Are you saying we are not human?

Published on Pambazuka News, by Sokari Ekine, Nov. 11, 2010.

The African Commission for People and Human Rights (ACPHR) has declined to give observer status to the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL). Outraged LGBTI activists have described the decision as a huge setback by the highest body supposed to promote and protect human rights on the continent. This week’s blog roundup focuses on LGBTI news and issues.

Behind the Mask publishes a statement by the CAL in which they demand an explanation from the ACPHR: 

  • ‘CAL asserts that there is a “myriad” of actions that have been taken to demonstrate to the Commission that there is punitive violence going on against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people on the continent and that it must be stopped urgently.
  • ‘“In order to do that, it is important for the Commission to build a formal relationship with organisations like CAL to work together towards the protection of sexual orientation and gender identity rights in Africa. One way of doing that is to grant observer status to organisations working on sexual orientation and gender identity rights”, says CAL … //

… I am going to end with Kenne’s Blog. His post ‘Stuck at Homophobia’ points out the Queer’s obsession with homophobia – ‘the set principles, ideals and standards which get us there and the after effects of such’:

‘We obsess about homophobia, queer or not, people turn to this sensation time and time again in a bid to justify it, nourish it, speak/act against it in themselves and in others and finally conclude on it in a way that is curiously devoid of the aggrieved party, queers. I am yet to come across a mainstream view whereby a middle way approach, conscious indifference, is exercised.’

Kenne has decided to no longer take homophobia seriously, to no longer respond to it or obsess over it. How does this change the way he relates and interacts with the world? There is a case for refusing to feed into the hate and giving voice to those spouting homophobia. I feel the same way each time some religious or political leader somewhere repeats the same old rhetoric – do you report it, comment on it or just ignore it? I agree with Kenne – we need to stop obsessing over homophobia and deal with other topics affecting Queer Africa:

‘Over the past twelve months, many incidences have come out to point out that queer Africa exists and is vibrant but only went as far as showing how homophobic Africa is. This stuckness on homophobia by queers and non-queers and the media takes away the much needed attention to more pertinent issues such as HIV/AIDS, queer rights and so on. As we advocate for queer rights in Africa, as we call ourselves gay, lesbian, bisexual or gender non-conforming, in a word- queer; let’s cut out the homophobia part, it’s not us- it’s them.’

But as like Kenne, ‘I’m stuck’ on whether to be unstuck or stuck. (full text).

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