an(other) open letter to pride toronto

Dear committee (and communities)

Thank you for the (growing) fiya this time, evident not only with word on the ground, the press conference featuring the return of accolades by 20+ former Pride grand marshals, honoured dykes and award recipients, but even more poignantly in the packed house that was the “our pride includes free speech” community meeting.

Clearly, we the people are not, have never been in the minority, and there are more of us who are fed up with the oppressive trends that have pride toronto aligned not WITH  the community but with the ‘big boys’….

In the spirit of rebuilding solidarity, I offer one other example of the many gaps that we have all the power to redress…..

 If I was to (not so) randomly pick just one request for funding as a concrete example of where to divert some of the proceeds from ‘Pride’, it would be (something like) alexa’s story.

http://www.gaykenya.com/our-activities/equality-fund/3707.html

Given the efficient corporate machine the committee has been for years now (depending on where you look at it from), token monetary awards to more LGBTTIQ individuals and groups in poorer nations would be another concrete way to not only build solidarity among global queer/trans communities but steps closer to (re)politicizing the mission of Pride being carried out by ‘the powers that be’……yes, the community discussions are important, but to make it plain, we need more than all this talk……

The Shame awards that were presented to the ‘official’ Pride Toronto committee and the return of so many awards by previous honoured folks this morning, is one of the many obvious signs that the decision to ban Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) because of the words ‘israeli apartheid’ is one in a long line of historical shifts that have distanced the committee from the ‘realness’ in the diversity of our communities.

The truth is that all the missteps of the committee are fingers pointed straight at our own complacency and distance from the political work behind not only our own civil rights, but those of brothers and sisters around the world.

The truth is, the fight for peace is far from over, and as much as we have alot to celebrate, we cannot rest until all oppressed people are also free. It should be more simple really, like this hadithi…..

ALEXA’S STORY: BANDA PROJECT

In February 2010, the LGBTI community in Mtwapa experienced an unprecedented attack from neighbors fueled by various rumored versions of a gay wedding. The most repeated version was that a popular gay man joked to his barber during a haircut that he was grooming himself up to get married to his boyfriend. The barber took offense and reported news of the planned gay wedding to his local mosque. The congregation was then instructed by their imam to monitor social events that weekend. Local radio stations, Kaya FM, Baraka FM and Rahma FM and national stations Kiss FM and Classic FM were to pick up the story and run with it. Together the stations have a great grassroots reach and influence.

On the said wedding day, angry youth stormed KEMRI offices in Kilifi to flush out the gay couple that was to wed. Yusuf X. “Alexa” was considered partner to the groom, the media covered his story and published his pictures. 

Alexa is now much sought after in his hometown. GALCK has since resettled him in Nairobi, but he wishes to relocate to Voi to start a business, and continue with his life.

Alexa shared a business proposal to manage a banda (food kiosk) in Voi, serving Coastal delicacies and fast foods. He will also stock telephone airtime. Voi is moderately promising for business and prospective clients will include mostly middle level income residents and travelers.

 

Budget (in Kenya shillings)

  Unit Unit Cost Total
       
Resettlement Costs      
Transportation, Nairobi-Mombasa-Voi 1 8000 8000
House Rent: Deposit, 2 months Rent 3 4500 13500
House Utilities (Electricity, Water): Deposits, 2 months 3 2000 6000
Food, Upkeep, Emergencies, First month 1 10000 10000
Business Costs      
Banda Rent: Deposit, 2 months Rent 3 3500 10500
Banda Utilities (Electricity, Water, Gas): Deposits, 2 months 3 3000 9000
Banda Opening Stock 1 20000 20000
Banda Set Up: Kitchenware, Furniture, Misc. 1 16000 16000
Administration Costs      
Transport, FB Accommodation, 5 visits, 1 staff 5 6000 30000
Phone follow ups 10 100 1000
Alexa, survey trip: Transport, FB Accommodation 1 6000 6000
Discretionary Funds (Contingencies, Emergencies) 1 10000 10000
  Total:   140,000

 

Monitoring and Evaluation

An Organizing Committee of the G-Kenya Trust Executive, and Board of the Equality Fund is formed to provide oversight for the Banda Project.

The Advocacy and Media Liaison at G-Kenya Trust will supervise the Banda Project by:

 1.    Accompanying Alexa on an initial visit to Voi to survey the neighborhood, and confirm budget lines, and the viability of the business plan—tentatively on the weekend of June 8th/9th.

2.       Reporting on the initial survey visit, discussing proposed timelines for implementation, and seeking approval for implementation of the project from the Organizing Committee in the week ending June 11th.

3.       Accompanying Alexa on a second visit to implement the project, i.e.: purchase of materials and stock, signing of leases, and utility contracts, tentatively by the weekend of June 11th/12th.

4.      Phone monitoring and supporting Alexa on the progress and challenges of the business every two weeks between June 15th and September 15th.

5.       Physical monitoring (visiting) thrice, to track growth, and challenges, on or around the weekends of July 16th, August 20th and September 17th, evaluating project challenges and seeking appropriate institutional remedies.

6.      Reporting monthly, after every physical visit, to the Organizing Committee on the progress of the project.

Donations

Please send donations via:

M-Pesa to 0700 718585

Direct Debit to the Kenya Gay and Lesbian Trust, Account No.: CA2-1200004266, NIC Bank Ltd., NIC House, Masaba Rd.

(Please call us on [+254] 0700 718585 after the transaction so we can confirm receipt).

http://www.gaykenya.com/

blogger’s note: and in other (q werd) news on the ground, with more steps forward, Brazil’s President Lula decrees National Day Against Homophobia…….

Attending the request of ABGLT (Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals and Trans Association), on Friday June 4th, Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, (on the eve of São Paulo’s 14th LGBT Pride March,)  signed a decree creating the National Day Against Homophobia, to be commemorated annually on May 17th. The Decree was published in the Official Gazette, today, Monday June 7th (text below).

The news was received on Friday evening by ABGLT’s president during the 10th Citizenship and Respect for Diversity Awards, held by the São Paulo LGBT Pride Association.   

According to Toni Reis, ABGLT’s president, “the Decree is the governmental recognition that homophobia exists in Brazil and that concrete actions are needed to reduce or eliminate prejudice, discrimination and stigma against the LGBT community. We hope that Brazil’s example will be followed by the 75 countries where homosexuality is a crime and in the 7 countries where the death penalty exists for homosexuals”, he said. Reis also congratulated the federal government, in particular the Human Rights Secretariat of the President’s Office, for its efforts in approving the Decree.

The Decree adds to the list of honoured campaign proposals made prior to president Lula’s second term of office (2007-2010): the continuity of the Brazil Without Homophobia Programme; the holding of the 1st National LGBT Conference; the creation of the National LGBT Coordination, the National LGBT Council and the National Plan to Promote LGBT Citizenship and Human Rights. While the national Legislative Branch has failed to approve any laws that would guarantee the equal rights of the LGBT community, the Judiciary and Executive Branches have shown, through decisions and actions, that Brazil respects its Federal Constitution, articles 3 and 5 of which state that there will be no discrimination and that all people are equal before the law, without distinction of any nature. 

May 17th 1990 was the date on which the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organizations highest decision making body, removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. Since then the data has been celebrated internationally as the Day Against Homophobia.

It is one of ABGLT’s strategies that the Brazilian states and municipalities recognize the Day Against Homophobia through laws or decrees. The day already exists officially in 9 states: Amazonas, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba, Paraná and Santa Catarina; and in at least 15 municipalities: Lauro de Freitas-BA, Alfenas-MG, Itaúna-MG,

Cuiabá-MT, Rondonópolis-MT, Picos-PI, Curitiba-PR, Francisco Beltrão-PR, Natal-RN, Mesquita-RJ, Rio Grande-RS, Florianópolis-SC, Joinville-SC, Campinas-SP and Ribeirão Preto-SP (www.abglt.org.br/port/leis_homofobia.php)

Further information

 Toni Reis – President, ABGLT: +55 41 9602 8906

Carlos Magno – Communications Secretary, ABGLT: +55 31 8817 1170

 DECREE DATED JUNE 4TH 2010 

Creates the National Day Against Homophobia.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, in the use of the attributions conferred upon him by article 84, items II and VI, sub-item “a”, of the Federal Constitution,

 

D E C R E E S :

 

Article. 1 – May 17th is hereby established as the National Day Against Homophobia.

 

Article 2 – This Decree shall come into force on the date of its publication.

 

Brasília, June 4th 2010; 189th year of Independence and 122nd year of the Republic.

 

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA

Paulo de Tarso Vannuchi

 

(Official Gazette.  No. 106, Monday June 7th 2010, Section 1 – Page 5)