Bisexuality still remains a taboo in several countries including Uganda. Many people can barely distinguish the LGBTI acronyms because it is a wide assumption that being a lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual all mean that someone is implicitly 'gay'. Even within our own LGBT community, bisexuality is not fully acknowledged as an authentic sexual orientation. Bisexuality is when a person realises intimate attraction towards both the opposite and same sex. As part of the sexual and gender minorities, bisexual men are also liable to suffer stigma, discrimination and violence due to the impacts of Biphobia, which is the dislike or prejudice against bisexual persons or group. They are also considered to be "outcasts" not only in society but even within the LGBT community. This makes bisexual men feel like they live in a culture that doesn't acknowledge nor understand their existence.
Kilumira Hamid, a 40 year old Ugandan bisexual man narrated his ordeal to Gay Star News. While at university, Hamid kissed a guy that he thought was a good friend and felt the same way as he did. Unfortunately, it wasn't the way he had initially figured. "When he took it badly, he started spreading rumours and told everyone that I was disgusting. He promised he would only stop if I gave him money but it didn't work. He just wanted more and more money." To resolve this problem, Hamid went to the United Kingdom to earn the money that he could send to his blackmailer. It was later on that he made the decision and came out to his family. Raised in a staunch Muslim background, his family shunned him and cut off communication for 3 years. ( Gay Star News, 9th February 2018). This is just one of the experiences that bisexual men living in Uganda face due to intolerance and discrimination. The impacts are not limited to risks of blackmail and extortion, being outed to friends and family which can break up homes and ruin relationships, death threats through numerous random phone calls and text messages. An open bisexual man is prone to public verbal slurs and mob violence. The fear of such consequences force several bisexual men opt to live double lives or on the "down low" when they date or marry women for societal approval. The intense pressure to choose a sexual identity between being homosexual or straight contributes to mental health issues. Confusion, low esteem and lack of self worth can lead to depression, isolation and internal biphobia.
Within our LGBT community, bisexual men are perceived to be gay for monetary incentive. Should one decide to date or marry a woman, he is said to be gay parading as straight. We forget that some men just don't conform to the heterosexual or homosexual categories. There is a false ideology that bisexuality especially in men is often linked to polygamy since they are portrayed to be dishonest and promiscuous. Fact is bisexual men can be monogamous in any relationship they decide to commit, whether with the same or opposite sex. They also face a dilema in regards to health crises. Most bisexual men would rather identify as homosexual or straight when they consult with a doctor on STDs/ STIs due to biphobia. They are spooked about sharing their sexual lives and history with health providers. This is because they are afraid of being judged for their sexual orientation. Others get embarrassed and opt not to access health services at all which leaves a gap of unmet health needs for the bisexual men.
Denis Wamala, the Director of Programs at Ice Breakers Uganda expressed that the existence of boxes within the LGBT community is the one problem that hinders the growth of the movement in Uganda. He commented in Bombastic Magazine (2016), 'I hear so many people say “This is who I am attracted to, this is who I am, it’s my right,” in regards to sexuality and attraction yet this is the same rule that applies to bisexuality, you don’t choose or plan who you are attracted to at a time.' He recommended that the community needs to exist first as a group in our given free spaces before we grow to discover and identify ourselves as individuals without any gender or sexual gendering within us. As a result, this can tackle issues of biphobia in relation to bisexual men, encourage the recognition and understanding of bisexuality broadly as a genuine sexual orientation.