It’s happened every year I’ve been back in Zimbabwe. The national papers are awash with stories of deviant men sodomising other men, boys and women. The stories then get linked to homosexuality. We seem to be the cause of all the social ills of society. Out gay people and LGBT organisations are vilified, maligned, raided and arrested. Comments on social media range from “burn dem chichi man” to “it’s against God’s law” to “even animals know which hole to stick it in.” I’m sick of reading about this, especially on websites and pages create for the LGBT community. We all know it’s happening! It doesn’t mean we need to be constantly reminded of it. Nobody is offering solutions on how to deal with it. Nobody is countering the hate speech in the comment threads. Posting these links becomes an exercise in futility. We read and comment about how hateful it is and then the next day another article is posted, and the cycle continues. We need to focus our intellectual energies elsewhere. There are vibrant and sometimes intense discussions on twitter that unfortunately not many LGBT Zimbabweans follow. We have a lot of supporters out there. It’s high time we got actively involved there and showed that we exist and we won’t be shamed into silence. Just my rant for the day!
Someone sent me a link to a story on the death of Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church whose claim to fame is picketing funerals of American armed service members with banners reading “God Hates Fags”. I always wondered what I would think and how I would react when someone I didn’t like and who had caused so much heartache and pain to people died. I must say, I’m feeling very indifferent. I know there are people who loved and cared for the man and their loss and grief must be acknowledged. But that’s all I can give. And that’s all the ink I’ll give to him. Now hopefully the world can move past his brand of hate.
This is my first update in a while. Mostly because I didn’t know what I wanted to say. I could have written about the continued abuse and erosion of rights that LGBTIQQA Africans are facing at the hands of their own governments. I could have written about the harassment GALZ and its staff are facing from the police resulting in spurious charges of contravening sections of Zimbabwe’s infamous POSA (Public Order and Security Act) leveled against a very good friend of mine. I could have written about the wave of hurtful and sometimes libelous lists circulating amongst gay Zimbabweans. I could have written on South Africa’s continued refusal to hold other African governments to task on LGBTI rights. I could go on and on here but then that would miss the point of why I started this blog. I was trying to use my life ad struggles to illustrate the kind of struggles LGBTI individuals face in Zimbabwe and Africa. Instead, I’ve been caught up in this cycle of hate playing itself across the continent. Instead, I’m starting to feel like I’m using my voice to tell the stories of those that hate. I’m no longer telling my story. I’ve been forced by the hate to put my story aside. I won’t be doing that anymore!