Why is Africa so Homophobic?

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For about a week or two I have been at loggerheads with myself about why I have not been writing and updating my blog and some of the things that came to mind was why on earth I started the blog itself in the first place when I cannot even make a coherent relevant interesting post, not even once! A while back I could write a post a day. Now I find it hard. Not that there isn’t anything to write about but just the mere fact that the time to do so is not enough and maybe even the zeal to do so. And its not like I cannot write, its not like I don’t have the ideas…you know what? You get the drift. Now back to my question.

Why is Africa and africans so homophobic? What is our problem? Is it that we do not understand what homophobia is? Is it that we do not understand what homosexuality is? Are we really that myopic or are we deliberately ignorant? What ails us? Mind you, I will not go about putting links and definitions here about what I have read, what I have seen and all the posts I have been looking at. I will just ramble on at this because It has been poking at me for a while. But then again. I believe it is important I do so where I can.

Recently, Malawi sentenced a “gay” couple to 14 years in jail. Why do I say “gay”? Because if you read carefully the correct stories and the judgement itself, you will realise that Tiwonge is indeed transgender and not gay. Thus, she identifies as a woman! Fine, the point here isn’t her trans identity, rather it is the fact that they were jailed for loving one another. If my memory serves me right, (I am being lazy) they were charged with “acts of gross indecency”. My question is, if that was indeed gross indecency, shouldnt it have been the big crowd invited to the engagement ceremony that would have gone to court and complain about being shown yuky stuff in public? If it was indeed indecent, then who are the ones who felt disgusted? How come they had so many guests? In the end, it was a sad and wrong move that the Malawian courts made and surely that sentence will haunt them for days to come. What is my view on this?

Love is an interesting thing we have. It is an emotion as well as a virtue. These people were not accorded love by anyone. I wonder how Jesus feels like at that moment. These are two people who love each other. They were jailed using an archaic law that goes against the most basic human rights principles that even the Malawian constitution claims to uphold. Therefore, if the constitution says they have been accorded rights and they have now been jailed, aren’t we treating them as less human? It is very sad.

Neighboring Uganda has been considering a piece of legislation that will ensure that I cannot write about homosexuals in Uganda and if I am found I will be jailed for 7 years. My HIV positive gay Ugandan friend cannot be seen in public with me because if for any reason I want to wipe a spec of dust from his cheek then I am jailed for life and he is executed since he is positive and gay! Talk about retroactive steps! My! When I saw the bill, I couldn’t believe my eyes! And then I watched this youtube video and it further opened my eyes. It is a dangerous piece of legislation that will end up hurting the whole of Uganda rather than the targeted group. My view?

With all honesty, how does two people enjoying each others company affect me? Lies have been spread that if we allow homosexual people in the world we will all die. Seriously? As in do you hear that statement? We will all die? Jeez! Its not even possible statistically!

Last but not least, the Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya on May 17th celebrated IDAHO as I stated here. This week, I heard rumours that the Inter Religious Forum was suing the National Museums of Kenya for hosting the event in what they called “allowing the commission of acts of gross indecency in a public space”. So I beg to question. Here was a genuine celebration by two genuine and legal NGOs with guests coming from all sectors of the society; rich, gay, poor, lesbian, high society, straight, yuppies, bisexual…i mean, the guests were diverse and vast. The media was even there, the international representatives were there. I mean, can I even start thinking about the sillyness of that statement? Aren’t gays, lesbians, transgender and intersex people PEOPLE? Aren’t they taxpayers? And since when was it a crime to congregate? I am at a loss of words!

I never wanted to do a lengthy post but all these things triggered my somewhat angry mood this week and I just had to vent it all out.

Some day, we will be able to understand the human rights concept. Someday.

Somehow. But, is it this>>

May 17th is IDAHO

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The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every May 17 around the world.

It is coordinated by the Paris based “IDAHO Committee” founded and presided by French academics, Louis-Georges Tin. It is celebrated in more than 50 countries in the world, and recognised officially by the European Union, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Mexico, Costa-Rica, etc.

The international day against homophobia aims to coordinate international events to call respect for lesbians and gays worldwide. Unlike theLGBT Pride Day, which is meant to emphasise proudness of one’s sexuality and refusal to be ashamed of it, IDAHO is held to highlight:

“… that in reality it is homophobia that is shameful and must be deconstructed in its social logic and fought against openly.”

May 17 was chosen as the day of the event because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17, 1990.[3]

(Source: Wikipedia)

Today marks an important day in the calendars of the LGBTI community and other supportive mainstream human rights organisations and movements. It is a day, as stated in the above text, set aside for all LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual and Intersex) persons to stand in solidarity against homophobia and transphobia.

Here in Kenya, the day is being commemorated by KHRC (Kenya Human Rights Commission), the one led by L.Muthoni Wanyeki and GALCK (Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya). I think there is something about it on their websites. This year, Kenya is paying particular focus on Transgender and Transphobia. There is also a newspaper Feature by The Standard on today’s paper. Sadly, thanks to useless website they have, I can’t find a link.

Kenyans know little about this day and its events and more-so the reason why it is commemorated. I do not intend to make a lengthy post about it but I would like to highlight a few things to note.

First, we remember the debacle that happened in Mtwapa in the recent past. That was outright homophobia in action. But first, lets see these two words in definition (Wikipedia).

Homophobia: Homophobia is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards homosexuality and people identified or perceived as being homosexual. Definitions refer variably to antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, and irrational fear. Homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behavior such asdiscrimination and violence on the basis of a non-heterosexual orientation. In a 1998 address, author, activist, and civil rights leader Coretta Scott Kingstated that “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.”

Transphobia: Transphobia (or less commonly, transprejudice and trans-misogyny, the latter referring to transphobia directed toward transwomen) refers to discrimination against transsexualism and transsexual or transgender people, based on the expression of their internal gender identity (see Phobia – terms indicating prejudice or class discrimination). Whether intentional or not, transphobia can have severe consequences for the target of the negative attitude. Many transpeople also experience homophobia from people who incorrectly associate their gender identity with homosexuality. Attacking someone on the basis of a perception of their gender identity rather the perception of their sexual orientation is known as “trans-bashing,” as opposed to “gay bashing.”

What happened in Mtwapa was indeed homophobia, based on religious fundamentalism and extremism. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has a right to religion but the most basic right of all is the one found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I mentioned it here. It is clear that none should infringe on these basic rights, which include freedom of conscience and right to privacy. These are but some of the rights that sexual minorities (the general term used to describe minority groups marginalized on a sexual basis, including sex workers) are not accorded to and further more are infringed upon by society.

It is my wish that, as this day is marked and passes, that we as Kenyans and more so as human beings, can reach into our human core and say NO TO HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA. This cause is important and it is imperative that we all understand why every human being should be free from such acts of human rights violations.

And with that, I rest my case. I have been lax on writing about human rights and my activism but I hope I shed more light on this aspect of our lives as time goes by.

Thank you for reading and for supporting. I am very happy to interact with such wonderful persons such as YOU GUYS!!!

XOXO!

29 Years Later, RIP Bob Marley!

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Bob Marley

Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley (February 6, 1945 – May 11, 1981) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the skarocksteady and reggae bands The Wailers (1964–1974) and Bob Marley & The Wailers (1974–1981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited for helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience.[1]

Marley’s best known hits include “I Shot the Sheriff“, “No Woman, No Cry“, “Could You Be Loved“, “Stir It Up“, “Jamming“, “Redemption Song“, “One Love” and, together with The Wailers, “Three Little Birds“,[2] as well as the posthumous releases “Buffalo Soldier” and “Iron Lion Zion“. The compilation album, Legend (1984), released three years after his death, is reggae’s best-selling album, being 10 times Platinum(Diamond) in the U.S.,[3] and selling 20 million copies worldwide.[4][5]

(Source: Wikipedia)

The above is the first two paragraphs of Bob’s page on Wikipedia. I am not much of a reggae fan, but I did love his music and I did love his activism. Its these kind of people that this world needs. Movers of time. Changers of perceptions. Shakers of history.

I loved his music. I still love his music. Those songs make you wanna mellow around. Feel all strong again. And if you like Activism like me, especially human rights, you feel his music to the core!

He died because of illness and the sad part is, he felt the life going out of him :(. He died at 36 yrs. Imagine. Makes you wonder why such influencers die so quickly.

Still Resting in Peace. Hail BOB MARLEY!

Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley (February 6, 1945 – May 11, 1981)

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