By Drazen Jorgic and Philippa Croome

KAMPALA Sun Mar 9, 2014 6:27am EDT
(Reuters) - With a World Bank scholarship and top grades in the first year of her masters degree in agriculture, 27-year-old Cleo Kambugu should be well on the road to her goal of an academic career in Uganda.

Instead, she's working out how to leave after the passing of a law that toughens prison sentences for homosexuality and a tabloid campaign to "out" gays.

"There is totally no hope right now," said Kambugu, still legally a man despite a sex change in the last year that is not recognized by Uganda, a nation that now has some of the toughest anti-gay laws on a continent where 37 states ban homosexuality.

She worries about her safety on the streets after the newspaper Red Pepper slapped her picture on its front page under the headline "How we became homos". The paper said such articles were in the public interest. Rights groups say it simply encourages people to take the law into their own hands.

The bill, signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni on February 24, has forced embattled gays deeper into the shadows, by threatening life in jail for "aggravated homosexuality" and a seven-year term for "aiding and abetting homosexuality".

Looks like they are in deep shit.