The Fight for Human Rights by Uganda’s LGBTQI Community

About the Project

Photographer Jiro Ose explores the current status of LGBTQI+ rights in Uganda, documenting an intersection of recent contentious events in Ugandan politics: the November 2015 visit by Pope Francis, the fifth anniversary (January 2016) of David Kato’s murder, and the Ugandan general elections in February 2016. Based in Kampala, captures these scenes as well as the personal lives of members of the LGBTQI+ community, highlighting their courageous advocacy work in the face of growing homophobia.

The rights of individuals to choose whom they love and how they see and express themselves are codified in the privacy and free speech tenants of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties. However, the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) communities in the United States and around the globe has long included severe violations of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

Decades of challenges to both judicial biases and social practices have in recent years culminated in significant changes. The 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional provided significant advancement in marriage equality. In 2016, Colombia followed suit. In Argentina, a groundbreaking gender identity law passed in 2012 provided essential protections for transgender people. And in Uganda, the 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act was invalidated by the Constitutional Court after the swift response of the international community.

However, these gains are only milestones on the work yet to be done. Violence perpetrated against LGBTQI+ community members in Iraq, Syria and other areas of North Africa and the Middle East is made more devastating by the impact of ongoing conflict that reduces options for support in already fragile situations. While Russia repealed its anti-homosexuality law in 1993, it did little to respond to public homophobia and increasingly frequent attacks against sexual minorities. Jamaica continues to uphold laws criminalizing homosexuality, as do many other countries around the world. In the U.S., the unraveling of the Supreme Court’s decision through the vast network of state laws will take decades of legal challenges on related rights. Protection for trans persons, both legally and culturally, remains highly fragile, as demonstrated by recent challenges to the right to self-identify gender in both Mississippi and North Carolina.

The journey to equality is taking place in both the courtrooms and living rooms of the world. There is much distance left to cover. This exhibit provides the opportunity to bring awareness to the many challenges still facing the LGBTQI+ community around the world. 

about the artist

Jiro Ose is a Japanese photojournalist.

Public Programs

May 27, 2016

625 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago

May 23, 2016

625 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago


May 11, 2016

625 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago

In partnership with Global Girl Media After School Matters program


May 11, 2016

625 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago

April 14, 2016

625 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago

In partnership with Heartland Alliance

bring this exhibit to you

All of our exhibitions are designed to tour and can be adapted to a broad spectrum of venue types and sizes.

We are happy to provide step-by-step support for hosting this exhibit.

Contact us to learn more about bringing this exhibit to your community.

A few people look at an exhibition of Congo Women in New York

New York installation of Congo/Women

resources & tools


March 2023: The Uganda Parliament passed additional anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that criminalizes identifying as LGBTQ+ as well as consensual LGBTQ+ activity. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have called out this legislation for being a direct violation of fundamental human rights.

August 2022: The Ugandan government banned Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer organization that provided education and advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQI+ community in the country


Fewer than 1 billion of the world’s population live in countries where same-sex marriage or civil unions are recognized, compared to almost 2.8 billion living in countries which criminalize gay people and impose severe punishments on homosexuality, such as imprisonment, lashings and even death sentences.” – Jessica Stern, Outright International

The Human Dignity Trust

The Human Dignity Trust is a legal organization dedicated to ending human rights violations against the LGBTQI+ community around the world. Their website provides a comprehensive timeline of the Ugandan government’s actions against the LGBTQI+ community. 

support our work


Projects like Not/Still are only possible with the financial support of our many donors, grant funders, and our community