The Queerstions and the revolution
I was born and raised in the sprawling suburb of Mbare, Zimbabwe’s oldest township, notoriously know for all things bad. In my family my mother an ardent christian, ever so keen on instilling christian values in all 3 of us made sure we never missed church service.
The church became both my place of hope and my source of pain. It was in church that I knew I could pray and build my faith; it was also in the church that I was constantly reminded that being an LGBTI person was a sin.
I was 14 when I experienced a breakdown which I now believe was depression. I was surrounded by awesome people, a loving family, caring friends, but I was lonely. I was dying inside, my ‘shameful’ secret was eating me up. I didn’t know anyone else like me in Mbare. I had never read, seen, met or heard of people like me.
I wanted so much to make sense of what was happening to me but I couldn’t. I turned to religion as form of escapism. I prayed to God to forgive me, to change me. I dedicated most of my time on going to church, I joined the scripture union at school, attended every church conference, prayed every day carried the bible everywhere. My health deteriorated, my school grades dropped, I developed stomach ulcers. I never changed.
Two years down the line, i came across a South African magazine featuring a positive and detailed life story about a Joburg based business woman who was a lesbian. The joy and relief I felt are inexplicable. I remember hiding that copy even though it was not mine. It became my new favourite book, whenever I was alone, I would read that story. I did not need to know that ‘masculine looking proud lesbian’ woman or to be South African to have that story impact on my self-concept. From that day i realised I was not alone, or wierd and that i could get somewhere in life regardless of my sexual orientation or gender identity.
Such is the power of media. Queerstion was formed from a place of hope and positivity to create possibilities and build communities. It is about proactively reclaiming space, collectively taking ownership in creating and re-writing our own narratives. It is a platform to be visible to inspire, celebrate and empower each other and a safer space to organise, question and speak out against all forms of injustices.
The deleterious effects of state-sponsored transphobia, societal exclusion and family isolation and discrimination cannot go unmentioned. Trans diverse people everywhere everyday experience gross human rights violations. We can no longer afford to keep silent. Although not a panacea, the ubiquity of the Internet has revolutionised communication. Today it is possible for people to connect, collaborate, collectively and strategically organise their activism for positive change.
Today is Trans* Day of Visibility, we would not have thought of another befitting day to make this portal visible. We celebrate, honour all Trans persons who continue to defiantly exist in a world where we are hurt and hated for who we are.
A revolution begins with a ?ueerstion and so does resilience, this also takes shape in ?ueerstion’s simple yet powerful message. Be the revolution. Be vocal. Be visible.
People are not voiceless they are either deliberately silenced or out right ignored. M Tanhira