A prominent LGBT rights activist from Uganda has renounced her homosexuality and is now calling the lifestyle sinful.
Val Kalende, a Ugandan national granted asylum in Canada in 2015 after her country passed its Anti-Homosexuality Act the year before, declared in late July that she’s no longer lesbian and will, in fact, soon be married, according to The Christian Post.
In 2012 and 2014, Kalende authored columns for The Huffington Post, arguing against the country’s anti-gay legislation. In one of the columns, she even wrote, “The church in Africa has become a safety net for homophobia mainly because it is safer to bash gays with the Bible than it is to bash gays with politics.”
She also once served as a fellow at OutRight Action International, formerly known as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
But now, Kalende says she’s been “saved.”
Kalende explained in an interview with the Daily Monitor that her transition away from homosexuality happened roughly one year ago. She waited to make a public profession because she “wanted to take time to do the important work on myself” before speaking out.
When she first came out, Kalende told the news outlet, her parents abandoned her. In her words, she “became an orphan.”
“I became rebellious,” she said. “We always wondered why the world forced us to become girls who do not love men. Right now, I have no peace of mind. I sometimes break down and cry wondering why am like this.”
In an introspective Facebook post published earlier this month, Kalende wondered how she, raised by Christian parents, walked away from her convictions and lived in a lifestyle opposed to her faith for so long.
“I wrestled with this question for many years. I didn’t have answers. My rebellion had separated me from God,” she wrote. “Oftentimes, I read my Bible — particularly Scripture on homosexuality and marriage — but my heart was hardened.”
It wasn’t until Kalende changed her “approach” to God that she began to see her own perspective change. She wrote:
My approach should have been: “Lord, I don’t have answers but I trust and believe your Word. Your intention is not to harm me or prevent me from enjoying life. Your intention is to preserve me; and to give me not the life of my choice but the life I deserve according to your love. Help me to obey your purpose for my life.”
Kalende’s complete turnaround garnered the attention of some Christian activists in the United States.
In a statement to The Christian Post, Mat Staver, founder of the religious freedom law firm Liberty Counsel, descried Kalende as “an incredible example that Jesus Christ can change the heart of even those who have acted adamantly against him.”
“Ms. Kalende’s testimony,” he continued, “is like Saul’s conversion from persecuting Christians to then giving his heart and life to God and becoming Paul. Despite those who want to deny reality, people can and do change.”