Gay Ugandan activist wins Sweden's 'Alternative Nobel Prize'
By Katy Migiro
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Ugandan activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, who has been beaten, threatened and arrested for her LGBT campaign work, has won Sweden's Right Livelihood Award, also known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize', the award's foundation said on Thursday.
The 35-year-old has successfully used legal avenues to push for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights in Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal, as well as staging the east African nation's first Gay Pride event.
"Nabagesera is one of the most courageous and outspoken human rights activists in Africa," the Right Livelihood Award said on its website.
The awards, founded in 1980 and often referred to as Alternative Nobel Prizes, are presented annually in the Swedish parliament.
Described as the founding mother of the LGBT movement in Uganda, the dreadlocked Nabagesera appeared on the cover of Time magazine in June, wearing a three-piece suit and baseball cap.
"Even if, at home, my work is regarded as immoral and criminal, at least there are other people out there who appreciate the efforts," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
Harassment of sexual and gender minorities is increasing in Uganda, driven by politicians, religious leaders and the media, activists say.
A law passed in 2014 punished gay sex with long prison terms and imposed a life sentence for "aggravated homosexuality", which referred to HIV-positive gay people having sex. It was later overturned on a technicality. Continued...