On the outskirts of Kampala, in a small signless office at the end of a dirt track, activist David Kato labors to stop the seemingly endless cycle of fear and persecution suffered by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Uganda, where newspapers routinely scream such headlines as: “HOMO TERROR! We Name and Shame Top Gays in the City,” and those convicted of homosexual conduct can be sentenced to life imprisonment. But David’s formidable task has just become ten times harder: a new “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” in Uganda’s Parliament proposes, among other things, a prison sentence for anyone who fails to turn in a gay family member, and religious leaders have started orchestrating ferocious anti-gay marches through the streets of Kampala.
As if that weren’t enough, the dreaded finally happens: photos of Stosh, an HIV+ transman, are plastered across a local tabloid, forcing him into hiding. In the midst of this chaos, it falls to the indignant and occasionally foulmouthed David, along with an idiosyncratic clan of fellow activists, to fight for Kampala’s kuchus in the press, in the churches, and in the courts.
Shot in high definition on the Canon 5D Digital SLR, CALL ME KUCHU gains unprecedented access to a tumultuous period in the life of four Ugandan kuchus, revealing the astounding courage and determination required not only to battle an oppressive government, but also to maintain religious conviction in the face of the contradicting rhetoric of a powerful national church.
In painting a rare portrait of an activist community and its antagonists, we ask: Can this small but spirited group bring about political and religious change in Uganda?