Members of the LGBTI community in Uganda on Friday, 15/06/2012, convened at Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) offices to honor the memory of the late Thapelo Makutle and Joan Achieng Sandy Joan. Thapelo was a South African gay rights activist and transgender, who was murdered after an argument with his assailants about his sexuality and issues of homosexuality. After an argument in a bar they tracked him to his home and slit his throat. They left him covered with the blanket as if he was asleep.
Thapelo was a volunteer with LEGBO Northern Cape a gay advocacy group in Kuruman, South Africa.
On the same note, tthey took a moment of silence to pray for the soul of Achieng Sandy Joan, a Kenyan lesbian who committed suicide after her parents held her hostage in their home, cut her off from the world and allegedly married her off to an older man with the intent to impregnate her in a bid to change her.
Joan’s death came as the fourth case of suicide in the recent times after few months after a couple committed suicide, in Kisumu, Kenya.
LGBTI people in Uganda and Africa at large are persecuted, discriminated, forced into marriages by their families and physically attacked in the communities they live.
“It is us the Trans gender who are usually targeted and beaten up as we are mistaken for homosexuals. Our lives are constantly in danger. In the neighborhood, on the streets, we are always discriminated and persecuted.” Said Beyonce Tushabe, a Trans woman and Executive Director of Trans Equality Uganda.
Victor Mukasa called for unity and solidarity of all members of the community to cooperate and watch each other’s back. “Thapelo’s murder should be a wakeup call to all LGBTIs persons in Uganda. It is time for all of us to rethink and do what we are called to do… to defend the rights of LGBTIs in Uganda.” He said.
The Executive Director of FARUG, who is out of the country on official duty sent a written speech and she explored the gathering to pray for all those affected and infected with HIV/AID. She continued to say that we should not only mourn but also celebrate the live of those who have passed on. “We pray that the perpetrators of hate crimes will one day look into their hearts and replace hate with love. May their souls rest in eternal peace” said Kasha.
The gathering then went ahead to light candles and pray solemnly for the souls of Joan and Thapelo. Tearfully they prayed for the souls of all those who have suffered and lost their lives at the hands of homophobes in Africa and that God would touch the hearts of the persecutors, the politicians, religious leaders and fundamentalists who fuel the hatred and homophobia.
They shared security tips on how to protect themselves and each other from hate crimes, putting an emphasis on self respect, discipline and presentation in the community one lives…after all SECURITY BEGINS WITH YOU!