Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Human Rights, Queer Politics

Rights and wrongs!

Midival Punditz played out the WSF — everyone cheered and the MC announced that four women would be presenting the resolutions from the WSF. Kasha, an LGBTI activist from Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), went up to the stage and asked to make a statement. She was asked for a copy of what she would be speaking about and gave them her piece.

The organisers threw her piece on the floor and refused to allow her to speak. Kasha stood her ground saying she, like everyone else, had a right to speak here at the WSF. Despite the harassment by the MC and organisers, Kasha took the mic and spoke. She spoke about being a lesbian, about being a homosexual. She refuted the myth that homosexuality was un-African. She spoke about the punishment and criminalisation of homosexuals in Kenya, in Uganda, and in Nigeria. She said homosexuals in Africa were here to stay.

Homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else and should be accepted and finally that even in Africa Another World is Possible for Homosexuals.

Kasha was booed and the crowd shouted obscenities at her waving their hands screaming: ‘No! No! No!’ But she persisted and said what needed to be said.

This was the end of the WSF. This is where everyone was talking about human rights, oppression, slavery, land rights, women’s rights… RIGHTS, RIGHTS, RIGHTS! But here were people that exclude the LGBTI community from these RIGHTS they shout about.

After Kasha left, the four women came on the stage and spoke of RIGHTS — the crowd cheered and cheered but we know now that Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex people are not included in these RIGHTS IN AFRICA — BUT THE LGBT COMMUNITY will not be SILENCED. We have seized the time and there is no going back! Stay blessed Kasha — what you did today was brave and we are all proud of you.

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12 Comments

  1. This is sad: really, really sad. We do every wrong thing under the sun sudden;y become moralistic and condescending when it comes to issues like this.

    The good thing was Kasha said what she wanted to say, despite the odds. Is there a live video feed or something available?

  2. Wow! Unbelievable!

  3. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Yes i have a couple of clips and will try to put them up. I lost my power cable for my laptop so if anyone out there in cape town knows where i can get a cable for a HP Pavilion dv1000 please email me.

    thanks

  4. cherynne

    yes i also felt very sad on reading this. my total respect and admiration to Kasha and sorry she had to go through such attacks and harasment to speak. but the important thing is that she did speak. and among the audience will have been people who are afraid to be open about their sexuality and who will have been given strength and hope by Kasha. yes please foto or video if poss.
    As Brian Whitaker reminds us in his book ‘Únspeakable love’ (http://www.al-bab.com/unspeakablelove/default.htm
    the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly spells out ‘the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family’, and Amnesty International says that ‘Lesbian and gay rights belong on the human rights agenda because if we tolerate the denial of rights to any minority, we undermine the whole protective framework of human rights by taking away its central plank- the equal rights and dignity of all human beings.When governments ignore their responsibility towards one sector of society,then no one´s human rights are safe.
    sadly those who tried to silence Kasha were in doing so trying to deny her rights and dignity as a human being. Thank you Kasha for speaking out in such a hostile environment and thank you Sokari for telling the story. This is the only way to effect change.

  5. Del

    Very sad….
    And yes, thank you Kasha for your courage.

    I do think we forget within the movement there is still a lot of liberation work:)

    What/which body was booing???

    I’m shocked BUT I’m not recalling a large bloc of LGBT orgs/coalitions in India….
    So we have more work to do….

    As I witnessed in India and obviously in Nairobi, the WSF is becoming ground zero for tons of NGO/civil society orgs and many questionable orgs completely undermining the vision of WSF…………

  6. The whole event was indeed very shocking. Even though no one from the organisation stood up to defend LGBT rights after Kasha spoke, it is not right to say the MCs threw the speech in front of us, nor to say they did not want us to speak or harassed us. The speech was handed early afternoon and we discovered it on the floor only a couple of hours after when we went to enquire what had happened of it. For another piece on the event, you can read the following:

    Backlash against gays and lesbians starts

    Story by MWANGI GITHAHU – Sunday Nation – Kenya
    Publication Date: 1/28/2007

    Even before the week in which Kenyan gay and lesbian issues came to the fore at the just-concluded World Social Forum (WSF) was over, the backlash against the homosexual community had begun.

    Some of the first reactions came from the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) meeting in Mombasa.

    CIPK secretary-general Sheikh Mohamed Dor was reported to have asked the Government to clamp down on homosexuals beginning with those speaking at the the forum, whom he said should be arrested by police.

    Members of the gays and lesbians lobby demonstrate to demand their rights.

    Said the statement in part: “The Muslim community is against homosexuality because the vice is ungodly. Both the Koran and the Bible condemn the vice.”

    The Kenya Anti-Rape Movement founder, Ms Fatma Anyanzwa, said calls for the recognition of same-sex relationships should be ignored, and instead efforts made to counsel those practising it.

    The self-confessed lesbians and gays, she said, were victims of psychological, social and material disadvantages that they could not handle and were finding escape in the very problem they have.

    Speaking at the Nation Centre yesterday, Ms Anyanzwa claimed she had been counselling some lesbians and gays in the city in confidence.

    “Oral and anal sex are not pleasurable and have no benefit at all to those who take part in it. Most of them, if they are to be honest, will admit that the parts with which they engage in the unnatural sexual acts are always painful,” said Ms Anyanzwa.

    Kenyans writing in the blogosphere (the collective term for all internet blogs or diaries as a community or social network) have also joined in the condemnation of the Kenyan gays and lesbians who appeared in newspaper articles, on radio and television shows campaigning for equal rights.

    Already one blogger going by the blogname “Blake” has set up a spot entitled “Kenyans Against Gays”, which by Friday had registered a healthy number of hits.

    At the closing ceremonies of the WSF at Uhuru Park on Thursday afternoon, a Ugandan lesbian activist who had made a dramatic appeal for tolerance of alternative lifestyles was heckled by members of the audience.

    At one point, she was threatened by a group of dreadlocked men who chanted “fire” as she walked past them away from the dais. The activist was not physically harmed but was very badly shaken. But she had to be escorted out of the venue by members of the gay and lesbian community who formed a protective cordon around her.

    Earlier, what the Irish writer Oscar Wilde referred to as “the love that dare not speak its name” had shouted the news of its existence in Kenya, East Africa and the world as a whole using a public address system in a tent set aside as a “safe space” for members of the gay and lesbian community.

    From this tent, the Q-Spot, the message from members of a Kenyan umbrella body for the community, the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (Galck) was “we are queer, we are here and we are proud.” Never in Kenya’s history has there been such an open and politically charged gathering of homosexual men and women.

    A Ugandan lawyer and academic Sylvia Tamale called it “a historical moment” as she marvelled at a crowd of about 150 people who had gathered to listen to a panel discussion of homosexual rights, the law and strategies to overcome discrimination.

    When the Sunday Nation visited the Q-Spot on Tuesday afternoon, the tent was full of people both young and old. Many came out of curiosity to see what all the fuss was about, some to express solidarity and a few to make contact with like-minded types. The agenda of the day was how to get the gay issue on the human rights agenda.

    Mr Lawrence Mute of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said that the official watchdog had a responsibility to protect the rights of all Kenyans, including the gays and lesbians.

    The commissioner pledged support for homosexual men and women sacked from employment or expelled from educational institutions on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Prof Tamale told the gathering that getting homosexual acts between consenting adults decriminalised was the most vital issue for gays and lesbians in East Africa.

  7. uiiouiouyu8

    tretret

  8. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Steve@ thanks for the clarification re the speech however I did speak with Kasha afterwards and will be putting the video up once I have a decent internet connection.

    “At one point, she was threatened by a group of dreadlocked men who chanted “fire” as she walked past them away from the dais. The activist was not physically harmed but was very badly shaken. But she had to be escorted out of the venue by members of the gay and lesbian community who formed a protective cordon around her.” if thats not being harassed I dont know what is??

  9. I agree with you, the whole thing was violent. The MCs did not harass us though and did not refuse the speech. One guy from the organisation was very sympathetic to our cause and gave me a contact with the Dutch Ngo to (maybe?) have a regular radio program on LGBT issues in Nairobi. We had to insist quite a long time to be able to speak. On the stage, I thought the MCs wanted to stop her at once but Kasha kept the microphone and went on even though the crowd immediately in front of the stage was negative, shouting and raising their fists. The guys in dreadlocks were not a group but only two of them. Enough to scare us as they chased Kasha out of the backstage saying “Fire, fire on homosexuals”.

  10. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Stephen@ There are confused messages here “the MCs did not harass us” but “I thought the MCs wanted to stop her at once but Kasha kept the mic…..” My point is this was an extremely unpleasant and threatening experience for Kasha (I was there)I witnessed the negative response of the crowd at the front – getting on stage was not a straightforward operation, Kasha and other LGBTIs in the crowd were shaken by the response. Trying to paint a picture that this was not really such a big deal is not helpful because from my point of view as an african lesbian activist and human rights defender it was very unpleasant, intimidating – this was the World Social Forum afterall! I have decided not publish the videos/photos of the event to protect Kasha and others from any future harassment from any direction!

  11. I found this pretty disgusting (I blogged about this myself) though I was I could say it was shocking. The psychology of stuff like this is interesting but I think some activists are under the impression that emotions like compassion and empathy are finite and therefore every ounce directed toward gays is an ounce directed away from whatever their individual pet cause is. Sadly this is not new. Witness the angry objections of some black Americans to even the tiniest analogies between the black and gay civil rights movements. Or any other genocide to the Jewish Holocaust. Some groups think they own suffering.

  12. efe

    is just so good at there

    efes last blog post..Action alert: putting the pressure on Mugabe