MQBMBQ has launched Project Uganda, a print sale fundraiser in support of #Hashtagwhatnext, an organization created by the Ugandan photographer and human rights activist DeLovie Kwagala, aka Papa De. The organization directly supports LGBTQ+ people in Uganda in the wake of the passing of a shocking and inhumane anti-LGBTQ+ bill.
On May 2nd, this anti-LGBTQ+ bill was passed by Parliament, threatening a 20-year sentence for “promoting” homosexuality and life imprisonment and the death penalty for same-sex relations. “[The bill] is an erasure of our entire existence,” Papa De recently told The Guardian. “They have stripped us of every single human right.”
As a result, people have been robbed of access to their medication, housing, education, and employment. Hashtagwhatnext provides direct support in the form of bail for LGBTQ+ people who’ve been imprisoned, relocations to safer areas, emergency accommodation, medical fees, legal fees, and costs associated with visas and transport for those leaving the country.
The print sale is presented by the digital project My Queer Blackness, My Black Queerness (MQBMBQ) and features donations from ten leading photographers working internationally, including Papa De, Clifford Prince King, Ramie Ahmed, Luca Khouri, and more. All funds raised after printing and shipping will go to #Hashtagwhatnext to support LGBTQ+ people in Uganda who have been affected by the bill.
As many experts, including Papa De, have pointed out, homophobia is a western import, rooted in laws brought to Uganda by colonizers in 1950. “We have history in Uganda for queerness, for homosexuality,” they told The Guardian. “You know, Uganda used to be like the heart of queerness back in the day until all of that was erased.
“Imagine if I grew up in a space that reminded me that my queerness was rich, that my queer culture existed in those lands. Do you know how much childhood trauma that I would have surpassed?”
Papa De (previously) is the first openly non-binary queer photographer and social activist from Uganda. They created Hashtagwhatnext to share resources and information in the face of the crisis brought on by this bill. “No, I’m not ‘brave’ to put myself out here like this,” they wrote earlier this year. “I’m scared shitless. But even in fear, I will speak up because many of my people can’t.”
Get your print today via MQBMBQ. To support LGBTQ+ people in Uganda, consider making a donation to the Uganda LGBTQ Emergency Fund on GoFundMe as well; all funds will go directly to those affected by this bill.