudice, discrimination and loss. A story shared by most of the LGBT community. This draconian new law, if passed, is tantamount to a death sentence for all of them.


By contrasting images of this community with photographs depicting the increasingly hostile environment in which they live, I aim to honor the bravery of those who have decided to fight against the bill while others look away. If the bill passes, persecution against the LGBT community will increase. Yet this bill has also strengthened the Ugandan LGBT community’s solidarity and its struggle to continue fighting for equality.


This story is not only about being LGBT in Uganda, but also about the common struggle for equality for the LGBT community globally. 

238

Also by Bénédicte Desrus —

VISUAL STORY

When I grow up

By Bénédicte Desrus / Mexico — When I Grow up For one year, I photographed my 4-year-old son Thiago, as part of a project titled ..
VISUAL STORY

• Portraits

By Bénédicte Desrus / World
VISUAL STORY

Dandora

By Bénédicte Desrus / Nairobi, Kenya — DANDORA   Located near slums in the east of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the Dandora dumpsite is one of..
VISUAL STORY

Madiaba Busaa Club

By Bénédicte Desrus / Nairobi, Kenya — MADIABA BUSAA CLUB   Busaa , a local Kenyan beer, is sold at hundreds of tiny bars throughout slums in..
VISUAL STORY

The Women of Casa Xochiquetzal

By Bénédicte Desrus / Mexico City — THE WOMEN OF CASA XOCHIQUETZAL Have you ever thought about what happens to sex workers when they get old?..
VISUAL STORY

Dreaming big

By Bénédicte Desrus / Mexico City — DREAMING BIG In Mexico, the first and only women’s national ice hockey team, the Selección..
VISUAL STORY

Keep Moving

By Bénédicte Desrus / Mexico City — KEEP MOVING Meet Baruch, who, at eighteen, is one of Mexico's best young footballers. Two years ago,..
VISUAL STORY

Where the blood goes

By Bénédicte Desrus / Mexico City — WHERE THE BLOOD GOES Inside the Life of Mexico's Pioneering Forensic Cleaner Meet Donovan Tavera,..
VISUAL STORY

Globesity

By Bénédicte Desrus / World — • GLOBESITY Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally. The number of overweight and obese..
VISUAL STORY

The devastation caused by injecting foreign substances for cosmetic purposes into the body in Mexico.

By Bénédicte Desrus / Mexico City — HUMAN ADJUVANT DISEASE The devastation caused by injecting foreign substances for cosmetic purposes into..
Join us
for more access