“If we keep on hiding, they will say we are not here.” David Kato
A year or so ago there was widespread outrage against an “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” being pushed through parliament in Uganda. The bill proposed death for HIV-positive gay men, and prison for anyone who fails to turn in a known homosexual (or ‘Kuchu’ in local slang) to the police, including their own children. Call Me Kuchu is the extraordinary story of a courageous group of Kuchu activists, lead by the charismatic David Kato against fundamentalist Christian pastors, the viscous local press and the government’s proposed new law.
With such a serious subject matter, Call Me Kuchu could have quite easily been a depressing affair but in a real display of directorial flair by filmmakers Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, the film is somehow ultimately uplifting. Perhaps it’s because the personalities we meet are so (almost) relentlessly positive in the face of such adversity, refusing to give up the fight, cemented by their activist motto: La Lutta Continua (the fight continues).
Sometimes it’s hard to understand how they can remain positive in their situation. The bile of the local newspapers is truly shocking with one publication outing gay people with full pictures under headlines such as ‘HOMO TERROR’, ‘HANG THEM and ‘NAME AND SHAME’. The Editor is equally abhorrent, completely seduced by notoriety and selling papers, he will call for the death of gay people with no blemish to his conscience.
David and his band of activists are (and I don’t use this word flippantly) an inspiration. They refuse to be invisible in the face of the threat of physical violence, ostracism and even execution.
Call Me Kuchu is not just an important watch in terms of current and LGBT affairs, it’s a fascinating look at of a group of incredibly resilient, brave and wonderful people.
Call me Kuchu was released in the UK on 2 November
By Jamie McHale