28 year old Peter Katende is not a stranger to Uganda’s LGBT community. While most heterosexuals do not associate with sexual and gender minorities (and the few who do keep their association secret), some people have stepped over these boundaries and in more ways than one, become a part of this marginalized community
Peter who was born and raised in Kampala is a boda boda rider (motorcyclist) and his job is what introduced him to the community. What started as being one person’s go to boda guy has now taken him to a world he, like many others, thought was nonexistent. He now prides himself in having some of his closest friends and clients come from Uganda’s LGBT community.
Peter says initially, many people did not trust him but he could understand why. Almost six years later, the mistrust issues have vanished and he considers himself a wholesome part of this community has taught him a thing or two.
He has over the years demystified most of the notions forefronted by Ugandans in regards to LGBT persons; in fact he says some of the most intelligent and hard people he knows are LGBT persons. He now wonders why people continue to discriminate others basing on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. “I am now not bothered by anyone’s gender identity or sexual orientation because that does not make them any less human. Someone’s sexuality does not define them,” Peter asserts.
In February 2014, the President of Uganda H.E. Yoweri Museveni signed the antigay bill; Peter clearly recalls many of his Kuchu friends going into hiding during this time. He also became a target as some of his peers planned to waylay him; they in turn hoped Peter would lead them to different LGBT persons that they would arrest.
“Despite these threats, I stood firm and left it all to God. I told them that no matter what, I wouldn’t people who had grown to be my friends,” he recalls.
Peter has also been insulted on several occasions for his friendship with LGBT persons but he refuses to let homophobes dictate who his friends will be. He also said he is very proud to know the community in an intimate way; he acknowledges that these connections have opened doors for him and he has even gone to places he never would have gone had he not remained open minded about sexual and gender minorities.
Peter opened up about many aspects of his life pertaining to his relationship with Uganda’s LGBT community and below is the full interview