Posted in Miscellany

*Love in Uganda

In Uganda the most important part of the marriage ceremony occurs before the wedding, as the girl introduces the boy to her parents. After that, the couple is considered family. It is a traditional ceremony, older than the church or mosque service, a joyful rollicking revered and long remembered party.

Astonishingly, a gay couple came out to their parents and had an introduction ceremony in Uganda. It is astonishing because this is a country so homophobic that there is currently a bill in parliament, likely to be passed, which makes any homosexual activity a criminal offense, subject to things like life imprisonment. Even knowing that someone is gay, without reporting it to the police, brings with it a few years in jail.

Yet two people who loved each other, and their parents, had the audacity, the courage, the love, the fearlessness despite the fear they must have felt, to secretly invite friends to a compound guarded by hired police, have food and drink, laughter, jokes, music, and then the boy came out to introduce the boy he loved to his parents.

Nobody knew what was coming. The guests were invited to the ceremony, many of them gay, assuming it was the usual thing. In Uganda gay men marry women as they did here fifty years ago. They have to cover up who they are.

For the first time ever, the guests witnessed two men complete an introduction ceremony. They are considered family. Their parents supported them. Then the crowds came, pressing against the fence and walls, rumours flying, police unable to keep them back. Guests snuck out and fled.

The loving couple, for now, are fine. They must have done this, not only for themselves, but for others. Someone took a step, despite the law, despite the fear all around them.

Love is bigger than that.

Full story here.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

9 thoughts on “*Love in Uganda

  1. Wow, that was brave. I tend to think that homosexuality is least tolerated in countries that still hold to a warrior culture. The more men are required for pure aggression, and love is considered something sissy that womenfolk do, then the harder it is to accept. This hugely misunderstands homosexuality, but that would be the point, in some way.

    1. Litlove, that’s an interesting observation. And warrior cultures often elevate masculine, ie brotherly love. But what about ancient Greece? There women had few rights and were confined to private space, but the saying was “a woman for reproduction, a boy for love.” On reflection that’s consistent with what you wrote, since love wasn’t considered feminine territory. Only baby-making.

  2. Oh that just made me tear up. What a brave couple. I hope the world changes soon so that courage such as that is no longer necessary and people can just be with whoever they love

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s