Supporting Parents With Gender Expansive Children In Uganda (SUPAGEC-Uganda)
Case # 1 ABC (Gender Dysphoria)
Case # 2 DEF (Hate)
Case # 3 GHI (Blackmail)
Case # 4 JKL (Lack of HIV Transmission Knowledge)
Case # 5 MNO (Accepting Mother)
Case # 6 PQR (Disowned by Parents)
Case # 7 STU (Abandonment)
Case # 8 VWX (Bisexuality)
Case # 9 YZ (Transgender Experiences in Education Institutions)
We are the Most At Risk Populations' Society in Uganda ( MARPS in Uganda). We were previously the Good Samaritan Uganda (GU). From 1997, we have worked with families dealing with the fact that some children " are boys but behave like girls" and others " are girls but behave like boys." We run a support project called: Supporting Parents With Gender Expansive Children In Uganda (SUPAGEC-Uganda). We hope to register this as an independent non-profit in Uganda later.
We have dealt with 2,100 cases of eviction and abandonment
We have dealt with 500 cases of community eviction
We have dealt with 1,278 cases of disowned children related to sexuality, orientation, gender, identity and health ( SOGIAH)
820 were males aged 17-23 years
200 were females aged 15-25 years
158 were males aged 24+ years
100 were females aged 24+ years
We have dealt with 270 cases of HIV
120 cases are persons aged 17-23 years; of these 30 are at their home with caring parents
20 cases are refugees
100 are persons aged 24-58 years
Supporting Parents with Gender Expansive Children
We have dealt directly with 370 parents who wanted to understand the terms Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, intersex, Queer and Questioning
The issues raised were:
1. Need to find specific information and resources
2. How to support the child
3. How to engage and conduct destigmatizing conversations with other parents
4. How to engage and conduct destigmatizing conversations with educationists
5. How to engage and conduct destigmatizing conversations with religious leaders
6. How to engage and conduct destigmatizing conversations with policy makers
7. How to engage and conduct destigmatizing conversations with other children
8. How to engage and conduct destigmatizing conversations with youth groups
9. To learn more about gender and how it impacts life
10. To be more effective in childrearing especially with children exhibiting gender expansive character
11. How to engage and conduct destigmatizing conversations with caregivers
12. How to engage and conduct destigmatizing conversations with employers
13. To hold national meetings
14. To meet professionals
At first, when parents find out their children are gender nonconforming or LGBTIQQ there is a feeling of betrayal and anger that rises in their minds. They question themselves and how they missed the signs.
We briefly share 9 case studies having the themes summarizing the cases we have dealt with since 1997-2017. We shall bring longer narratives about these cases in other blogs. It is not easy for us to do this work because we are not funded. Being that we also have beneficiaries living with HIV, we find it prudent to care for them than tying money to say, renting physical building offices and paying a large staff contingent. We hope that one day we shall be able to receive funding to develop all our activities into shareable report form.
Case # 1 ABC (Gender Dysphoria)
" A cousin of mine (who later turned out to be Transgender too) reported me to my father and mother. The next thing I knew was being called for a meeting. My father was paying for my school fees and he stopped. He abandoned my mother and sister. He shifted permanently and now stays at the home of the second wife. We are Muslims. I run away from home after another cousin tipped me off that my father and the clan had decided to poison me. They agreed that it was better to kill me than deal with the shame of being a Transgender."
Case # 2 DEF (Hate)
"A brother of mine reported me to our parents. It was while I was away and when I got back home, I was called by my father to a room we rarely used at home. I thought they were finally going to give me a room of my own. I was mistaken. Things happened so fast. Out of nowhere, hands grabbed and pinned me down to a bed. I was raped by two men who are my cousins for one week. After the rape, I was washed with herbs by another female cousin. This happened for a two weeks. All the while I was chained and locked in the room. My mother had pity on me and she secretly released me. She gave me money and I run away from home. I got HIV and became pregnant as well."
" I was living at the home of my boyfriend. He was living in the annex. His parents never suspected us and all the while they knew I was a student at Makerere University. We actually were both students there. One day, my boyfriend connived with the police and blackmailed me. He was promised money and I was imprisoned for initiating same sex relations with him. Later, I learnt that this was his way of getting rid of partners. He did it to three other boys and all of them paid money to get out of prison as well as not being shamed!"
" I got herpes zoster when I was 17 years old and had to be hospitalized. My mother, sisters and brothers asked what had happened to me. They inquired how I got HIV yet they have never heard me introduce a girlfriend. I told them it was a boy who infected me. At first everyone was shocked, but my mother prevailed. I was discharged from hospital after 3 weeks and now live at our country home. I am a member of a local Positive Living Support Group."
"My mother found three bottles of Gin in my room at one time and she took them away. She asked why I locked myself in my room sometimes for an entire day. She had word that I had a boyfriend and that we had broken up. She talked with me through my situation. I was surprised she had gone to length to understand what was going through my mind. She even told me she was the one who removed the three bottles of Gin! My mother has been supportive of me."
"I never revealed to my parents I had HIV. I found out I had HIV during my Senior Six vacation. I never had any boyfriend other than the one with whom I had sexual intercourse. It is the night sweats that prompted me to go for my test and when the results were returned, it was no shock to me. I took a taxi and went to my boyfriend whom I told about the results. He threatened to beat me and told me never to come to their home. He turned around and he went about telling anyone who would listen. He was a very popular late twenties well to do man then. So, I became a pariah. I was stigmatized and outed. I isolated myself, stayed home and it was not long before I developed TB. It was after I went into a comma that I was rushed to hospital. I stayed at the hospital for 13 months, after which I was discharged. When I got back home, it was a nightmare day and night. I had to move away and go live with a friend who enrolled me to a support club in Entebbe."
"My mother went through my phone texts and she came across love messages, most of which were graphic and exchanged or shared between many of my friends. We even had a Whatsapp group! The phone contact names were those of boys with their profile pictures attached. It did not take long for my mother to add up what all this was. She summoned and told me about everything. I could not deny anything and I told her that I was gay. She slapped me, I ran out of the house and never went back up to date."
"My wife is the one who reported me to my parents that I was gay. My parents disowned me because I am a bisexual man. After that I had to leave the house and Uganda. I am a father of 3 children and was a banking officer with a major international bank. I also had a boyfriend who also had a wife and two children. After my wife found out. I left my house, I had to resign and get my savings which I used to escape from Uganda."
"I am a Transgender, aged 26 years. I left university after students ganged up to beat me. Two students went further and told my parents. It is my sister who told me about this and also told me that our parents were so angry it would be better if I didn't go home immediately. I have never returned home for five years! "