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Outed Ugandan activist: I would never flee my country, it is my home

Nick Duffy June 25, 2014

A gay Ugandan activist, initially denied entry to Canada over fears he would claim asylum, has said he would never flee Uganda.

Richard Lusimbo was one of a group of gay Ugandans due to attend WorldPride Human Rights Conference, who were initially denied entry over fears they would claim asylum.

They were granted a last-minute reprieve this month, following intervention by ministers.

Lusimbo, 27, told CTV yesterday: “When I applied for the first time, I was denied a visa.

“Uganda is home. It’s where my family is. It’s where my livelihood is. It’s where I’ve grown, and there’s a lot of work to be done.

“Leaving the country wouldn’t change the plight. Right now we have so many young people who are gay but can’t speak out. What’s going to happen to them if I left? It would mean no one would be representing them.

“The best way to contribute to my nation is to be there, and I feel as a citizen I have a right to be there and I also have a right to contribute to the development.

“I always say that, if anything was ever to happen to me… death or arrest, whatever it will be, that will be my time.”

Recounting his outing, he said: “I got a text from my friend, and she told me ‘honey, have you seen the news?’, and she told me to check out the newspaper.

“I was on the front page with the headline ‘how I became homo’… at first I just went silent, then I went to check my Facebook – it was full of hate messages, my inbox was full of hate messages, my phone wouldn’t stop ringing…

“What really shattered me was part of my family could not understand this. They did not understand I did not give this interview to the newspaper, and they just chose to out me.

“My high school, I was a head prefect, I did lots of stuff, and when I was outed they completely [erased me].”

More: activist, Africa, Americas, asylum, Canada, Canada, Gay, LGBT, outed, Richard Lusimbo, Uganda, Uganda, US, WorldPride

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