They Dare to Be Different

LGBT, that acronym by itself is enough to send a lot of people on the African continent into a fit of rage. But have they ever taken the time to listen to the other side of the story?

Clare and Melissa are sexual rights activists who have dared to speak up for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Queer people in their respective countries of Uganda and Kenya.

In this week’s Speak Up, they talk about their experiences, explaining why they have put themselves at actual physical risk at times, and how they have faced the glare of a disapproving society.

If you cannot stream the program for any reason, check out some excerpts below:

Clare

I shouldn’t burn in hell because I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m only fulfilling one of the ten commandments of loving one another-loving my neighbor as I love myself.

I believe that Ugandans are peaceful people.

I believe that Ugandans take care of each other, you know, there’s that Spirit of Ubuntu which I know most Ugandans understand. I believe that my fellow Ugandans are peace loving and they are not violent people. Because I feel like if Ugandans were violent we would all be stoned somewhere on the streets.

So I believe that the spirit of humanity, the spirit of tolerance and love is still very much alive in Ugandans’ hearts and I just pray and hope we can all come back to that place where we all love one another despite our differences.

Melissa

I shouldn’t burn in hell because.. I think if we’re going to qualify how many of us should actually burn in hell for the ideas we have, I think there’d be a lot more of us in hell honestly speaking… When you execute attacks and threats to people who you don’t even know, and when you try and say what you’re doing is evil and wrong, sometimes and many times you actually cross that line, that very line that you’re trying to define of what is good and what is evil evil… because then you’re spewing out hate, you’re spewing out intolerance, sometime it translates to violence.

So I would exercise caution around being intolerant especially for the ones who do not want to burn in hell, because we may all end up being in hell. That being said, I’d say ‘sticks and stones’, I actually don’t think I’m going to hell.

If I was to speak to my fellow countrymen in Kenya and talk about what is important to us as a nation, it wouldn’t be around sexual orientation or gender identity. It would be around issues of social justice… We need to actually look at the people we vote in, are they doing the job that we hired them to do, rather than bickering and fighting along tribal lines, along class lines, that is what I would want to have as a parting thought, regardless of who it is you’re with, who it is you love and who you want to be with, the thing that we need to keep and keep honest is Kenya.

And that is our sovereignty, and that’s what we need to focus more on, rather than splitting hairs with each other and making other feel like they’re less important. The people who preach (against) intolerance, and tribes and different parties and all kinds of divisive things, are not our allies… All of us are equal citizens

Source : Waza

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