Although Pride started as a riot and sometimes it is important for us to remember that especially during times of injustice like the continent spread lesbian massacre that is happening right now; it is also important to celebrate our journey. LGBTQ+ persons have come from a time of medical discrimination where we cannot access health care to setting up our own facilities to cater to our specific health needs.
We had a conversation with Brian Aliganyira Masinde. the Team leader at Ark Wellness Hub; a holistic clinic set up specifically for LGBTQ+ persons to tend to their physical and mental health. Brian started as a peer educator with Ice Breakers Uganda in 2009 and in 2015 started Ark Wellness Hub to cater for clients on the opposite side of town that struggled with the journey to Ice Breakers.
The name Ark was chosen from the Bible story of the Ark of Noah that was inclusive and welcomed on board all that came to it; wellness is a holistic term to mean they offer all services from physical to mental health to ensure clients leave the place WELL. Ark Wellness Hub has been designed in such a way that even if the particular service required by a client isn’t provided, they make referrals and follow up to ensure the client was helped to their satisfaction. It also offer a safe space for individuals to partake in personal wellness activities for example if one has a personal therapist but they do not have a safe space to meet with them, Ark Wellness offers a space to do this for free. They also have a full time medical doctor and two on call psychologists.
The uniqueness of our health needs is undoubted and while the whole world feigns ignorance masking homophobia, spaces like Ark Wellness Hub are stepping up to close this gap. This Pride, unlearn everything you have heard about hospitals or start to heal from the trauma that hospitals have caused. There are now facilities purposely for you, you are home now.