Kampala. A renowned Ugandan gay rights activist has finally denounced what she called a “sin of same sex” after years of defending the same rights.
Ms Val Kalende said she took the decision on Sunday after a year of taking cautious steps and denounced homosexuality, concluding that she had ‘seen light’.
“One year ago, It’s just that I’ve taken very cautious steps. By the time I went public about it yesterday (Sunday), I was ready. I wanted to take time to do the important work on myself before making a public confession,” she said.
In a post to her Facebook page, she said: “Not sure how to do this or if I have to. It’s draining. But I know people have questions and they mean well.
I’d be glad to respond to questions concerning what I have learned about the sin of same-sex attraction and the mystery that surrounds the homosexual lifestyle, especially for Christians, parents and people with family members or friends who struggle with same-sex attractions.”
Willing to speak about the dangers of homosexuality in the society, Ms Kalende said: “I understand my introverted nature makes it uncomfortable for people to reach out to me but I am pretty much an open person when it comes to issues I am passionate about. I am not an authority on sexuality let alone what qualifies for sinful nature, but I, sure, have an awareness that could help folks out there. Feel free to message me privately or leave your questions below this post.”
She, however, declined to be interviewed on her latest decision to quit the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, queer and inter sex (LGBTQI) community.
“I am not doing media interviews. My testimony in the church was enough, I wanted it in the church because the church raised me,” she said.
Ms Kalende also said she wants to take a rest to spend time with her family. She said: “My desire is to take long deserved rest and spend time with my family.”
In an earlier interview in 2009 with this newspaper, Ms Katende said she had fears about the homosexuality bill that MP David Bahati tabled in Parliament.
“I love my country, and that means a lot to me,” she said.
“But this bill is not about homosexuality. It affects everyone; my pastor, my friends. It’s not about us gays…Homosexuality is not about sodomising young boys. What about relationships among people who are not hurting anyone?” she asked.
Blow to LGBT community
The decision by Ms Kalende is likely to rattle the gay community in Uganda who have always seen her as an inspiration.
Until 2007, Ms Kalende was a features writer at the Daily Monitor and she quit her job to concentrate on promoting the gay rights.
Mr Frank Mugisha, the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, said Ms Kalende’s decision to quit the community is personal and that she was free to decide where she wants to belong. He, however, said it has a psychological impact on many members who are still being victimised.
“She has been a very strong and vocal member of the community. This decision will psychologically affect many members who may feel threatened. However, I am happy that she is not attacking the community and she has demystified the notion that people are being paid to join the community,” he noted.
In a live television session on Salt television in Kampala, Ms Kalende on Sunday announced that she is no longer gay and will soon get married.
“I joined lesbianism right after Makerere University. I’m born of Christian parents. All of them cut their ties with me for being gay. I became an orphan,” she said.
Ms Kalende, an old student of St Joseph’s Girls Nsambya, said she was lured by the Satan to join the group.
“I became rebellious. We always wondered why the world forced us to become girls who do not love men. Right now, I have no peace of mind. I sometimes break down and cry wondering why am like this,” she said.
Ms Kalende left Daily Monitor in October 2007 to defend the LGBT rights. She was one of the pioneers of the Sexual Minorities Uganda, an umbrella body for the LGBTQI organisations in the country.
In 2010, she went global with the campaign speaking in international human rights conferences.
In 2014, when Uganda Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Ms Kalende left the country and was finally granted asylum in Canada on September 8, 2015.