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On May 16, while walking from the high-end Serena Hotel to a flea market in downtown Kampala, Uganda, Chhitup Lama, a blind Nepalese man, was holding on the elbow of Bau Bautista who was guiding him as they traversed the city.

Out of nowhere, policemen appeared to tell the two “not to hold hands” since doing so was “not allowed”. Apparently, these policemen assumed that the two are in a gay relationship and the “touching” was a PDA (public display of affection), which was a no-no for them.

When told that Chhitup is blind, they backed out. “Oh,” one of them said. “Good job, good job.”

This – in a way – encapsulates what it’s like to live as an LGBTQI person in Uganda…

“The Ugandan system is broken,” Ruth Muganzi said, noting that – at times – LGBTQI people are used as scapegoats so people forget how bad the country’s situation is due to government actions/inactions. “But we volunteer, we sacrifice because we’re fighting to survive.”

WHAT YOU HEAR IN THE NEWS

“The news you hear (about LGBTQI people in Uganda while) overseas, those are true,” said Jay Mulucha of Fem-Alliance Uganda to Outrage Magazine. This is because it’s still a crime (to be LGBTQI) in Uganda; and there is a lot of crimes (directed against) LGBTQI people in Uganda,” including “attacks, being taken to jail… So the situation is (still) not that good).”

Jay, a transgender man, experienced how dire the situation can be in Uganda. He was actually expelled from school after his teammates (while a varsity) found out he’s part of the LGBTQI community. “They didn’t know me as a trans person; they knew me as a lesbian,” he recalled. This news “went around the university and they had to expel me because of who I am.”

But Jay said that this gave him “the courage to come out to everyone”

Because of who he is, “my family is not comfortable with me,” Jay said. Fortunately for him, his only sister sides with him. “She says she will never walk away from me because I’m still a part of the family and no matter what they do, (we’re of the same blood) and she can’t do anything about that so she will still support me. The rest of the family is not okay with me.”

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All the same: “This is me and I don’t care about anything else.”

Isaac Mugisha of Spectrum Uganda, “were still there; we’re still not giving up.” He added that “we believe that it’s the right of every Ugandan to walk everywhere and to get service.”

USING THE LAW AGAINST THE PEOPLE

The laws of the land have repeatedly been used against LGBTQI people in Uganda.

On September 29, 2005, for instance, Pres. Yoweri Museveni signed a constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage equality.

Then on December 17, 2013, the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 was passed, mandating life imprisonment for aggravated homosexuality. While it was eventually annulled by the Uganda Constitutional Court, it was NOT because the law was illegal; instead, it was on a technicality, and that because “not enough lawmakers were present to vote” on the law. Meaning, a similar law can still be passed… with the needed number of politicians advocating anti-LGBTQI sentiments.

Most recently, in April, Pres. Museveni went on a media blitz to denounce LGBTQI people again, using the erroneous line of reasoning that being LGBTQI is a “foreign” introduction, that it is “wrong” and that “the mouth is for eating, not for sex”.

But according to Isaac Mugisha of Spectrum Uganda, “were still there; we’re still not giving up.” He added that “we believe that it’s the right of every Ugandan to walk everywhere and to get service.”

Isaac is, by the way, helming the organizing of Pride in Uganda, which the government often cancels.

CHALLENGING LIFE, CHALLENGING WORK

Working with the LGBTQI community is – obviously – challenging.

For instance, “you don’t want any LGBTQI people to be affiliated with you” as it could put them in danger, Isaac said.

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But this is also because not many LGBTQI Ugandans come out and are willing to say “I am LGBTQI”.

For Ruth Muganzi of Kuchu Times, “You risk a lot by (coming out and) sharing your story. But it is also very important for us to be very visible.”

Isaac said that “every time mainstream media (released) stories about the LGBTQI community, these were negative stories that (made) other Ugandans react violently against LGBTQI people. When you put out a story that says that gay men are raping children, or that we’re recruiting children, of course it invokes a sense of anger from community members that are (to start) already (not supportive of us because) of the assumed cultural and religious perspectives (that oppose us).”

Ruth is first to say that working for – not just living as part of – the LGBTQI community is “difficult, but it is something that we anticipated.”

Jay, of course, said that even the local LGBT community still needs to be educated – e.g. it is still not very familiar with trans issues, leaving many issues of the Ugandan trans community unattended. Not to different from a country like the Philippines, in Uganda, “many people think that a trans person is (just) a gay person,” Jay said. While – yes – a trans person can also be gay, the very idea of being trans is still completely foreign to so many people.

Still not many LGBTQI Ugandans come out and are willing to say “I am LGBTQI”.

FINDING ONESELF… IN CHALLENGING TIMES

Spectrum Uganda’s Sultan Muyomba said that there was a time when he tried to “convince myself that I am not this or this,” he said. Until one day, “I said, I can’t fight myself; it’s like fighting nature.”
It remains hard, Sultan said. One time, for instance, he and a friend had to bribe another “friend” who – upon knowing that they are gay, could have put their lives in danger by blackmailing them.

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“The Ugandan system is broken,” Ruth said, noting that – at times – LGBTQI people are used as scapegoats so people forget how bad the country’s situation is due to government actions/inactions.

Incidentally, Uganda still has numerous “traditional” practices many may find “antiquated” – e.g. during pamamanhikan (that is, when the groom-to-be visits his would-be in-laws), he is not even supposed to see (much more touch) his mother-in-law. The reason? Because he may end up eloping with her, not her daughter.

“But we volunteer, we sacrifice because we’re fighting to survive,” Ruth said.

HOPE FLOATS

“Are we hopeful? First of all, the Ugandan LGBTQI movement has done a lot. In 12 years, we (now) have our own clinic, we have our own outspoken advocates, we are providing our own legal services… We’ve done a lot of advocacies that has allowed us to get this far. We’re not the same movement that we were 12 years ago,” Ruth said. “There is hope. We just need to keep pushing. Every day is about pushing.”

Jay seconded Ruth, saying that in 12 years, a lot of change has happened. “The LGBTQI community members stood up to raise their voices.” In fact, “a lot of LGBTQI community has come out and learned to fight for their freedom.”

And to continue this fight, Jay said that the help of other LGBTQI communities (perhaps in other countries) can give them a boost. Having said this, Jay isn’t a big fan of so-called keyboard activists (i.e. those who just “sit back”), but those who come and give them support (even if it’s only to share notes on activism, and how to move forward) are always welcome,” he said. “This strengthens our work and keeps us moving.”

“The LGBTQI community members stood up to raise their voices,” said Jay Mulucha. In fact, “a lot of LGBTQI community has come out and learned to fight for their freedom.”

For those interested to visit Uganda, you may apply for a visa HERE. The visa is also available on-arrival at Entebbe airport. Rates start from $50. Note that only those with yellow fever vaccine are allowed into the country (the yellow fever card will be checked upon arrival).
There is always a threat of civil unrest (particularly 50 km of Uganda’s border with the DRC and to the Karamoja region, and within 50 km of Uganda’s border with South Sudan). Similarly, there are health notices on the Zika virus and Ebola.
Though of course, there, too, is the issue of the treatment of the LGBTQI people, particularly those whose gender expression is not aligned with their assigned sex at birth, just as there are issues with PDAs…

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. Though he grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City in Maguindanao), even attending Roman Catholic schools there, he "really, really came out in Sydney," he says, so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing and a developed world". Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies under his belt)... this one's a multi-tasker, who is even conversant in Filipino Sign Language (FSL). Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism. Cross his path is the dare (read: It won't be boring).

Health & Wellness

Gender identity conversion efforts associated with adverse mental health outcomes

Reported exposure to conversion efforts before the age of 10 also was associated with greater lifetime odds of suicide attempts.

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Photo by Fernando @dearferdo from Unsplash.com

Gender identity conversion efforts to try to change a person’s gender identity to match their sex assigned at birth were associated with increased likelihood of adverse mental health outcomes, including suicide attempts.

This is according to a study helmed by Jack L. Turban, M.D., M.H.S., of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

The study, tiled “Association Between Recalled Exposure to Gender Identity Conversion Efforts and Psychological Distress and Suicide Attempts Among Transgender Adults”, and which appeared in JAMA Psychiatry, involved nearly 28,000 transgender adults from across the US. This observational study is based on the results of a survey distributed through community outreach to transgender adults in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, some territories and overseas U.S. military bases.

Of 27,715 transgender adults who responded, 19,741 (71.3%) reported having spoken to a secular or religious professional about their gender identity and of these 3,869 (19.6%) reported exposure to gender identity conversion efforts.

That exposure was associated with severe psychological distress during the previous month and prior suicide attempts during their lifetime compared with transgender adults who reported talking about their gender identity with a professional but weren’t exposed to conversion efforts.

Reported exposure to conversion efforts before the age of 10 also was associated with greater lifetime odds of suicide attempts.

Limitations of the study include its inability to determine causation; it didn’t capture conversion efforts by others such as family members; and it’s possible that some adults with worse mental health might have sought conversion therapy.

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The study findings support that gender identity conversion efforts should be avoided in children and adults. Professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, have called conversion therapy for gender identity unethical and ineffective, and some countries have already outlawed the practice.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Running safety tips that are rarely spoken of

When looking online to consider the mainline (and yet completely coherent) running safety advice, it’s all the same. Find the right shoes, keep your form up, listen to your body, breathe well, stay hydrated, look around your environment. All of this is important. Yet the following running advice is rarely given to keep people safe.

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Running is a beautiful sport of course, but it’s much deeper than that. Humans once survived by endurance hunting, that is running so far and long that animals simply became exhausted trying to get away, leading us to secure dinner for that evening.

It is your right to run where you can, on pavements, through public woods, and on public footpaths.
Photo from Pixabay; used by CC0 License

Running is in our DNA, our bloodstream, and our bodies are remarkably well adapted for it. Running is completely free, and one of the most popular methods of cardiovascular exercise. Running is a representation of life, hard at first, but quickly adapting to grow as something in your control, and you get out of it exactly what you put into it.

However, running safety is never something you should ignore, no matter how natural the activity is. Yet when looking online to consider the mainline (and yet completely coherent) running safety advice, it’s all the same. Find the right shoes, keep your form up, listen to your body, breathe well, stay hydrated, look around your environment. All of this is important. Yet the following running advice is rarely given to keep people safe. We hope to break that trend now.

Keep Valuables Hidden

It’s not uncommon for many to listen to music while they are running, or to keep other worthwhile equipment on them. If wearing top of the line running gear, excellent running shoes and perhaps even nice running shades, you can often stand out as someone with a little wealth. This can lead someone with bad intentions to take note of you, and if you are tired at the last leg of your run, you might find yourself less equip to run off or fend them off.

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This is why keeping your smartphone hidden through zipped pockets, ensuring that wireless headphones are only used in relatively public areas or that you keep an eye on your environment as much as you can will make the most difference. 

Understand Your Rights

It is your right to run where you can, on pavements, through public woods, and on public footpaths. However, it can sometimes be that when construction work is taking place, or other unclear diversions between the road and the pavement are causing you confusion, that you are impeded or even hurt by motor vehicles or those who haven’t a runner’s best interests in mind.

This is where understanding where to find the legal representation you need and deserve can make the most difference over time. Understanding your rights to this end might just help you seek the compensation you deserve.

Consider Your Eating Habits

Running fasted or running with a light breakfast is often the preferential option for many morning runners, but it is essential that they build up to these habits and keep them consistent rather than letting them fade every weekend, or jumping into a hard fast immediately. When you find what’s right for your body and give yourself enough time to digest food, you are in the best possible position. But you certainly need to be careful.

With this advice, we hope your running habit can become even safer than it is now.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

How to ensure you reach your potential at the gym

Getting into the best possible shape isn’t just a case of turning up, getting a sweat on, and going home.

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Photo by Daniel Apodaca from Unsplash.com

Your entire reason for heading to a gym is to get into much better shape than before. Each week you want to be better than the last. You may not manage to hit that particular level of consistent growth, but you’ll try anyway. Your goal is to become the best version of yourself when you enter that gymnasium, and you’ll try all kinds of things to tick that big box. 

Getting into the best possible shape isn’t just a case of turning up, getting a sweat on, and going home, though. It helps a lot, but it’s not the be-all and end-all, unfortunately. There are a multitude of other factors that go into it. They’re not difficult or complicated, so you’ll be able to wrap your head around them pretty quickly.

Here are four things you should probably do if you want to become the person you’re always picturing in your head.

Form Over Everything!

If you’re lifting weights or doing a particular movement, then you need to get it spot on. It can be very easy in this judgmental society to opt for what looks the best, but you’ll want to avoid what’s perceived as good and do what actually is good. By this, we mean you should focus less on doing heavy weights in order to impress people. Lower that sucker and do it properly. You’ll want your overall fitness and performance to be a lot better than the five-second glance someone sees of you. If you lower the weight and do it slower, then you’ll get WAY better results. Fact. 

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Hit Each Muscle Group 

Back day is boring for some. Legs are skipped all the time. Triceps? Some people won’t do much of that. If that’s your attitude, then you need to leave that way of thinking at the door and conjure up a better work ethic. In order to become more adept overall and be in better shape, you need to focus on your entire body. You’ll become better at the lifts you DO likes if you build up the other ‘boring’ areas. 

Once you get into the groove, you might start to become somewhat addicted to training.
Photo by Danielle Cerullo from Unsplash.com

Eat The Good Stuff!

If you want to put on weight and muscle; you’ve got to have a good calorie surplus. Just eat more than you already are – and make sure the foods are super good for you. Are you trying to shift a few pounds? Well, you need a calorie deficit. Don’t starve yourself. Just eat a LITTLE less. You can still enjoy the foods you already eat; just don’t completely devour them. Stopping when you’re full is a good start – a lot of people tend not to do this. A lot! 

Don’t Train If You Don’t Have To!

Once you get into the groove, you might start to become somewhat addicted to training. You may not have a physical addiction, but if you don’t go, then your mind might start playing tricks on you. You might start to feel down because you missed out. You might even make yourself feel a little guilty. 

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Don’t worry about not training. You SHOULD have days off in order to recover. You should especially stay away if you’re feeling a little too sore or ill. A few aches and pains in the back should be enough of a warning sign not to do any deadlifts or squats. Don’t overdo it: you may drive yourself crazy.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

4 Ways to counteract overthinking and catastrophizing

If you overthink heavily for, say, an entire year, that’s a lot of time thrown away as you would have accumulated a lot of time in your own head instead of doing productive things. There are things we can do in order to cut down on the overthinking, though.

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Ah, yes, overthinking! One of the worst things a human being can do to his or herself. You’ve definitely done it before, so you know exactly what is and how it can absolutely destroy you. There are people out there that spend the whole day doing it. Crazy, right? It’s so easy for a person to fall into this trap. It becomes almost like an addiction. They begin thinking about something, but they then need to dig a little deeper in order to convince themselves that it’s okay – it never works out, though, as the thoughts become even worse and more negative.

Do something. Do anything. This is probably the best piece of advice you can possibly receive.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash.com

If you overthink heavily for, say, an entire year, that’s a lot of time thrown away as you would have accumulated a lot of time in your own head instead of doing productive things. There are things we can do in order to cut down on the overthinking, though. It can be beaten. It will always be with us because our brains are amazing and are constantly picking up patterns and memories, but we can lower its intensity in this regard.

Here are a few ways of doing so:

Recognize That It’s Never, Ever, Ever As Bad As What You Think

The first idea we’ll talk about is through the act of doing a little more thinking! It’s a little counterintuitive, but it’ll help. You need to realize that what you’re picturing in your head is absolutely not going to happen. Something along those lines may occur, but your catastrophic thoughts are not going to come to fruition – at all. You’re creating a storm in a teacup for absolutely no reason. Get out of that little imaginary instance!

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Don’t Stare At Social Media As Much (Or At All!) 

Social media has done a lot of good in terms of bringing people together, teaching people, and making businesses more prosperous. It has its drawbacks, though, and those drawbacks are pretty heavy. When you get a little too deep into the world of social media, you can find yourself caring too much about the littlest thing that’s on there. You might start developing relationships that don’t actually exist. You might view someone else’s fictional life as something that you want – no matter how realistic it actually is (which, a lot of the time, it’s not). Social media has a great way of making you feel worthless if you go down that rabbit hole too deeply.  

Try A Little CBD And Similar Products  

CBD Oil has become very, very popular over the past couple of years due to its ability to help with the likes of anxiety and depression. It doesn’t fix a person straight away, but it can soothe their minds. It works with a lot of people, so even if it’s a placebo, it might be worth considering! It contains traces of the cannabis plant, so it’s still quite a taboo oil at this stage, but it’s not like heading to a marijuana store and getting some sweetleaf concentrates every few days. The psychoactive and addictive elements are removed, leaving the traits that are best for mental recovery and relaxation.                                               

Don’t Idle

Do something. Do anything. This is probably the best piece of advice you can possibly receive. When your mind is on something, you don’t have the mental capacity to worry about stuff like you were before. You’re too busy focusing on the task at hand. Obviously, you’re only putting the worrisome thoughts to the side for a bit, so they won’t vanish forever, but if you can get into the habit of placing them aside, then that’s a great first step.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Easy ways to improve your small business efficiency

By automating any monotonous tasks, you can then save your team time and you can also give them the chance to be far more productive with the tasks that have been assigned to them.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder from Unsplash.com

The best way for you to make more money for your small business would be for you to focus on efficiency while also making sure that every one of your processes are streamlined.

Take a look below to find out more.

Automate what you Can

It doesn’t matter whether you automate your payment process or whether you invest in an automatic route software for your fleet because you need to make sure that you focus on efficiency as much as possible. By automating any monotonous tasks, you can then save your team time and you can also give them the chance to be far more productive with the tasks that have been assigned to them.

Encourage your Team to Talk Face to Face

Sure, sending a quick email to a co-worker may seem like an efficient way of communicating but sometimes it can hinder your efficiency. All the back and forth can easily take up way more time and you may even find that there are mix-ups too. This can really make it difficult for you to get something done, and the best way for you to avoid this would be for you to try and encourage face-to-face communication as much as possible. This will keep everything moving forward and it will also encourage your employees to work better with one another too.

Limit Interruptions

If your team are having a hard time completing tasks efficiently then this could be because they are having constant interruptions. One way for you to help yourself here would be for you to try and schedule all of your meetings for the same day rather than having them throughout the week. This will help your team to get everything they need clarified on the first day so that they can spend the rest of the working week getting everything done. If you want to take things to that next level then try and limit pop-ups, email alerts and notifications from your project management software.

All the back and forth can easily take up way more time and you may even find that there are mix-ups too. This can really make it difficult for you to get something done, and the best way for you to avoid this would be for you to try and encourage face-to-face communication as much as possible.
IMAGE SOURCE: Pexels (CC0 License)

Vehicle Management

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If you have a fleet of vehicles, it may be worth hiring a fleet management company. When you do, you can then spend more time focusing on the core aspects of your business. Little things like this can make a huge difference and you would be surprised at what an impact it can have on your team morale too.

Task Management

Task management software really is worth having and it can also help your team to stay focused throughout various projects. Another benefit of having it is that it will show you what needs to be done and when, so you can easily tell your team the tasks for the day. Some types of software even show you what your other team members are working on too, and this can really work wonders for your level of communication. If you want to take things to that next level, then consider creating a custom software. This will help you to really stay on top of everything and it will also make it way easier for you to manage your company.


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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Marketing your small business as effectively as possible

If you want to make a serious profit, you’re going to have to make your products obvious to the market and encourage people to buy them.

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Photo by Campaign Creators from Unsplash.com

Running a small business is an extremely complex task. You’re going to have to find and create a product or service that stands out from the crowd and can sell. You’re going to have to run market research to ensure that it’s something your target audience is interested in and will buy. You’ll have to manufacture physical products, run tests and ensure they’re safe or you’ll have to train in your craft if you’re selling a service to make sure you’re the top of your game. But once you have what you’re going to sell, your journey isn’t over.

The marketplace is increasingly saturated and you’re going to have to fight to stand out from the crowd. Sure, you might get a few organic sales where people come across your products or services of their own accord. But if you want to make a serious profit, you’re going to have to make your products obvious to the market and encourage people to buy them.

This process is known as “marketing” and you’re going to have to spend a whole lot of time and effort on it. There are various forms of marketing out there, varying from online marketing to physical marketing. For now, let’s focus on physical marketing.

The custom pop up banners infographic 2019 edition below will show you everything you need to know about pop up banners in particular.

Infographic Design By custom pop up banners infographic 2019 edition

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