Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) people in Uganda often encounter human rights violations and injustices from stigma and discrimination. Müller et al. (2021) found that 61.3% of sexual and gender minorities have reported experiencing violence during their lifetimes. Moreover, Uganda’s Anti-homosexual Act (2023) includes provisions that criminalise same-sex activities as unnatural offenses carrying a potential penalty of life imprisonment. Even in countries where homosexuality is not legally criminalised, gender and sexual minorities frequently encounter discrimination and stigma, with Uganda being no exception to this trend. However, there exists a dearth of data concerning the reallife experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals after the signing of the Bill in Uganda. This study aims to address this gap by contributing to the expanding body of knowledge on gender and sexual minorities in Uganda with a specific focus on exploring the role of social media in the self-expression of the LGBTQIA+ community. The study was interested in how the self-expression of the LGBTQIA+ community changes after the signing of the Anti-homosexuality bill on the 26th March, 2023. The based on qualitative data that was collected from the LGBTQIA+ community who were using social media to express themselves. The study used the mobile non-use theoretical framework to inform the qualitative research design and methodology. The data was collected from ten (10) LGBTQI+ individuals through online interviews. The interview transcripts were analysed to reveal significant the changes in the use of social media by members of the LGBTQI+ communities. The findings unveil the different ways through which social media empowers LGBTQIA+ community in Uganda and in particular their self-expression on social media before the signing of the bill. Three 3 ways including information sharing, coming out and advocacy were identified. In response, the study identified four strategies inductively and they were distancing, deletion, blocking, and departure. These strategies were termed as (Non-) use practices as advanced by Chib et al. (2021). While they proposed 8 strategies that vulnerable could respond to online hostile environment, this study found only four of them to 6 have been adopted by non-binary community in Uganda. These strategies were more absolute as individuals tend to select them in situations where the power imbalances in their relationships to sociostructural enforcers is greater (Chib et al., 2021). Future research can establish a better understanding of how effects actualise by conducting research on family members, government agents, and NGOs.

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Chib, Arul
Social Policy for Development (SPD)
International Institute of Social Studies

Nabaloga, Efrance. (2023, December 20). The role of social media on the self-expression of the LGBTQIA+ community in Uganda. Social Policy for Development (SPD). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/70974