The 2018 Gay Games in Paris is already off to a record setting start and Uganda’s Jay Mulucha is at the helm of the experience. Playing point guard for Uganda with a team he called ‘The Sisters’, a group of athletes from around the world coming together to compete for gold. Jay Mulucha, a trans man, is one of eight athletes from Uganda competing at the Gay Games in Paris, others participating in aquatics, volleyball and bowling. Many African athletes are here thanks to scholarships they received from the 2018 Paris Gay Games organizers, and other financial help that brought them to Paris.
Standing outside the Stade Jean Bouin moments before the Gay Games 10 Opening Ceremony, Mulucha explained to OutSport Magazine that homosexuality and transsexuality are considered imports from white society and abhorrent to African culture. Uganda has zero protections for members of the LGBTQ community and that Same-sex sexual activity is punishable by life imprisonment.
“It’s not in our culture to be gay,” Mulucha explained. “[They believe] we are co-opting the white culture and taking it back to Africa. So the general society is so so homophobic.”
Jay Mulucha was outed in 2010 when his university discovered he was part of the Ugandan “gay community.” The school rescinded his basketball scholarship and cast him out. “I lost it all,” he said. Since then he has started an LBTQ organization in Uganda, FEM Alliance Uganda, designed to help queer people who were assigned female at birth navigate the nation’s society. Mulucha said his organization works on health and legal issues on behalf of the community. One important aspect of his mission involves working behind the scenes with medical providers to offer honest health care to members of the LBTQ community, something he said is difficult to come by.
Now Jay Mulucha is using sports to build bridges. Back home in Uganda, he has created a gay basketball team that he has pushed to be included in a local league. The challenges have been severe. Progress in Uganda is having people simply being willing to talk with you about being gay, and not turning their backs and walking away at the utterance of the word. In the sports world, taking the court to simply play a game as openly members of the LGBTQ community is a huge victory for Jay Mulucha and the people on the team they have helped build.
“We are getting a lot of backlash and challenges,” he said. “They don’t want to associate with gay people in any way. But we force everything to happen. We have been beaten, things have been done, but we are still standing.”
To keep up with Jay and his team, click HERE.
This post was made with excerpts from OutSport