In February 2014, Cleopatra Kambugu experienced this first hand, when the Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper published personal information about 200 LGBTI people in Uganda. Cleo was one of them, who had her picture and personal information printed on the front page.
This week's episode covers discrimination against LGBTI people in Uganda. Cleo is invited to a secret meeting with the Ugandan government to prove that she's real. In the episode I search for an answer to the question of why it's so hard for people to accept anything that doesn't fit into society's norms.
Homosexuality. Abortion. These two unrelated "buzzwords," "hot topics," "controversial issues" evoke strong reactions and emotions whenever and wherever mentioned. It is my belief the day is coming when they will be connected in ways we never thought possible. I have been on both sides of each of these issues.
Britney was there for me when my father and stepmother sent me to rehab for being too gay. Her personal struggles before and after the ensuing years helped me as I readjusted back to school and into college. I didn't care if she shaved her head. I just wanted her to be okay and yes, just wished everyone would leave her alone.
TLC has the right to air controversial shows, as adults who feel same sex attraction have the right to live the lifestyle that they deem best for them. But it is critical that we as a society step up and speak out against theories and practices like gay conversion therapy.
My bargain with the devil has plagued me for almost 40 years. But now I feel renewed. It is time that all homosexuals heed Gina Miller's words and 'fess up. Reveal your own "dark and perilous" truths!
In the fourth episode of The Pearl of Africa, a documentary series about love, hate and being transgender, we get a glimpse into what Cleo and Nelson's relationship really means. They've loved each other since high school and plan to get married in the future, and Cleo grapples with the desire to start a family.
As Americans revel in equality gains, we cannot forget that as LGBTI people, we are all members of a persecuted global minority with a responsibility towards one another, regardless of who we are or where we live.
Commencing in the first few minutes with tender lovemaking, the film quickly changes focus and concentrates on Isa's fruitless phone calls to various sperm banks everywhere from Munich to Hamburg.
I will no longer be so easily influenced by the "experts" who flood the media with the answers to everything. I will cut through the noise and rely more on my own thoughts than the ocean of other opinions that surround me.
We have to encourage our gay friends and each other to value ourselves more, not to succumb to the easy temptation of quick, cheap ego boosts that will actually set us back socially, for we are not just satisfying sexual cravings when we indulge down-low men but committing self-betrayal and hypocrisy.
Cleo's story takes us into a rarely seen love story within the Ugandan LGBTIQ-community.
What tests my patience, what troubles me beyond all else, is our propensity for pointing the finger at others while ignoring our own flaws. The truth is that the U.S. is not yet at a point where it can self-righteously condemn others for their intolerance toward LGBT people, at least not with a straight face. Someday we will get there, and we will lead by example. But not today.
If human rights abuses really were the metric by which we decided on trade and travel, the U.S. should be banning Americans from visiting our staunchest allies and our most popular vacation spots (including much of the Caribbean, where homosexuality is illegal, though it's not illegal in Cuba). It would literally be much of the globe.
Dating websites are for dating, not for finding people who want someone to grab dinner with every now and again or who need a ride to the airport at holiday time. I have those people in my circle, and I'm already not getting flowers and sex from them.
In the second episode of The Pearl of Africa, I take you deeper into Cleo and Nelson's life, showing something that's rarely highlighted when talking about transgender people in Uganda: their love, their hope and their dreams.