Pride 2021: An Open Call For Submissions from the LGBTQIA+ community
The fight continues
The fight continues
There has never been a more urgent need to champion the voices of queer people in our society than there has been in 2021. This year’s theme “The Fight Continues” urges all members of the LGBTQIA+ community and all allies alike to recognise the multitude of battles that the community has been facing through the years. While here in Africa there have been wins across the fort, as countries such as Angola legalised same-sex marriage earlier this year, the fight is far from over in many other countries.
All across the continent, queer people continue to face persecution by those who deliberately misunderstand them and mete out violence against them using law and convention as a justification. Queer people are endlessly denied of their fundamental human rights and for many within the LGBTQIA+ community, being queer or appearing queer is a sure death sentence, particularly due to the harmful religious conditioning that many of us grew up on.
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Last month, the Ghana Police Service arrested 21 people including 16 women and 5 men “suspected to be lesbians, gays, transexual, queer and intersex” by order of the Ho Circuit court for unlawful assembly at the Nurses and Midwives Hotel, Ho. However, none of these people were unlawfully assembling, instead, they were engaging in an activity with a sister organisation based in Ho to strengthen the capacities of the LBQTI+ community. The very nature of their meeting is a crime punishable by imprisonment in Ghana and many other countries across the African continent.
In Cameroon, queer activists are calling for the release of two transgender women, Shakiro and Roland Mouthe for “attempted homosexuality.” Both women have remained in police custody for over two months, awaiting trial for simply choosing to exist as themselves. Similarly, this week, on the eve of the commencement of the annual Pride Month, a time for celebration and acknowledgment of the community’s continued struggle for their rights, the Uganda police raided an LGBTIQ+ centre and arrested 44 people who were present on the premises on grounds of a breach of COVID-19 rules, a tactic that has previously been employed by the Ugandan authorities to justify the arrests of many LGBTQ+ organisers and activists.
Yesterday, Uganda Police raided an LGBTIQ shelter and arrested 44 members of our community. The continued use of COVID restrictions to violate the LGBTIQ+ rights in Uganda continues. #ReleaseThe44
— Sexual Minorities Uganda | SMUG (@SMUG2004) June 1, 2021
However, queer liberation has never been up for debate. As long as African LGBTQIA+ people are oppressed, the whole of Africa is oppressed and there is an urgent need for us to come together as a community and speak out against the continuous violence that goes on in the name of preserving our African culture and traditions.
This Pride Month, the NATIVE is committed to championing the voices of queer activists and people across Africa and the diaspora at large. We recognise the struggles that many of our brothers and sisters in the LGTBQIA+ community face, and we have remained devoted to ensuring that everyone in our community is seen, represented, and celebrated for who they are.
That’s why this month we are opening up our column ‘For Us By Us’ to members of the LGBTQIA+ community across Africa and the diaspora, urging that we tell our own stories about the continued fight for freedom and queer liberation on the continent. This call for submissions is open to everyone alike, including writers, activists, creatives, and anyone passionate about a topic that affects the queer community in Africa. Think of it as our way of giving a voice to those still on the margins who deserve to have their voices amplified, fostering a safe space dedicated exclusively to promoting the stories told by our community through the month of Pride and beyond.
Featured image credits/NATIVE