David Kato Kisule (1964 – 2011) was a Ugandan teacher and LGBTI rights activist. He is considered a father of Uganda’s gay rights activism, a country with a deep conservative society where homosexuality is currently considered a crime. On August 2014 the Anti-Homosexuality Act has been struck down by the constitutional court, but the conservative reaction lives on to implement a new anti-gay bill.
Despite having been arrested for coming out and having suffered assaults constantly, Kato was a tireless campaigner for human rights, particularly for the rights of LGBTIs in Africa. As well as a school teacher, he was the co-founder and an Advocacy and Litigation Officer at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).
In January 2011, Kato was bludgeoned to death in his own home in Kampala. Four months previously to his death, a Ugandan national newspaper had published the names and photographs of gay rights activists, including Kato’s.
The David Kato award is in part supporting his life’s dedication legacy by continuing to promote human rights, particularly to LGBTI people in adverse and unsupportive environments. But most of all The David Kato Vision & Voice award (DKVVA) is to commemorate his life by awarding annually an individual who demonstrates courage and outstanding leadership in advocating for the sexual rights of LGBTI people.
The David Kato Vision & Voice Award recognises and supports the work of leaders who strive to uphold the human rights and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world. More information about the DKVVA can be found here.
In 2014 the Cambodian transgender activist Sou Sotheavy was awarded the 2014 DKVVA award. The now-75-years old, has spent the last two decades working to establish a national network of organisations to support LGBT individuals across the country. Sou established the first Cambodian NGO to support LGBT people, where she continues to serve as president today.
The 2015 David Kato Award is three weeks away for nominations to be closed. Nominations for the award close on 31 December 2014 and can be completed online. Please fill in the form according to the nominations criteria and guidelines.
Call me Kuchu is a documentary about homosexuality in Uganda and about David Kato’s activism. One year into filming Call Me Kuchu, David Kato is murdered.
Brief profile of Sou Sotheavy, award winner of the 2014 DKVVA.