Of countries embracing and touting LGBT rights and achievements for ‘liberal
credentials’ and to distract from human rights abuses in other spheres.
Pink-washed HIV programming; Of countries, companies, NGOs
and even individuals cosmetically embracing HIV prevention and care programming
for (gay men) MSM, transgender women (and Sex workers, Injection drug users;
the Key Populations in HIV epidemiology)
They all seem adorable and commendable, no? But, like white
wash, it is cosmetic, shallow, for purely, and coldly pragmatic and political
reasons. In short, we queer people are being taken for a ride. And, please, do
not be so lacking in self-respect and needy of attention to believe that our
rights trump all others and intersectionality doesn’t matter. If they can’t
respect rights for all, have no doubt. There is no real respect of us queer
Uganda is shining example.
truncated history; Knowledge of HIV/AIDS in Uganda broke as ‘slim disease’
in early 1980s.
It spread like wildfire. Our people died. Few families
didn’t lose at least one person. Sons, daughters, parents, cousins. Aunties,
uncles, grand parents.
At first, with no drugs, HIV programming was by proxy. Fear.
And, then came the moralists. Abstinence from Sex. Being
faithful to one partner. Condoms were
problematic; the idea that sex outside marriage could be made ‘safer’ was
horrifying. So, condoms were downplayed. Oh, un-officially, people were
careful. Officially…., no condom programming. God help us, not to anyone under
But, Global Fund
insisted on need for programming for key populations. Including gay men,
transgender women, people who inject drugs, and sex workers. So, programming
was done, on the hush. Ugandans are hyper moralists. Mere mention of the existence
of stigmatised key populations is not kosher. Little issues like
importation of condom-safe, water based lubricants were papered over…. The
public was indignant that anal sex could be made safer…., The official refrain,
money for HIV programming is going to be held up, if we don’t do any
programming for these despised, despicable but vulnerable HIV key
populations. Inquiries in parliament dumbed down.
Come 2018, 22nd November.
But, that was parliament. Government needs to do its own
thing. Time for a good distraction.
“Lokodo targeted our Acting Programs Director Richard
Lusimbo who after lots of research and preparation was supposed to give a
presentation about "Using Rights Evidence and Action to support HIV among
Most At Risk Populations" We still have lots of work to do to ensure
Lokodo understands HIV and it's connection to most at risk populations
including key populations in Uganda. He is clearly not well informed but also
defying science which is unfortunate”
“players in the civil society have repeatedly failed to stand up to
Lokodo. "I have had numerous exchanges with them about this but they seem
to be more interested in pleasing him than standing for what they know is
Man of the moment. Major Rubaramira Ruhanga. When I knew
him, he was a fierce, fearless HIV activist who actually embraced us as gay
Ugandans, and the need to have specific HIV prevention and care programming for
us. Nope, my memory is not at fault here. But then, at that particular moment
in time, he was in the opposition. But now he is toeing the government line.
And indeed, he is reported by key
population activists who attended the meeting, to have uttered these
shame filled words.
“Major Rubaramira Ruranga has today made the HIV Prevention Symposium
even worse for Key Populations by saying Government has an oversight role and
can decide what to be said in meetings and can also close down the meetings
whenever they want.
In fact Major Rubaramira says if he knew that Dr. Kyambade's team
(MARPI and MOH KP) was going to talk about KPs, he would have stopped him from
The major also wondered why government should waste money on drug users
who invite a problem to themselves, buy expensive drugs to inject and yet ask
for free services like Needle and Syringes.
He said that he regrets having contracted HIV but doesn't feel sorry
for those who go and buy sex, inject drugs and eventually contract HIV.”
Now, what a flip of the two faced coin.
That is what it means to have ‘Pink-washed HIV programming’
and the logical conclusion of such a ‘foundation in the sand’ basis. BTW, where
were the (toothless) Minister(s) of health? Hard to believe they are more
irrelevant than Lokodo!