(re) introducing the q[/t] werd: a video diary

It ain’t no mystery that we (been) preparing for dis’ (not-so) new film & video projects: nekkyd & the Q[/T] werd. 

season 1 features 32[+4]stories en the magic is in  retelling of OUR stories

some of the [extra] ordinary people featured [en behind the scenes] include: anitafrika dub theatre, blackness yes! and blockorama, bombastic kasha, bunge la mwananchi, bredrin and dadas in solidarity, colour me dragg, [is] the crux, deb singh, Elijah Masinde, elimu sanifu, faith Nolan, funkasia, the funketeers, gender education and advocacy project, house of munro, Ishtar, kalmplex, nikki mawanda, nneke dumele, red lips. cages for black girls, swagger, tajudeen abdul raheem, victor mukasa, en the Yoruba house project

A love letter to rafikis, [aka.] bredrin and dadas in solidarity.

 

b is for blackness yes! and blockorama

eudy2a word from the blogger: I’m re/posting this because I think Patrick is talking about some important strategies…for the West. I’m not advocating for east afrikan queers & trannies to go out onto the streets and hold hands (jus yet) because I fear it’d be putting people in needless danger.

What I would strongly urge though is for queers & trannies in Canada, the U.K, the States….. to organise protests in solidarity with east afrikan communities. These past few weeks have been filled with backlash.

Uganda. Bill 18. Rwanda. Article 217. Kenya. 2 gay men were arrested in Mombasa & 2 lesbians were arrested in Kisumu… more on that in the following posts…

repost: Patrick Strudwick, The Guardian UK, Tuesday October 20th

I came out of the closet when I was 14, but rarely have I held another man’s hand in public. I’m a pragmatist. The feeling of cosy belonging might be delightful in theory, but as a gay person, it’s not that simple – it necessitates a constant risk assessment of one’s surroundings.

Which may explain why my hands are sweating. I’m standing outside The George and Dragon, a gay pub on east London‘s Hackney Road, waiting to meet a man who has agreed to walk hand in hand with me. You might think that these days people would barely notice. But things have changed. We’re in the midst of a new wave of anti-gay hate crimes: since April there has been a 14% rise nationwide in attacks on gay people. There were four homophobic murders in London last year; last week Ian Baynham died a fortnight after being attacked in Trafalgar Square. In summer mobs of youths besieged gay bars in east London. And, just a few metres from where I’m standing, a 21-year-old man was left paralysed last year after a gang stabbed him repeatedly. Gay people are getting scared. I’m scared.

The man I’m meeting is Dave Atkins, the mercifully tall and broad founder of A Day in Hand, an organisation dedicated to encouraging gay people to hold hands in public. “You have to go out and do it,” he booms. “It’s the only way things will change.”

He grabs my hand. We pass an elderly woman who stares straight ahead. Next come a couple in their 30s with two young children. They seem incomprehensibly absorbed in what their toddler is doing. A man saunters by. He clocks our clasped hands before looking away. Was that a hostile look?

“Let’s go up here,” I say, leading Dave into the Boundary estate where those mobs are rumoured to have come from. We pass a group of youths. They appear to find their iPhones more compelling than the sight of two interlocked homosexuals. At Whitechapel market a pair of bargain hunters glance first at us, down at our hands, and back to the two-for-ones.

Then something shocking happens. We turn into a quiet side street. Dave and I are engrossed in our conversation. Suddenly I jolt with the realisation that I have forgotten we are holding hands. “That’s the Holy Grail,” says Dave, “being so comfortable you don’t even think about it.”

We head into the West End and provoke nothing more than a cursory glance. Our final destination is Trafalgar Square. Last month, Ian Baynham, 62, was kicked to death here. There’s a din coming from somewhere – a man is on the first ridge of Nelson’s column preaching the message of the ‘Good Book’. “Let’s climb up next to him!” I cry. The sight of a preacher on Nelson’s column with two gay men holding hands next to him is starting to draw crowds. A lesbian couple spot us, scramble up and join our silent show of defiance. “The Lord will save you,” says the preacher. He didn’t save Ian Baynham, I think.

“I’m genuinely surprised,” I tell Dave afterwards as we say our goodbyes. “I was expecting at least some nasty comments.” “You see?” he replies, beaming.

But I know that today I was lucky; that at night things could have been different.

global human rights

By Mongezi Mhlongo (BTM Senior Reporter)

RWANDA: As the Rwandan government sums up the process of reviewing that country’s draft penal code, the Civil Society Coalition on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people’s rights has expressed concerns about article 217 of the legislation which criminalises homosexual conduct.
 
This law which also seeks to bar any initiatives aiming to protect LGBTI rights has been strongly condemned by civil society groups in that country.

According to the Civil Society Coalition on LGBTI rights, a coalition formed to advocate for the removal of article 217 in the draft penal code, this section of the penal code is contradictory to the Rwandan Constitution and it is a violation of human rights.

The coalition also stated that article 217 is a “betrayal” of Rwanda’s recent history and the political drive of national unity, tolerance, inclusiveness and dialogue among the Rwandan citizens without discrimination.

Early this year, the parliament of Rwanda adopted Article 191 which states that any person who encourages or sensitises people of the same sex, to sexual relations or any sexual practices, shall be liable for a term of imprisonment ranging from five to ten years and a fine from 50 000 to 500 000 Francs.

Commenting about the Bill, Naome Ruzindana, Director of Horizon Community Association (HOCA) stated that LGBTI people are law abiding citizens who deserve peace and respect like any other Rwandan citizens.

“We feel very disappointed to be marginalized by our people, own country, state, society, community, civil society, stake holders, and our own families”, she said.

Meanwhile President Paul Kagame of Rwanda revealed plans to include a provision that would penalise homosexual conduct which appeared in Article 158 of the draft penal code of 2007 but was not passed into law.

Over the years Rwandan government has been mum about LGBTI issues, and the current bill comes as major blow for the LGBTI community in Rwanda.

tdot39 (40)Michael Madill, The Daily Monitor, Monday October 19th
Do you know the fear which arrives with the knock on the door in the middle of the night?  If you were an outspoken opponent of any government from 1962 until today you felt it even if it never happened to you.  Do you know the terror of women who lived through the civil war in Luweero or LRA atrocities in the north?  They went out every day knowing they faced rape and murder, suffering because they were women.

If you are a gay man or woman living in Uganda today, then you carry the same burden of persecution for your identity.  You risk death or torture or public humiliation at the hands of a community blinded by hate and religious dogma.  Your plight is about to worsen, since another bill making you illegal will soon pass into law.

Gay people are not the only ones who should fear the new bill criminalising homosexuality.  Measures which make who you are a crime are easy to manipulate.  It’s easy to persecute gay people in Uganda because they are a very small group which has no political or mainstream social support.

If you think those two groups deserve what they get, then recall the days not so long ago when you felt unfairly targeted for what you are.  The last 47 years were not kind to many of us.  So it is astonishing that we seem to have learned nothing about the importance of diversity to stability and development.

How will the new law be enforced?  Arrests and prosecutions will almost always result from denunciations.  Since you can’t tell a gay man or woman just by looking, everyone is at risk.  This puts power into the hands of the snitch, the aggrieved spouse or employee, the wronged friend or election opponent.  Once you are branded, the stigma and its judicial consequences will be hard to shake.  Are you prepared to suffer imprisonment and possibly physical violence because someone says the
y saw you commit an act or saw your name in an e-mail list?

If the odious bill on the table in Parliament is permitted to join its brethren in the law books, then it is fair to ask, who’s next?  Gay people don’t pose a threat to the government, but they are an easy scapegoat for inflaming public anger which itself can be manipulated against other groups which are a threat.  An election is coming soon, and there is little an embattled government likes better than to divert attention from its troubles or to neutralise its opponents.

Uganda would not be 47 years old if it were not for the contributions of all its people, whatever their identity.  We saw the affects of the expulsion of Asians in the 1970s.  We still feel the weight of discrimination against Northerners today.  Yet we so easily slip into the habit of hating those who are different.  

Repression is an expedient.  Today it is cheap and easy to make laws against gay people.  Tomorrow it may be cheap and easy to make laws against elections.  Today the majority participates because it can, and it hands the government increments of power and social control.  Tomorrow, when the government is stronger, the majority may not be able to resist if the government decides sterner measures are required to ensure peace, prosperity or social cohesion.

The reason we should all fear the easy hatred of legitimised gay bashing is that it puts the country on a path away from democracy.  The ease with which this bill is likely to become law will mark another step away from real pluralism.  The creeping fascism of social purification begins with the easiest pickings but never stops, and its result is always tyranny.

mmadill@oakton.edu

 

As Ugandan MP David Bahati spearheads a campaign around the adoption of the homophobic ‘Bahati’s bill’, Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe and Frank Mugisha call for an unwavering rejection of a piece of legislation entirely against the interests of wider Ugandan society.

With strong suspicions of Bahati’s financial backing by extreme-right Christian groups in the US, the bill seeks not only to establish draconian punishments for homosexual acts but also to actively encourage Ugandans to snoop on one another indefinitely for the supposed good of the nation.

If homophobes like Bahati were really worried about ‘protect[ing] the traditional family’, Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe and Mugisha argue, they’d concern themselves with tackling the conditions keeping so many Ugandans in poverty, rather than making scapegoats of homosexual people. The authors conclude that with an election approaching in 2011, the momentum behind the bill smacks of a none-too-subtle attempt to divert attention away from Uganda’s true issues.

Pambazuka – Bahati?s bill: A convenient distraction for Uganda’s government

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