Gay travel agency funds SMUG scholarship for LGBT student in Uganda

HOUSTON – Concierge Travel, the largest gay-owned and operated travel agency and tour operator in the state of Texas, has announced its support for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a small but important group fighting homophobia in Uganda.

SMUG is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works toward achieving full legal and social equality for LGBT people in Uganda. Concierge Travel has committed to supporting SMUG over four years, providing a scholarship for an LGBT student enrolled at a university in Uganda.

Funds will also be directed toward the group’s health clinic and lobbying efforts that center around such controversial issues such as the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” often called the "Kill The Gays" bill, that was proposed in 2009 by Ugandan parliament member, David Bahati, and would criminalize homosexuality in Uganda. The bill is expected to be considered again when the Ugandan parliament goes back in session in February.

“Gays and lesbians in Uganda face an environment of extreme hostility every day, and their own government is considering ways to further marginalize them,” said Kim Gustavsson, vice president of sales and marketing at Concierge Travel.

“SMUG is on the front lines of the fight for LGBT safety, rights and respect in their country, and we’re thrilled to be able to support their efforts. SMUG has given us an opportunity to reach into the community and make a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people in the Uganda.”

SMUG was created as a coalition of LGBT organizations in March 2004. The organization addresses human rights issues based on sexual orientation and serves as an integral part of the human rights advancement taking place in Uganda.

"We're very grateful to receive this important support from our friends at Concierge Travel," said Frank Mugisha, executive director at SMUG. "Many LGBT people in Uganda suffer in silence, and the support we receive from companies like Concierge Travel helps us reach those LGBT people in need in our own country."

Concierge Travel officials said they believe strongly in supporting the gay and lesbian community both in the United States and worldwide, and donates 20% of its total net travel revenue annually to important LGBT organizations.

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