Celebrating gay pride in Uganda: 'We want to show that we're not aliens'

Ugandans taking part in the annual gay pride in Entebbe in 2014.

(CNN)Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) community is preparing for its annual gay pride parade, taking place on Saturday 8 August. This year's event has special significance -- it's been a year since the controversial anti-gay law was scrapped.

Pride parades are held all over the world and are an opportunity for the LGBTI community to come together and raise awareness of their rights -- and Uganda has been no different.
The inaugural gay pride march was held in the city of Entebbe, some 20 miles south of the capital Kampala, in 2012. That was also the year the anti-homosexuality bill was tabled. "Organizing pride at that point was an act of defiance," explains Neela Ghoshal, senior researcher on the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch. "It was the LGBTI community saying: 'We are here and we are not going away.'"
    Richard Lusimbo
    Richard Lusimbo, who is heading up the committee behind this year's parade and the three days of preceding events, reflects on the toll the bill had on the people he knew: "There are many people who are still languishing in refugee camps in Kenya.
    "The lucky ones have gotten to western countries but there are people who remain [in Uganda] and the thing that keeps them going is family."
    He continues: "It's not just biological family -- it's also the allies that stood by our brothers and sisters."

    'We are Family'

    It is in recognition of those allies that the Pride Uganda Committee have chosen "We are Family" as the theme for the 2015 march.
    Lusimbo, who is an activist and research manager at Kampala-based NGO Sexual Minorities Uganda, talks about some of the work that has gone into putting this year's events together.
    "It's a very big task with lots of organizing to do. There is a new team of 25 people -- individuals from different organizations -- and we have taken up new initiatives to raise local support for Pride and get a cross-section of individuals involved."