A new advocacy group called Pride Uganda has officially launched which aims to support LGBTQ+ activists on the ground in the African nation.

The organisation will work closely with activists in the country to provide positive LGBTQ+ education, fight ongoing anti-LGBTQ+ violence, and campaign for equal rights and political reform.

It is illegal to be gay in Uganda with same-sex sexual activity punishable with life imprisonment for “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”.

Same-sex relations were commonplace and accepted in Ugandan society before the British Empire enforced anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the 19th century when they colonised the country.

Pride Uganda will support activists on the ground who will engage with homes, schools and churches to discuss the importance of LGBTQ+ rights and encourage acceptance through educating communities.

Pride Uganda’s team of activists will provide mentoring and counsel to those who have faced anti-LGBTQ+ violence and persecution, and co-ordinate with groups to provide them with resources and support to carry out their missions.

This team of activists will also advocate for political reform at the local and national level with the aim to repeal homophobic legislation.

“The Ugandan LGBT+ community is among the most stigmatized and persecuted in the world,” said one of Pride Uganda’s representatives, who must remain anonymous due to safety concerns. “We are witnessing increasing levels of harassment against LGBT+ people and those activists who stand up for their right to live freely.

“The abuse and marginalisation of Uganda’s LGBT+ community has been well-documented. Our campaign aims to share the underreported stories of fearless activists and what they are doing to respond.

“We have launched Pride Uganda because we dream for a country where no is persecuted for who they are or who they love.”

Pride Uganda aims to build partnerships with LGBTQ+ organisations across the globe to help raise awareness of their activists’ works, as well as fundraise to help support LGBTQ+ Ugandans.

It comes at a time where hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda is rife.

Earlier this year there was an escalation of anti-gay rhetoric in Uganda during the Presidential election, with homophobic sentiment exploited by politicians to win votes. This led to further violence and persecution towards LGBTQ+ citizens in the country.

If you’d like to learn more about Pride Uganda and donate to the cause, you can visit their official website here.