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Cleo K. A Ugandan Trans Woman and LGBTI Activist Needs Help Now

Cleopatra Kambugu in Kampala, Uganda.

Cleopatra Kambugu fled to Kenya after having been ”outed” as a homosexual on the front page of Red Pepper, one of Uganda’s major tabloids. Forcing her to live behind closed gates for over a month and within a week, she lost her job and the relationship with several family members.

It was a week after the bill had passed that the 28-year-old student and activist Cleopatra Kambugu was ”outed” in one of Uganda’s biggest tabloids. On the front of the magazine you could see a picture of her with the title, “How we Became homosexuals.” An article stolen from The Advocate, an American publication that she had co-written the article for.

-I officially lost my job and several of my family members abandoned me fearing for their safety, said Cleo.

The people who had been ”outed” were attacked by mobs and illegally evicted. She was forced into hiding to avoid attacks and possible arrest.

– It was a tough time, my mom had to come up with food on the nights so we would have something to eat. People went hungry for days. Unless the attacks reached them, the lack of food and medicine did, she continues.

She saw no other option than to get out of Uganda, fortunately, she was offered a job in Kenya at the time.

– I decided to move to Nairobi, Kenya. It gave me not only an income but also a sense of security, she said.

Today Cleo and her boyfriend lives in Nairobi, their move have given them the opportunity to live more freely. But she still have to be careful to avoid her surroundings noticing her gender identity. Now Cleo wants to share her story to the world in a documentary.

– I want to give the Ugandan people human picture of a transgender woman, which i hope the documentary will help me to do, said Cleo.

She’s hoping to become the first trans person to be accepted as her true gender identity in Uganda.

Help us secure a safety fund by donating. Your donation means a lot, It not only helps us raising awareness for the issues but you´re also directly supporting a person in need.

Why should you donate?

  • Because you believe all people, including trans people, deserve basic human and civil rights and dignity.
  • Because you support LGBTI rights worldwide.
  • Because you want to give support to people who are facing discriminations and harassment’s in their everyday life.
  • Throughout the campaign, you’ll be able to follow her journey online. Where we’ll be sharing photos, highlights from the film, and stories from the making of the film.
Support her in other ways

  • Buy clothes in our store, all profit goes to Cleo’s surgery.
  • Spread the word on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Change your social media profile image to our badge.
  • Share the film with your friends via email.

Thanks in advance for everything you’ll do to help us with this project!
– Jonny von Wallström, Director

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  1. Henrik Ljungberg
    December 11, 2014

    I have posted on my FB wall. Important work.

  2. Darren Mallett
    May 6, 2015

    Hello Jonny,

    We are reaching out to you on behalf of the media collective Black, Brown, and Digital (#bbdigital) to extend to you an exciting opportunity!

    On May 28th, Silicon Harlem and #bbdigital presents: Sex: Exploitation, Expression and Exploration; highlighting webseries made by/ about people of color curated around this theme. We’re happy to welcome back Jungle Wild Productions founder and the creator of the hit webseries, Black Actress, Andrea Lewis as our host for a powerful conversation exploring sexuality in the digital age and the importance of media ownership for artists of color.

    This dynamic event is free and offers a platform for creatives & entrepreneurs of color to collaborate and build community at the home of the new Harlem Renaissance -MADIBA HARLEM at MIST. The event comes with a diverse array of music, activism, webseries, digital media food & discussions that will engage our vibrant millennial audience.

    Pearl of Africa provides exceptional digital content for and by people of color, we would be honored to present Episode 1 and if you're in NYC, join us for a talk back of your work on Thursday May 28th, 2015.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you.

    Thank you,
    Darren Mallett


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