This year, All Out is partnering with an LGBTQ group called Isange Rwanda to raise enough to cover all the costs for the first ever Pride Rwanda. For most LGBT+ people in Africa, Pride celebrations are a protest against government brutality, anti-LGBTQ+ laws, and hate crimes. They are also a precious moment of community building. LGBTQ people use Pride events to say ENOUGH and to find strength by coming together.
“Pride gave me the confidence to believe in myself, come out of the shadows, and fight for my rights. It is such an empowering opportunity for us to stand together in solidarity especially here in Uganda, where we face some of the harshest anti-LGBT+ laws and discrimination in the world. It gives us the strength to keep fighting. That’s why I was so excited to hear that LGBT+ activists in Rwanda, one of our neighboring countries, are working hard to organize the very first Pride Rwanda. I call upon the global solidarity of the All Out movement to support these brave activists, just like you have supported us.” Isaac Mugisha Pride Uganda Coordinator.
All Out members have funded Pride Uganda three times. This global show of support means so much to the LGBTQ community here – and has a real impact on the work that we do.
Albert Nabonibo the brains behind the first Pride Rwanda says, “They told me that I didn’t belong, that I was crazy and should be ashamed. They asked me how I can sing for God, if God does not accept me? I spent much of my life building up a successful career as a gospel singer in Rwanda. In 2019, I came out as a gay man and my world was turned upside down. Suddenly, my story was making headlines around the world. While some people on the internet praised my decision, here in Rwanda it was devastating. Friends disowned me and refused to talk to me. Some said they were in “agony” over the news. I was terrified I was going to lose my job… or worse.”
I was lucky. I found a local LGBTQ community of beautiful, vibrant, and inspiring people who look out for each other. But so many of my queer siblings in Rwanda don’t have this kind of support and don’t feel safe enough to come out. That’s why we’re trying to pull off something historic: the very first Pride celebration in Rwanda! This will be a life-changing chance to show LGBTQ people in Rwanda that they are not alone and that our lives should be celebrated – not forced into the shadows. We want to put a special twist on this important event. In addition to events around connection, celebration, and education, we’ll also have a soccer match as a way to bring one of our country’s most popular sports into Pride. Everyone loves a good soccer match here and it will help show that LGBTQ people are just like other Rwandans. –Albert Nabonibo