It is a month today since the decision by the NGO Bureau to halt the operations of Sexual Minorities Uganda(SMUG). SMUG being an umbrella network of all LGBTQAI+ serving and led organizations, this decision has had a negative ripple effect throughout the community. The past one month has been one full of uncertainty and anxiety as unfortunately along with the closure of SMUG came an influx of myths targeted at spreading hate against gender and sexual diverse persons.
We spoke to our correspondent from Masaka region on the effect this closure has had on the community and this is what she had to say.
“It was on a sad note that we received the news regarding the closure of SMUG because there are a number of activities MSUG has ben carrying out that save lives that have since stopped. Although SMUG was not carrying out the outreaches themselves, the closure of SMUG has created panic among the willing health workers whose willingness to provide services to Key populations has reduced. Even in cases where the health workers are willing, the closure of SMUG has brought self stigma and insecurity that makes key populations afraid to seek for help. There is no way to achieve the health goals set by the country if some groups of people are going to be left
The only way we can overcome the health barriers is to be inclusive and that also means removing laws that structurally marginalize certain groups of people.