26 LGBTQ Ugandans gathered for Christmas celebrations at Children Of The Sun Uganda (COSF). According to the Executive Director of the shelter Henry Mukiibi, this year was particularly challenging because most of the people staying the shelter wished they would be able to celebrate the day with their parents.
“I mostly miss my mother and sister but I can’t step foot in my father’s compound because he said he would take me to jail for being a transgender woman. He insists that he gave birth to a boy and that I should “quit my antics” if I ever want to be part of the family.” Says a member of the COSF shelter.
Henry Mukiibi the shelter Director narrates, “By Christmas Eve we really didn’t have any hope because we didn’t have enough funds to buy everything we needed especially matooke an important delicacy enjoyed across the country during such celebrations. The members had started feeling bad with some even considering going out of the shelter to do sex work so they could buy matooke, meat and soda.”
Henry is a bisexual family man and he was truly Santa, he says he dug deep in his pockets and shared from his own family’s Christmas budget. This meant his family had to do with less this holiday season. “I observed the situation and could see they were becoming more withdrawn as the day wore on, I had to dig down into my own family’s budget and buy what was needed at the shelter.”
According to a member of the shelter, “We have been eating posho and beans for a long time at times we don’t have cooking oil so we eat boiled beans and posho, the matooke and meat was a welcome change, yesterday I ate so much I thought I’d burst. What I thought would be a sad holiday turned out to be fun. We all cooked together, told jokes and danced.”