To kick off the New Year I talked with filmmaker Tim McCarthy about his recent trip to Uganda to complete the filming of his documentary "Voices of the Abasiyazzi - Combatting Homophobia in Uganda" that he is producing with Pepe Julian Onziema. Abasiyazzi is the Ugandan equivalent of the American word queer.
McCarthy has been exploring our LGBT community in Uganda since 1999 and filming his documentary on location for the last five years. Tim, who appears in the above picture second from the left with Ugandan LGBT activists Frank Mugisha, Pepe Julian Onziema and Richard Lusimbo, explains that Uganda is 50 years behind our country in achieving LGBT equality.
His work in Uganda also includes teaching video techniques to our Ugandan LGBT community so they can continue to tell their stories. Tim has traveled the world exploring and filming LGBT culture in 91 countries and all seven continents. He has built an incredible LGBT film archive that he is in the process of preserving. I talked to Tim about the inspiration for his work and his spin on our LGBT issues.
When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights McCarthy stated:
I came out at thirteen years old because it was essential to me for my own life. I knew that coming out was my only way to really hold on to who I was because it was something of value that I knew I had. I didn't understand what it was but I knew it was there. My entire life, I'm now 58, has been fighting for LGBTI rights, not just here in the United States but around the planet. My life's dedication is to every single country there is and finding our people, particularly going to non-American, non-Capitalistic, non-Christian places and seeing how LGBTI people live there and of course we have. I've been to 91 countries now and I've never failed to find us. But what's important in that is in our society there's still the understanding in some rightwing quarters that we are not proper and that AIDS was God's revenge and a variety of other crazy things. When you go to non-American, non-Capitalistic, non-Christian places you see that we exist there. So those arguments fundamentally are false and the empirical evidence is inequitable. To me my entire life has been spent fighting for but not just us as a people, to be clear with you, but for me as a person. I deserve to know who I am before I die and that is what I extend to everyone.
Tim McCarthy is an LGBT video historian who has traveled the world since April 1990 in search of LGBT culture in 91 countries so far and all seven continents. Some of Tim's archival footage appeared in the Oscar-nominated documentary "How To Survive A Plague." He is also an award winning filmmaker and has filmed Life Portraits with Harry Hay, James Broughton, Marvin Liebman, Urvashi Vaid, Barney Frank, Edward Albee, Steve Endean, Barbara Gittings and hundreds of others.
He is currently completing his documentary "Voices of the Abasiyazzi - Combatting Homophobia in Uganda" and in the process of preserving his archive of our LGBT stories and Provincetown's video archives at liptv.us.
For More Info: abasiyazzi.com