“When I said gays are worse than dogs and pigs, I really meant it because pigs and dogs do not do unnatural things.” – President Robert Mugabe, June, 2002
To describe homosexuality as taboo in Zimbabwean society would be an understatement. Very little polarizes public opinion like the subject of homosexuality as a phenomenon, homosexual Zimbabweans and what rights such individuals should have access to. To the international community Zimbabwe would be described as a quintessential African state with respect to its attitude towards Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender individuals; to put it simply there is absolutely no tolerance, understanding or acceptance of people who identify themselves as belonging to the LBGTQI (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Questioning/ Queer & Intersex) community. As an organization we do not propose that African states attempt to measure themselves by the yardstick of the international community or capitulate to their prescriptions on what is and is not socially acceptable. However as a Pan-Africanist Queer Womanist Collective we cannot condone people making decisions and taking action based on misinformation and misapprehension. Especially when it results in citizens, sons, daughters, sisters, mothers and neighbours being persecuted, abused and socially excluded.
We condemn homophobia much like we condemn all other forms of bigotry (i.e. imperialism, classism, elitism, racism & sexism) because more often than not they are based on ignorance and maintained through the fear and suspicion that results from the restriction of information, religious dogma, isolation and state sanctioned propaganda.
Our space is love and we believe that where one condones the abuse and mistreatment of one group on the basis of an immutable characteristic; one is opening up the avenues for their own abuse in future. Very rarely does one see the persecution of people on the basis of their gender, sexuality, class or race in a society where all individuals are completely free and the rule of law prevails.
Societal norms change, religious sins change, gender roles change and so do ideologies. Popular opinion, culture and morality are almost always constructions of the times and it would be foolish to believe that political and economic considerations do not play a role in the way we are conditioned to view the world and ourselves.
Before you have an opinion get informed:
For information on academic resources on homosexuality in Africa please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the PDF version of this statement, please click here – HOLAA Homosexuality Zimbabwe