One of the oldest LGBTI organizations serving the MSM/GM community for over a decade now, Spectrum Uganda has changed the face of health among the MSM community in the capital city Kampala and neighboring districts. All our work has been voluntary and we continue to uphold the same spirit of why we started this organization many years ago. Although we currently only work in six districts, through our partnerships we can give referrals upcountry.
Around 2002 we began to have concerns as to why MSM persons were dying in the community, why there was high STD/STI’s among gay men, whether the MSM community was aware of the risks associated with anal sex and most importantly, why they weren’t accessing health care services. It became clear that there was a need to close the gap between MSM’s and the health care service providers; to create awareness, sensitize and orient the health care service providers. We are proud to say that since our beginning we have seen a change in the face of HIV/AIDS and positive living among the MSM /GM community in Uganda.
Spectrum Uganda set an example and mentored many LGBTI people who are leaders today. Our leadership has been very outspoken and part of the grassroots strengthening of the LGBTI community. Through our work we have seen more members of the MSM/GM community accept who they are and come out. There has been a great improvement regarding the provision of health care services to MSM/GM persons, creation of safe spaces in the community, and being able to speak about safe sex and hygiene. Additionally, there has been an increase in demand of health consumables, lubricants, condoms, and other similar products. We want to ensure that social activities are available for the LGBTI community in fighting discrimination, access to mental health care services, and any other needs they might have.
Spectrum has been supportive and a part of the many struggles the LGBTI movement in Uganda has endured; with mobilizing grass root communities, court sessions, litigation and most recently the Anti-Homosexual Bill. Through our programs community members have gained a sense of self-esteem and of hope. We have established a sense of trust within the community and we have seen an increase in reporting cases of both medical and personal threats etc.
Spectrum Uganda has coordinated, mobilized and partnered in research, working closely with allies. We first began working with partners in 2006, when the first research on behavioral change among men who have sex with men was conducted in Kampala.
We have made a media presence through participating in research, documentaries and interviews with both local and international media houses.
In its work Spectrum Uganda has partnered with various local, regional and international human rights organizations and health care service providers to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.