into the nightlife

The Gay Bar In Uganda’s Capital Has An Armed Guard

We wish we could’ve been Kaj Hasselriis’ wingman as he hunted down what must be one of the only gay bars in Kampala. And it wasn’t even a gay bar, but a once-a-week gay night at a bar (that happens to be owned by lesbians, huh!).

He writes: “I hired one of Kampala’s ubiquitous motorcycle taxis to take me to a school near the city’s main university. When the boda driver dropped me off, I walked down a long, dark, lonely stretch of gravel road until I found a neon sign with the name of the bar. Tingling with excitement, I passed an armed security guard and walked in. The bar was like a giant open-air beer tent, surrounded by a tall wooden fence. On one side was a stage, where a portly emcee was trying to coax people to sing karaoke. On the other side were pool tables. And at the very back was a small bar area with a DJ booth. There, about 20 men were gathered, laughing and putting their arms around each other. […] Under an enormous, yellow moon, I met a ton of new friends. The first was a tall, flamey travel agent who introduced himself as Long Jones. Then, I met a cute bulldyke with a shaved head named Stosh, a young guy in casual business clothes named Blessed and a short, nattily-dressed boy in a sweater vest and cap who spells his name ‘Ryan’ but prefers to go by ‘Ree-ann.’ If it bothered them to be living in one of the world’s most homophobic countries — facing what could be one of the world’s most homophobic laws — they didn’t show it. Everyone I met seemed unbelievably happy.”

Hasselriis is on right in this photo. On left is his new bar friend, Blessed, who agreed to have his face used in the photo. Let’s just pray it doesn’t end up in Red Pepper.