The dominant U.S. media narrative of queer identified Africans is one of victimization. We’ve heard the many stories of criminalized sexuality in various African nations (and sometimes we hear about the Western Evangelicals who have worked to institutionalize this hate). While the narrative serves a purpose, it has consistently left out a major part of the story: the actual voices of Africans who are navigating this existence.
Just in the first half of this year, three collections of creative writing by and about queer identified Africans have been published. Check them out:
The Queer African Reader
From the publisher’s site: As increasing homophobia and transphobia across Africa threatens to silence the voices of African Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people, the Queer African Reader brings together a collection of writings, analysis and artistic works that engage with the struggle for LGBTI liberation and inform sexual orientation and gender variance.
The book aims to engage a primarily African audience and focuses on intersectionality while including experiences from a variety of contexts including rural communities, from exile, from conflict and post-conflict situations as well as diverse religious and cultural contexts. Contributions from across the continent explore issues such as identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, intersections with the broader social justice movement in Africa, the feminist movement and LGBTI rights, religion and culture, reconciling the personal with the political.
From the African Books Collective: Queer Africa is a collection of unapologetic, tangled, tender, funny, bruising and brilliant stories about the many ways in which we love each other on the continent. In these unafraid stories of intimacy, sweat, betrayal and restless confidences, we accompany characters into cafes, tattoo salons, the barest of bedrooms, coldly gleaming spaces into which the rich withdraw, unlit streets, and their own deepest interiors.
Q-Zine Issue 6: LGBTI Creative Writing
Q-Zine is a quarterly mag published by Burkina Faso-based Queer African Youth Networking Center. In Issue 6 (February 2013), the magazine released an anthology of writing. You can read it online here or download a .pdf version to read later.
These are just a few works published this year. For more writings from queer Africa, check out this list of LGBT African literature on BookShy and this more detailed article from BookShy Blogger, Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed, posted on Gender Across Borders.