Sacked for being gay. Help needed.

Update posted by Paul Penny On Oct 11, 2016

My name is Steven and I am a gay Ugandan artist. Until recently I was employed as an art teacher at a college in Kampala.

But I was abruptly fired from my teaching job because my employer discovered I was gay. I was given no recourse to appeal the injustice of this action. The college refused to give me a reference and they said they would tell any future employer that I am gay. In Uganda this makes it impossible for me to get employment elsewhere.

In Uganda, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people face daily threats of violence, and politicians and many church leaders vilify us and deny us our basic freedoms and rights. Homosexual acts still remain punishable in Uganda with jail sentences under a colonial-era Penal Code.

So after feeling low for a short time, I dusted myself down and I am now rebuilding my life. I need to create my future as an independent artist so that I don’t ever have to face being fired again by a homophobic employer.

I am confident I possess the natural artistic talent required to achieve my goal. Several pieces of my artwork were exhibited recently in a prestigious art gallery in Uganda. For this opportunity I am grateful to a former work-colleague who is open-minded, unprejudiced, and my friend.

The exhibition was a big success and afterwards I received a commission to paint the portraits of several generations of a family in oils. I was so happy to get this work as my money had almost run out after my sacking and I was close to losing my small rented home.

I use various art mediums in my artwork including acrylic, batik, leather, raffia, and more. After graduating from university I gained more professional training working alongside a master at the college where I taught art students.

With this JustGiving crowdfunding campaign, I hope I can raise the money I need to establish a professional art studio and set everything in place that I need to be an independent and successful artist.

LOVE & THANKS

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