QUEER AFRICAN READER - CONCEPT PAPER
Fahamu’s Pambazuka Press will be publishing a Queer African Reader [working title] in June 2011, in response to the increasing homophobia and transphobia across the continent which aims to silence the voices of African Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.
The Queer African Reader seeks to make a timely intervention by bringing 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 seeks primarily to engage an African audience and will focus 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. The book seeks to explore issues ranging from: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, the feminist movement and LGBTI rights, religion and culture, reconciling the personal with the political.
We are using an alternative framework for the book based on a participatory model in which we seek prospective contributors and the broad queer activist community to discuss possible topics to be included that will push analysis and thinking within this distinct and diverse movement across the continent. Through collective, participatory discussion from the queer African community, to the extent that we were able to access the community with limited resources (we will mostly use multi-media platforms such as a wiki, email, listserves, social networking sites and discussion forums to spark contribution), we will identify themes with potential topics within each and put out a call for abstracts to potential collaborators.
Significantly we will hold a two week writers' retreat once abstracts and first draft contributions have been selected so that ten African LGBTI leaders, thinkers and activists can use the space to reflect, share their ideas and writing, peer review each other’s work, have access to sources and resources provided by prominent academics. The writing retreat will be fully sponsored and contributors will be provided an honorarium for their writing, which will enable them to take the time away from their activities to put together a critically reflective piece.
Along with the critical analysis from the continent contributed from ten African activists, the book will include personal stories, creative writing, poetry, photography and other art forms from the African LGBTI community. In addition, we will select five pieces of reflective work from the African Diaspora.
To amplify African LGBTI voices.
To strengthen analysis on issues related to African LGBTI rights.
To strengthen African LGBTI activism through the development and exploration of themes of relevance.
Enhanced writing skills, knowledge and access to learning for LGBTI activists.
Contribute to the documentation and historic archiving of African LGBTI life experiences, thinking and positions.
A strengthened LGBTI movement able to articulate its frame in an African context and through African experiences.
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS - QUEER AFRICAN READER
Project Consultant: Sokari Ekine
Proposed Editors: Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
We are writing to invite you to participate in the publication of an African LGBTI / Queer Reader [The Reader] to be published by Pambazuka Press in June 2011. The Reader is being published in response to the increasing homophobia and transphobia across the continent which aims to silence the voices of African Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex people.
The African LGBTI / Queer Reader [Working Title] seeks to make a timely intervention by bringing together a collection of writings and artistic works that engage with the struggle for LGBTI liberation and inform sexual orientation and gender variance. The book seeks to engage with primarily an African audience focusing on intersectionality and will include experiences from rural communities, post-conflict situations, religious experience as well that of immigration and displacement.
We are proposing an alternative framework for the book based on a participatory model in which we ask prospective contributors and the broad queer activist community to discuss possible topics to be included that will push analysis and thinking within this distinct and diverse movement across the continent writing from the standpoint of both personal stories and experiences as activists. We feel this is important because of the multi layered issues which exist historically, regionally and politically with regards to sexual orientation and gender variance in Africa as well as the overall struggle for African liberation.
We hope to facilitate the writing of key African LGBTI leaders, activists and thinkers by providing a two week retreat where activists can create the space to reflect, share their ideas and writing, peer review each other’s work, have access to sources and resources provided by prominent academics and the institution. The writing retreat will be fully sponsored and contributors will be provided an honorarium for their writing which will enable them to take the time away from their activities to provide a critically reflective piece.
Submissions can be any of the following: essays, personal stories, poems, art work, photography, short stories.
Possible Topics - not including personal stories, poems, stories
We have identified eight themes which are listed below with a brief summary of each. We are suggesting each of you think about the theme[s] that interest you and suggest specific topics on which you could write or would like to see addressed.
1. WHAT’S IN A LETTER:
We repeatedly use the terms lesbian, gay, bi-sexual transgender and intersex but what do these mean in your own experience, your own community and country? How limiting or inclusive are these labels? Are they appropriate and do they reflect your own experiences? Does the identity cause more problems than the behavior? Does gender variance provide a more appropriate entry point for discussion in Africa given silence around all sexualities? How do we organize across definitions? Why should we?
2. RESISTING OPPRESSION - TOWARDS LIBERATION:
What kind of strategies have been used or could be taken up to resist / challenge queer oppression?
Should the struggle for LGBTI Rights be framed within a Western construct which sees Rights as instruments and legislation or should the struggle for rights be constructed within a framework of movement building around which the oppressed organise?
How has the reliance on the NGO Industrial complex supported or hindered movement building? If the latter, what possible alternatives are there to organising and fund raising? How can we move towards more collaborative and collective ways of working which support movement building? What kind of strategies have been used or could be taken up to resist / challenge criminalisation and homophobia including that coming from religious institutions and the media?
3. PINK COLONIALISM AND WESTERN MISSIONARIES:
What are the problematics of internationalising campaigns and how do we work with allies in the West? How do we overcome donor dependence as a movement? Do the donors and bilaterals save us from ourselves? How do we measure victory e.g. in Malawi and Uganda?
3. A CHANGING WORLD: SOUTH AFRICA AND THE BRICS:
Does South Africa have a particular role to play in supporting queer liberation in Africa? Does the shift in global power create opportunity or threat for African queer liberation? What other geo-political factors determine the course for queer liberation?
5. AFRICAN QUEER LIBERATION AND CLASS STRUGGLE:
What are the intersections between the broader social justice movement in Africa and the movement for queer liberation? Why should one care about the other?
6. ARE GAY MEN FEMINISTS?
What political frames are useful in our movement building? While LBT activists have tended towards feminism does it exclude GT men? How do we address patriarchy and sexism in our movements and personal relationships even among women-identified folks? Why do many straight identified African feminists resist taking on queer issues as a feminist issue in Africa?
7. GOD AND QUEER – INCOMPATIBLE OR INSEPERABLE IN AFRICA
Does the movement have to come from a secular space? Given that many African queer folks identify as religious how do we overcome fundamentalism? The US right wing church are using Africa as a battleground for queer bashing – why is this effective? What of countries with majority Muslim populations or Islamic law for queer liberation?
8. RECONCILING THE PERSONAL WITH THE POLITICAL:
What particular role has been / can be played by those engaged in activism through the creative arts? What has been / is the personal cost to working as social justice activists often working in relative isolation and in hostile environments? How can we better balance our lives as social justice activists with that of social people and the need to care for ourselves?