#PrideSoWhite – We are tired of those Pride events in your high-walled embassies!

“Oh, there you go, have a seat, Mademoiselle.” – Anonymous

 

Nairobi, July 10

Authors: Nje-ri, Nzioka

 

#PrideMonth We are tired of those Pride events in your high-walled embassies

Recently, a UK agency staff posted a picture of her, and her colleagues with a rainbow flag in their background celebrating #PrideMonth. It was captioned: ‘Celebrating love and equality British High Commission Nairobi style.”

Nothing to it, right?

The photo op was all white. “Nairobi style,” right?

The Embassy was the British High Commission in Nairobi. You, know, the same British who exported these anti gay laws to their colonies that we are now grappling with.

Fun fact! That in 1967, after leaving a legacy of anti-LGBT legal discrimination to its colonies, Britain decriminalised same sex –  finding it an area of private morality, within which the law had no business. Meanwhile us guys, English Scriptures in hand, retained the laws, terming them critical to our ‘African values’.

Apart from the clear disconnect of what this photo, at its basic, was all about – #PrideSoWhite – it highlighted how race, classism, and disconnect from issues the photo highlighted. It did not help the photo was by a (privileged) white woman. I mean, I might be wrong, but Pride, Nairobi Pride certainly is not experienced exclusively, cannot be curated, presented, curated as white, privileged, cis, albeit…. It also did not help the whole line up was majorly white.

Queer Africans are typically tired of European and American embassies ‘celebrating’ Pride with their one-off photo op with local queer activists who are invited to these high walled, highly secured buildings, forced to show up at 8am for an 12pm event since its how security works, their personal details taken, fingerprinted, IDs and phones taken away, invitation copy ready in hand, have to be forced to dress up for the black tie occasion, served measly teas and biscuits, just to serve a PR stunt by the Ambassadors and their attaches.

Yes, we celebrated Pride, they claim. We got the black, African, poor, gays and lesbians, invited them – you know an invitation from us is like manna from Heaven, they washed up,  put on deo, dressed in fine silk and linen, because we have to stand next to them for the photos.

Did someone hoist the rainbow flag next to ours? Oh, that must be the proverbial mama’s home-made stew in all occasions. The flag. The rainbow flag is important.

Oh, look at the time!

They must leave now. Tea and biscuits is over! We need to close down the embassy. Terrorist thing.

Did someone take a pic of the rainbow flag? Got the black faces with me in them, too? Oh, great!

Dear Embassies and High Commissions, how about funding LGBTI organisations in Kenya? How about involving yourselves in the work – the problematic, emotional, inclusive, defeatist work – that assures Pride? How about celebrating Pride by talking to us how we celebrate Pride. A pride flag at your high walled High Commission does not help us. It never has.

But hey, cheers good buddy! Happy #PrideMonth to you all foreign embassies, High Commissions, and companies who only remember that there is a gay community in Kenya during Pride Month and IDAHOT (May 17).

You invite us poor, black gay Africans to your beautiful residences, we sip on wines we cannot afford, take pictures, and you get to tick a box in your monthly deliverables then continue to deny us refuge, discard our asylum applications and ignore our asks regarding equal partnership and demand flawless audit reports for the past 5 years for us to get a measly 10USD for airtime each month for a whole year.

Yes, we see you. Happy #PrideMonth

*Nje-ri is a queer, feminist, Pan African activist.  The other one is a homo.

(More) gay dating apps are not the solution

 

The other day, I got called

To a meeting

With some high end entrepreneurs

Canadian

Had the solution to all gay African problems

Kenyans to begin with

Ha!

 

App

Yes, an App

To meet other gays

Like Grindr

But theirs was ‘better’

Safer

More control

 

They went meeting the people tour

Kisumu. Mombasa. Nairobi.

Bought twinks coffee, and Java – did the whole live video thingi

Fake English accents.

Some faggot called me to tell me they wanted to see me

I am the person to talk to in Kenya

About gays. About Apps. About selling cheap merchandise

 

Ha!

 

I refused.

Told my GALCK broker – if they are not selling me a business idea, they can do all they want

Kenya does not need dating Apps

Or white folks using black influencers to sell cheap merchandise

Or to change the UNAIDS leadership

I/we refuse to be used anymore

For commerce/politicking

 

We do not need more gay dating Apps.

We have dated. With or without them

Safely. Soundly. Securely.

 

Want to sell a merchandise?

Buy the gays booze, go to their bars, buy them drinks

Do Java, live-feed the croissants

Take photos – photos are important for marketing

Get on Grindr – check for dates – yes, because you not using your own bloody App

Who would have thought?

Yes, ma’faka I saw you ‘close to me’ on Grindr

What was it? 150m?

 

You have an App to sell.

Liiv on your own terms.

Essay Submission: Book on Allies speaking out for LGBTIQ persons in Kenya

Call for Submissions: Straight Kenyans speaking out for LGBTIQ 

Introduction/Context

Even though international sources recognise Kenya’s media as the freest in the East African region, LGBTQI voices are virtually non-present. Even non-existent are “ally” voices, persons who, though not identifying as LGBTIQ, are equally important, in conversations around sex, and sexuality.

An ally is someone who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTIQ social movement, and challenges the hetero-normative, patriarchal, capitalist, and other interlocking systems of oppression that continue to put down, silence, and shame LGBTIQ persons for who they are, among other injustices. Allies believe LGBTIQ people face discrimination, and thus are socially, and economically disadvantaged. They aim to use their position to fight against these injustices, raise awareness on the lived realities of LGBTI persons, while promoting the human, and health rights of all persons.

To this end, the Denis Nzioka News Agency and Service is potentially receiving essay submissions, by allies, on various topics touching on LGBTIQ life, and experiences, in Kenya.

Book Summary

The book will be a collection of collected, edited essays from Kenyan public personalities, authors, human rights activists, commentators, media, and other celebrities. The book will contain personal testimonies, opinion, and commentaries, visual art, non/fiction stories, photography, and poetry, among others.

Suggested Topics

Some topics that contributors can tackle include: challenges of being labeled as ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ for standing up for LGBTIQ persons; experiences of interacting and working with LGBTIQ persons; personal views on LGBTIQ rights; personal testimonies of LGBTIQ persons you have encountered; human rights for LGBTIQ persons; how one becomes an ally; how to deal with one’s stigma towards LGBTIQ persons; workplace experiences you have encountered; coming out as gay or lesbian; representation of LGBTIQ persons in the media; call to action to garner support for LGBTIQ rights; politics and LGBTI; health, HIV; straight/gay intersecting movements; creativity and the Arts; role of allies and supporters; funding for LGBTIQ rights; current cultural trends, and fashion; the pink dollar; feminism, and LGBTIQI, gender, sex, and sexuality, among others. This list is not exhaustive. Articles can be previously unpublished pieces.

Submission Details

Each essay should be between 800-1500 words, or longer, and submitted in English (French, and Swahili translation will be provided at the publisher’s cost). Kindly include links, citations, images, photos, and quotes, and where possible, reference and credit appropriately. These will form part of the annex of the publication. Other works (poems, for instance) are not subject to this word count.

Author’s Citations

All accepted essays will have a photo of the author, unless otherwise indicated, a short description/blurb about the author, and contact details (preferably email and/or social media profiles). The photo can be black/white or coloured. A consent form will be provided in the submission pack. These will also be used for promotional activities of the book.

Remuneration

A modest renumeration of 100 USD will be paid to essays that are accepted for publication. If accepted, authors will receive 3 copies of the book for free for their own, and will be invited, at no cost, to the launch of the book later in the year. The book is not a commercial venture, and will be distributed for free to various outlets, and LGBTIQ organisations. Accepted authors can also make bulk requests, for free, for their own work, and publicity benefits.

Timelines

Submissions are ongoing, and are reviewed on a rolling basis. A select editorial team will review, and make comments to submitted materials for clarity, and flow. A final decision will be made within two (2) weeks of submitting an article.

About Denis Nzioka

Denis Nzioka is a sexual and gender minorities activist, with a particular focus on LGBTIQ, MSM, and sex workers. The Denis Nzioka News Agency and Service collaborate with Kenyan, East African, and international LGBTIQ, sex work, and allied activists to transform public opinion, and social attitudes towards sexual, and gender minorities’ community through grassroots reporting, community commentary, and forums for alternative opinions on sex, gender, identity politics, human rights, and creating space for critical thought for issues of gender, and sexuality.

Any queries? Contact us via

nzioka@denisnzioka.co.ke / submissions@denisnzioka.co.ke