On May 7, 2014 76 CRIMES reported: Ugandan police this week arrested a transgender woman who was threatened by an anti-gay mob that demanded the removal of LGBT people from their neighborhood. As of today, the trans woman, named Reagan, has been held by police for four days on homosexuality-related charges.
This is her story, as told by Sandra Ntebi, chair of the national security committee of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). The tale begins with another transgender woman, Brenda, who is a friend of Reagan:
A mob attacks
Last year Brenda was attacked by a mob, arrested, paraded by police in front of the media, and later released on bail. She then returned from Kampala to her home in Entebbe, about 50 kilometers away on the shores of Lake Victoria. At her home, members of Uganda’s “ex-gay movement” kept visiting her and pressuring her to join them.
Feeling insecure, Brenda contacted SMUG’s national LGBTI security team, who advised her to leave home for a while. She did so, staying with a friend. For a while, things were fine, but on April 20 Brenda was again attacked by unknown people, who beat her up and knocked her unconscious. When she awoke, she was in a hospital seriously injured. SMUG paid the hospital bills and, when she was released from the hospital, housed her in a hotel since other locations seemed unsafe. Sandra found her a secure hotel near Sandra’s home, where Brenda’s situation could be supervised.
Reagan comes to help
Reagan stayed there with Brenda, who was still weak and needed help. The security committee raised money and arranged to rent a house for Brenda, which would be less expensive than the hotel. But at that point, the committee learned that Brenda had left the hotel already and only Reagan remained there.
Sandra advised Reagan to go back home and gave her money to get there. But on May 4, Sandra learned that the police had arrested her.