September, October, November…
So many wrists have been slit by the children who are victimised for whom they love.
This is my story; this is our story as sexual minorities.
Imagine fearing to hold the hand of the one you love in public, not being able to talk about them freely in an open discussion with friends or family, because you risk receiving harsh judgment, disownment, verbal, physical harassment, imprisonment or even worse death.
I thought love was the answer to the pains and the lonesome we feel in the world. Love is the pillar of most religions and above all an accelerator for a forward movement in life.
September, October, November…They only sound like the past three months, but to us they are significant, just like the many other months and years before then:
6 September – India repealed its Section 377, Gays in India are no longer criminals. I was excited to be part of a celebration where same sex lovers kissed in front of media and celebrated their newly found freedom.
7 September – I went to a local Indian college to share about my program as we were looking for volunteers and guess what, of all the participants in my program I did not get a single volunteer on that day, since my project deals with LGBTIQ issues. Freedom won, but there is still a gap in changing mindsets.
27 September – A gay teacher in Zimbabwe resigned from his 15 year job. Firstly a newspaper company threatened to expose him and after announcing at assembly, parents threatened legal action against him, death threats on himself, his family and pets.
A few days later my comment box on a post I made on facebook was filled with hateful comments from one reader who referred to LGBT people as being paedophiles, rapist and sinners…So much awareness still needs to be carried out to educate people about diversity
2 October – I watched an online facebook call between brothers, when the gay brother shared of the time he almost committed suicide because of his sexuality, how he was outed in a Zimbabwean press and how his brother was treated by other classmates because of his sexuality. This signified the power of resilience and sharing your story as it was watched by many, including one Kenyan gay man who called in to share a story of how he was disowned by his family because of his sexuality and his struggle to finance for his studies because his family does not accept him for being gay…The tears on his face followed by the many messages of support from other LGBT people and allies hopefully made a difference on his dark cloud…We need more stories that can show more people that They are not alone
2 November – Tanzanian Leader Launches Anti-Gay Crackdown, Expects to Round Up Hundreds. Such threats fuel hate crime against LGBTIQ people and this is not only a problem for Tanzania or Zimbabwe where we still have policies on the books that make it criminal to have same sex consensual intimacy. For how long are we going to continue to be victimised by the laws that are supposed to protect us and how can we save lives and empower each other as the LGBTIQ community to make a difference to the current status quo?
24 November – I was on the stage introducing Purple Hand Africa to a multitude of people in the audience at kanthari Talks 2018, to a resounding cheering from a mixed audience.
Last night I received a message from someone who told me about the struggle they were facing with depression, loneliness and struggle to self acceptance. The speeches and interacting with someone who is comfortable in their own skin as a sexual minority gave them hope in being themselves. Sharing stories and being a shoulder for someone can help in creating a better tomorrow for all.
You are never alone, we are together and like how light overcomes the darkness Love always wins…Welcome to Purple Hand Africa’s first steps towards our Rainbow Journey of empowerment