When the idea to start a media platform for Uganda’s LGBTI community was tabled, many remained skeptical but still, were eager to share their stories and get their first hand experiences to the world. One year and ten months later, the said platform (Kuchu Times) founded by Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera has gone on to defy the odds. With meager resources to work with, the dedicated team of eight has persisted and today boosts of 2,023,444 visits on the site with an average of 633 visits daily.
These numbers have been accumulated by approximately 328, 161 visitors with most hailing from Uganda, China, United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Canada, and Ukraine in that order.
In this period, Kuchu Times has published 539 articles with most encompassing the lived realities of LGBTI Ugandans. The media site which is comprised of a website, radio and TV station uses written content as well as videos to bring to the forefront, the issues about the LGBTI community, that the mainstream media continues to ignore if not report negatively.
They have also published two issues of Bombastic Magazine and are working to have a third issue published early next year. The annual publication is a way through which LGBTI persons share with the public their concerns, plights as well as what policy makers refuse to make known about gender and sexual minorities.
It is very difficult to find spaces to sensitize and create awareness about LGBTI issues as that is considered promotion of something termed as criminal. The few spaces available like radio and television talk shows are always there to instead degrade the activists in attendance and expose them to all kinds of abuses from both the anti-gay guests and the callers into shows.
In print media the price is over billed for LGBTI activists to put any statement. The media council has a gay guideline to all media houses on how to deal with LGBTI issues thus they could face closure like in the past where some have been fined for hosting LGBTI persons ,hosts suspended etc. The media has been very influential in creating a very hostile environment towards the advocacy and sensitization work of LGBTI and human rights defenders fighting for sexual rights in general.
While there are several setbacks especially in terms of resources, the Kuchu Times team is dedicated to continue fighting discrimination that is based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity as well as create awareness by sharing life stories of LGBTI persons with policy makers, health providers and the general public.
Our dream is to see sexual minorities included in health policies, and equipping the general public and LGBTI community with useful information and knowledge. In the end, if non-discriminatory laws and policies are put in place and functional systems that hold human rights violators accountable are enforced, then we will have made the impact we set out to achieve.
Until then, may we continue to grow as a movement as well as support one another. Thank you for being a part of Kuchu Times’ journey and continuing to share your lives with through us. Aluta Continua!