Diane Sydney Bakuraira is a Ugandan Human Rights Defender. She has working experience in customer service and operations with FedEx and DHL Uganda. While working there, she played a part in the formation of the LGBT movement in Uganda and has since engaged in human rights advocacy and protection work and activism since 2001. She is the co-founder and team leader of Uganda Kuchu Aquatics (UKAT) an all-inclusive LGBTIQ swim team for the LGBTIQ community in Uganda.
Diane is a parent, peer counselor and a trained community paralegal and currently holds the position of Administrative and Membership Officer at Sexual Minorities Uganda since 2013. She is a part of the reactors team that responds to safety & security cases against LGBTIQ persons in Uganda.
Diane has supported and worked with Bishop Christopher Senyonjo at St. Paul's Reconciliation and Equality Center to mobilize the LGBTIQ community which has seen a growth of members involved in conversations around their sexuality and spirituality. She has participated and contributed to the interfaith conference at ILGA which saw the birth of the Global Interfaith Network (GIN) where she is now a participating member.
While capacity-building at SMUG, she was also a board member of the Universal Coalition of Affirming Africans (UCAA) established to advocate for inclusion of the most vulnerable groups of people in Uganda with specific focus on LGBTQ+ people, Women and Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs).
Diane is a graduate from the Wawa Aba institute that is led by Reverend Andrea Vassel and which helps strengthen and build knowledge and leadership skills of women. She helps pursue opportunities for LBQ women in Uganda to take up leadership positions in spiritual settings and engages in conversations that empower women in their faith and financially. Diane is also the co-founder of Women Of Faith in Action (WOFA), an all-inclusive women’s led organization with a spirituality background.
Diane began her activism with Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) which had been founded in 2003 as an organization of lesbian, bisexual and queer persons that advocates for feminist culture and women’s rights. Diane worked as an administrator with FARUG from 2008-2011. In 2013, she was elected chair of the board of FARUG and served in that position through 2015.
Through the different life journey, Diane’s faith has continued to be an important part of her life and she felt the need to play a role in reconciling LGBTIQ persons and spirituality amidst the indifference of some religious communities and leaders. She learned of the ground-breaking ministry of Bishop Christopher Senyonjo at the St. Paul’s Reconciliation and Equality Centre (SPREC) and started working there in 2011. In 2012, she traveled with the bishop to Sweden for a conference that led to the formation of the Global Interfaith Network (GIN), in which Diane continues to be involved.
From 2017-2019, Diane served on the board of the Universal Coalition of Affirming Africans (UCAA) as the LGBTQ representative. Her role was to assist and guide the progressive religious leaders to understand LGBTQ issues and the different ways they could support LGBTQ advocacy. During this experience, she met and got involved with the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM) which began a congregation in Kampala in 2018 where LGBTQ persons could gather for worship, pastoral counseling and spiritual development.
Recognizing the importance of LGBTQ persons striving for social inclusion in varied settings, Diane helped found Uganda Kuchu Aquatics (UKAT) in 2016. This LGBTQ and all-inclusive swim team competed in Canada in 2016, in the U.S. in 2017, at the 2018 Gay Games and at World Pride in 2019. Unfortunately, the pandemic of Covid-19 held back Diane and the team from international competitions for a couple years, but still remains a part of the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics Association.
Empowering women continues to be at the core of Diane’s activism. This is vivid through her leading role in the 2019 Womanist Theological and Leadership Conference co-sponsored by the Wawa Aba Institute and the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. Also that year she co-founded Women of Faith in Action that advocates for inclusion of women in all spaces of leadership in Uganda.
Diane holds a bachelors degree in Applied information technology and is a trained community paralegal and currently holds the position of Linking and Learning Officer with Sexual Minorities Uganda; whilst being a part of the Rights Evidence Action team that responds to safety & emergency cases against LGBTIQ persons in Uganda. In addition to that, she is an active Team Leader at Women of Faith in Action(WOFA) and oversees the organizational work and service to the community, an LGBTIQ activists and Human Rights Defender.
(This biographical profile written by Mark Bowman from an interview with Diane Bakuraira and edited by Bakuraira.)
Biography Date: April 2023
Uganda | International Human Rights | Women's spirituality | The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM) | Senyonjo, Christopher
“Diane Bakuraira | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed June 02, 2023, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/diane-bakuraira.