Looking for humanity in homophobic Uganda through the challenging eyes of photographer Daniella Zalcman.

Frank: “This bill will not change people. The government will not change people. But talking to people one on one, letting them see you are just like them… that will change people.”

I find these photographs quite difficult to look at – I suppose that’s part of the idea. Daniella Zalcman wants us to look at these people and to see beyond the stereotyping. We are also encouraged to feel what it must be like now that Uganda is forcing a significant percentage of its population to live double lives. Yesterday Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed the anti-homosexual act which criminalises homosexuality in Uganda legislating for long prison sentences (including life) for anyone convicted of committing homosexual acts.  Well done to Daniella Zalcman for these haunting images but even more well done to the brave people pictured here who are prepared to be seen and to speak out as their country descends into a new nightmare of intolerance. If we can spend a little time looking at these complex images, we might understand why the rest of the World needs to tell the Ugandan government that their decision is offensive to humanity and that we will act accordingly when making decisions about international aid.

Andrew: “I grew up not knowing that gay people existed, being tortured and very confused. At least now people know it is real, and they are talking about it. It shows that something is changing.”

John: And let us fight not because we will win today, but for future generations.” 
Akram: I know there’s a reason god created me like this. I have the guts to be both.” 

Moses: “This bill means going backwards, it means going back in the closet, it means going underground. And it affects everybody.”
Kasha: ” I know I can be killed. But I am not going to leave. We are stronger as a community.” 

Beyonce: “I want to say to the lawmakers, if you had a child like me, what would you do? Would you throw me away because of who I am?”

Brian: “When I was growing up I didn’t know many LGBT persons, so finding myself was a battle. … There’s been a lot of change, and now the rate of informed youths is so much higher. They know they aren’t alone.”

Isaac: “Homophobia comes from our homes. The best way to eradicate prejudice and teach our community is to try to make your family understand what it means to be gay.”

 Daniella Zalcman

To find out more about the admirable Daniella Zalcman, here’s a llink to her website:



My novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.

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