Openly Gay American Settles in Uganda to Help Fight HIV Epidemic
Not many people will take the risk of taking up residence in a strongly homophobic country like Uganda but not Erik Friedly. Openly gay and married to a Kenyan, Friedly has set up roots in Uganda and has not let the harsh laws divert him from the very reason that made him leave his home California in 2012. A Communication Specialist, Friedly was posted to Uganda as a Health Communications Specialist for Disease Control and Prevention in the fight against HIV.
Friedly says he is honoured to be part of the team making a difference especially concerning HIV; he retorts that while getting infected with HIV was regarded as a death sentence in most African countries, sensitization and measures put in place to help fight the epidemic have greatly helped in curbing the rate of infections.
Friedly admits that living in Uganda as an openly gay man is not always easy and there are moments when discomfort sets in as he can’t go about his life as normally as he would love too. However, he says his husband is more settled in as he is accustomed to the African attitude towards homosexuality. The couple has now stricken a balance and goes about their lives without fear since he has protection as a diplomat.
Having previously worked in Cameroon, Mali and Haiti, Friedly did not have a hard time settling in Uganda. He is instead disturbed by the fact that most essentials in Uganda do not operate as they should for example the unreliable power supply, constant water cuts, and the inarguably terrible infrastructure.
He talked to his blogger friend Jay Croft.