Juliet Victor Mukasa, human rights defender, and activist from Uganda claimed his identity as a Transgender Lesbian and started speaking out in the local media about the oppression of LGBTIQ+ people in Uganda in around 2002.
Uganda is known to have a zero-tolerance policy towards homosexuality and on 5 July 2005, the Ugandan government voted for a constitutional amendment to the effect that “marriage is lawful only if entered into between a man and woman” and that it was “unlawful for same-sex couples to marry.” During this time, when mainstream media and many AIDS activists articulated homophobic viewpoints, Victor continued to speak out as an individual and as founder and chairperson of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).
On 20 July 2005, Victor’s house was raided by the police without a search warrant. They were looking for documents relating to the activities of SMUG. Victor was not home at the time of the raid and the police confiscated documents and arbitrarily arrested Yvonne Oyhoo, who happened to be at Victor’s house at the time. After suffering humiliating and degrading treatment from the police, Yvonne was released on the condition that she had to return the following morning with the chairperson of SMUG.
Following the raid, Mukasa publicly declared his intent to sue the Ugandan government for violation of his and Yvonne’s human rights. Soon after this, he started getting threats from government officials to withdraw the case. He went into hiding with the help of Amnesty International and several other regional and international human rights organisations, first within Uganda and eventually in South Africa until the trial started.