By Don Simpson | June 10, 2013
Directors: Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall
Like the Nazi propaganda machine, the Christian fundamentalists of Uganda (and some American Evangelicals) worked hand in hand with the popular Ugandan newspaper (that functions more like a gossip tabloid), Rolling Stone, to effectively communicate to the Ugandan population that the LGBTI community was a bunch of disease-carrying rapists who were actively recruiting others to undermine Christianity and destroy the country’s moral fibre. The Ugandan LGBTI community — otherwise known as kuchus — was left three options: go back into the closet, emigrate to a more queer-friendly environment, or stand up for their personal freedoms. Directors Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall had the premonition to document as a group of Ugandan LGBTI activists took a stand against their government. Wright and Zouhali-Worrall conducted a series of interviews with both sides of the issue; without injecting their own opinions and judgments, they admirably allowed everyone to freely speak their mind.
Outed by the Rolling Stone and under constant threat of being turned in by their own family or neighbors, these activists had to walk the fine line of staying safe while inciting change. In most cases, it is the influx of vigilant human rights activists from around the world and the presence of video cameras that serves as the most effective protections for the LGBTI community — Call Me Kuchu serves one of the rare examples of cameras having a [mostly] positive influence on the subjects they seek to capture.
An emotional tsunami, Call Me Kuchu is about sticking together and not conforming to popular opinion despite the ever-present dangers of not abiding by the government’s tyrannical rules; looking forward into the future and making sacrifices for the greater good. While it is impressive to see so most of the Western world stand up to Uganda on this issue, sometimes it can be easier to criticize the follies of others than to point out one’s own faults. Not that I am complaining that the United States took such a firm stand, but it does seem a bit hypocritical, since in most states the LGBTI community is still not permitted the same rights as everyone else; while in many areas of the U.S., the LGBTI community is still the recipient of hatred and violence. So, while watching a documentary about the hardships of the kuchus may seem a bit foreign, it is actually a very relatable topic for Americans to contemplate.