As we anticipate the release and distribution of the next edition of the Bombastic Magazine, we will document and share stories from our readers on their experiences with the magazine in a series that we have named The Chronicles of Bombastic Magazine. Today, Qwin shares her incredible story.
For those of us who have been around for over a decade in our Kuchu community, recounting the journey and impact of Bombastic Magazine to our community comes with a bitter sweet smile.
Back in 2008-2009 when I was struggling with fully coming out of the closet one of my greatest fears was my photo or face showing up on the front cover of Uganda’s tabloids.
That was the norm back then and still continues to be but it was never anything positive.
I recall my walks on Kampala road looking at all the kuchu faces plastered with those bold headlines “Top 100 Homosexuals.”
Outing people by the mainstream was their daily norm and I bet their sales sky rocketed but they never took a moment to ponder on the life endangerment of LGBTQI folks.
TV stations weren’t any different.
I remember this specific scenario in 2011 where I was watching news with some family members and A High Court judge in Uganda had ruled that the tabloid Rolling Stone violated the civil rights of the gays and lesbians whose pictures they published, with the headline “Hang Them.”
It was a win for us but the comments flying around in the room were heartbreaking and a lot of them were based on what they had heard from the mainstream tabloids and all the misinformation these newspapers were spreading.
So you can imagine with a dooming history like this how relieved our community was when Bombastic magazine was introduced in 2014!
Finally we could get our stories, realities, life, struggles and the never shared successes told by us!
Finally we had a platform where we were not to be demonized again by the mainstream!
Finally our community was not to be gagged and spoken for by biased homophobic reporters.
I recall when the first magazine was published.
A second edition, a third, fourth! We were speaking out and our voices penetrated across districts and crossed country borders. I recall carrying copies to Kenya during my internship at UHAI and they disappeared in the first three days of my arrival.
I even carried some copies to the USA in 2016 during a convention and Activists from across the globe wanted a copy.
My most memorable experience with Bombastic Magazine was in 2015 when I volunteered for the distribution. Yes I was worried about being lynched and being arrested during the distribution but it was worth it. My team was sent to Western Uganda and I recall the excitement and enthusiasm some of the boda boda men and locals had as we gave out copies. Damn we even gave copies to the RDCs and police! Kudos.
But reality was not all went smoothly, some people spat at and chased us and others.
I recall heading back on the bus with such a smile of contentment.
2016 the issue was celebrating LBQ voices, advocacy and relationships. Julz (my partner) and I submitted a story about our relationship and the feedback was amazing. Finally we could share real rainbow relationships.
Bombastic magazine is not just an LGBTQI magazine, it is a platform! Our platform where we get to share with the outside world who we truly are. It is that microphone where we are able to educate, inform and shred away all the misinformation that has been spread about our community.
It’s THE podium where we are able to share the injustices committed towards us and advocate for change.
But most importantly, Bombastic Magazine continues to be a bonding factor for my community. Unlike in the past, new members now have archived copies to learn about the community and it’s members, to learn of existing resources and where to find them. The testimonies I have heard from all the young and newly out of the closet members who felt seen, represented and could relate to the shared stories an boda d poems through Bombastic Magazine is one out of the thousand reasons as to why the magazine is a thriving hub for our Kuchu community!