How would I meet gay teenagers

Touching youth novel "Kampala - Hamburg" : Gay teenagers in two worlds

At some point it was easy enough for David. At the age of 18, the Hamburg student revealed to his parents that he was gay. The father gets a fit of anger, the mother just says, "I've suspected it for a long time," and then David is gone. He finds shelter with his sister Michelle.

But “Kampala - Hamburg” by Lutz van Dijk is not a coming-out novel, but the “novel of an escape”.

Van Dijk tells the novel from two ever changing perspectives, sometimes from David's Hamburg point of view, sometimes from the point of view of the Ugandan David from Kampala. At first both narrative strands run side by side, but thanks to the internet they begin to connect.

“I've guessed that I'm gay since I was little. But I never had a word for it, ”says David from Kampala. His mother knew it before and stands by her 16-year-old son. He spends his first night together with Isaac, son of an influential city councilor. For his father he is "a disgrace to the family".

In Uganda, homosexuality is a matter of life and death

This is how Lutz van Dijk begins his touching novel about the friendship between the two Davids. Both are on the run from the circumstances, only that the circumstances in Hamburg are completely different than in Uganda's capital Kampala. The Hamburg David frequented the mhc, the Magnus-Hirschfeld-Centrum, where LGBT young people meet and where there is a "safe space" for refugees. This gives van Dijk the opportunity to incorporate fates from other countries. So the reader learns a lot about homosexuals in Iran.

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Unlike in Germany, homosexuality in Uganda is a matter of life and death. David's mother also has to find out, a deeply religious nurse, who is desperate at the harsh, inhuman attitude of the otherwise esteemed pastor of her church and enables her son to flee.

The two Davids get to know each other on the Internet

It will be an adventurous journey through Rwanda, Nigeria and Turkey to Hamburg. The two Davids met via an internet platform, and David promises his Ugandan friend to take him in with his sister in Hamburg. “I support the rights of sexual minorities in Africa,” the man from Hamburg wrote in his profile, and that gave David from Kampala courage. They chat over and over again during the escape, as far as the data volume allows.

You know that David finally arrives in Hamburg - the way he crosses the border in Austria is discreetly passed over - but you are excited about him.

Inspired by activist David Kato

Lutz van Dijk took inspiration for his novel from the activist David Kato (1964–2011), who founded the organization “Sexual Minorities Uganda” (SMUG) in 2004. When the Ugandan newspaper “Rolling Stone” published “100 photos of Uganda's top homosexuals - hang them up!” On the front page in 2010, he successfully sued the newspaper. He was murdered three weeks later.

In 2014 Uganda introduced the death penalty for homosexuals, and the government has repeatedly tried to restrict the rights of queer people more and more. "Kampala - Hamburg" shows what commitment can do for others - and how prejudices can be overcome.

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