HQ Commends Queers Leap In Zimbabwe 
Queer & Proud: Pride parade/A Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash
QUEER FRO

HQ Commends Queers Leap In Zimbabwe

Happy for everyone that gets to express their queerness on their own terms, the groups said. 

Harare Queers (HQ), a collection of queer bodies seeking to redefine the socio-political climate for queers in Zimbabwe through events and discussions that celebrate queerness, has commended the recent upsurge visibility of queer movements in the South African country as a “dream come true”.

In a series of tweets issued on the collective’s official Twitter platform, the Harare-based syndicate of sexual minority groups wrote:

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HQ, which was launched in last December, went further to say that 2020 was a year for queer people to “reclaim their spaces”.

“…queerness should have access to every space,” wrote the collective.

The statement comes just under a day after South African queer activist, writer and producer Raymond Motadi, better known as Mon D the Gay Superhero, tweeted that being assaulted for being openly gay gave him a staggering amount of bravery.

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The fire propelling the young presenter has even motivated him to start his own production company, Mond Motadi Productions, which aims to be a space that opens the industry to relatable entertainment for young queer folk.

In much of Africa where the majority of the fifty-four countries ban homosexuality, and where it’s punishable by death in four countries, identifying as queer requires colossal courage. Hate crimes against the group are looked over by society, and their issues don’t receive the same amount of attention when it comes to advocacy work or lobbying. Their rights and needs are ignored or deemed not significant enough to be championed.

Sometimes, hostility directed at queer people is stoked by the very governments that should be protecting them. Human rights organisations reports have established that across the continent the group is susceptible to both physical and sexual violence and many live in chronic dread. They are taunted, threatened, fired from their jobs, thrown out of their homes, or worse: beaten, stoned, raped, or killed.

Fundamentally, two distinct narratives dominate the discourse relating to African sexualities. The narrative of “sexual colonialism” describes queer sexuality as an un-African colonial cultural residue. Advocates of sexual colonialism deny the existence of queerness on the African continent and further pathologise it as a perversion imposed upon and adopted by the African population during the era of imperial control.

Conversely, the “sexually-deviant African” narrative views pre-colonial Africa as a hypersexual society that was remedied by the imposition of “white Euro-American sexual norms and gender expressions”.

Although contradictory, where the sexual colonialism narrative views queer identity itself as un-African, while the sexually-deviant African narrative sees diverse sexualities as inherently African, both narratives manifest themselves to varying degrees in the laws and practices relating to queer identities in Africa.

Resistance to queerness in African is at least partially rooted in the language used to describe non-heteronormative sexualities. Many of the most familiar terms, such as the acronym LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer), are sourced in western studies of non-heteronormativity and are therefore assumed to express western conceptions of sexuality.

Some academics argue that western frameworks are not useful in the African context, urging researchers to express ideas in an “African” manner when exploring the anthropology of the African continent.

According to Sylvia Tamale, a prominent Ugandan academic, although there is a tendency to “uncritically apply standard western research indicators and assumptions” to the African context, there is still “a lot of sense in using existing theoretical bases as a starting point and then correcting/revising them in light of the contextual evidence collected in current studies”. To do otherwise would involve the unnecessary enterprise of reinventing the wheel.

Well, the narrative is fast changing in Zimbabwe, according to Harare Queers. Now that more queer people are unapologetically rising up across the continent, with publications of various LGBT-themed works, it’s a significant win in a protracted fight for equality. We just hope that the climate gets better and that victories like this one are not followed by crushing disappointments.

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QUEER FRO

A writer, storyteller, essayist, blogger and news junkie who balances literary writing and pop culture experience. I love to captivate raw, authentic sights, moments, feelings and conversations. Overall, I do and share the cool stuff with the world. Follow me on Twitter @mcafrikazim

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