Ugandan LGBTI Youth form Drama Group to Counter Unemployment

1The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex youth in Uganda continue to defy the notion that the community is characterized by lazy, self-pitying individuals. To curb the issue of unemployment, a group of youth have come together and formed an alliance named Rainbow Mirrors.

Unlike most alliances within the LGBTI community, Rainbow Mirrors is neither an organization nor association; it is simply a group of youth who believe they can use their creativity and talent to address their financial woes as well as further educate the general community on what it really does mean to be a sexual or gender minority.

The group which currently consists of about 25 registered members mainly uses drama, poetry and music as their main advocacy tools. Abdu Jamal, a fearless transwoman who came up with the initial idea for Rainbow Mirrors and also doubles as the leader of the group says she thought this up back in March but due to lack of funds and proper organization, the idea did not materialize till August this year.

She says the idea first came to her after the realization that the majority of LGBTI identifying youths were either dropping out of school or unemployed yet they were immensely talented. She realized that if they came together and put their talents to use, they could earn a decent living as well as be able to advocate for their rights while changing attitudes at the same time.

For their first major show, Rainbow Mirrors is producing a play titled ‘Behind the Closet’ and it will to screen at Grand Global Hotel on 10th December 2015. Instead of begging for funds, it has been decided that this play be a way of raising funds for the young drama group.  Tickets will be going for Ugshs 5,000 for the general seating, Shs 20,000 for VIP, Shs 50,000 for platinum and Shs100,000 for a table.

The play scripted by Brian Nkoyooyo covers most of the issues that continue to affect the youths in the LGBTI Community and possible solutions to avert these. Abdul says she hopes people will turn up in big numbers and help raise money for future productions as well as the day to day running of the group activities.

Asked what they are doing to survive financially at the moment, Abdul explains that so far, members have been using personal resources but it is taking a toll on them. “Most of the members of Rainbow Mirrors are unemployed and of course cannot continue to sacrifice their little resources for the group. We are working on proposals and hopefully, this financial stall will be a thing of the past very soon,” she explains.

Abdul also stresses that they are not only in need of financial assistance but moral, professional and material support. “We are just starting out and we are humble enough to realize that we will need a lot of guidance, whether it is in production or in any other form. We call on all well-wishers who are willing to help us in any way possible to get in touch with us,” he retorts.

Collectively, the members of Rainbow Mirrors hope to use the exposure as a career advancing platform as well as make ends meet and defy the stereotype that all LGBTI identifying youths are on a road to self-destruction.

To contribute to the production of Behind the Closet or Rainbow Mirrors, please contact Abdul Jamal through his facebook page.

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