(Brutality in the struggle for justice in 2014)
A reflection by Samuel Matsikure
LEAST WE FORGET WHY WE NEED PROTECTION – My Narration of LGBTIQ experiences and struggles in Zimbabwe is through my own eyes and ears. The reality and perception of what life is and could be for Queer folk. It is a narration of those I have journeyed with, interacted with, those who have shared their stories with me. It doesn’t tell a full story but one chapter of one among millions. It can never be representative but rich in its own way in the struggle for recognition, equality and Justice.
My Queer story is one among many that have not been spoken. The violence, brutality, stigma, discrimination, intolerance and hate permeate all structures of society in my country Zimbabwe. Change is possible as a collective and movement. Allies, family and community leadership are important as support systems that can change our environment for LGBTQ folds.
It takes self-determination, self-conviction and collectivism to make a change we seek as LGBTIQ folks; inclusion, non-discrimination and human dignity. The struggle isn’t easy just like many struggles before us. Struggles for liberation, anti-racism, against sexism and many other -isms. Intersectionality of issues between diverse groups is critical in creating a New Zimbabwe and Africa we so desire
Rooted and unrelenting, hate and intolerance that the Zimbabwean story has become. Struggle for Queer freedom is never given as history has taught us (America, Europe, Asia and the Queer movement). Everyone matters in the freedoms we seek as Zimbabweans. We need healing, tolerance robust strategies for inclusion and for development that improves lives regardless of my gender identity, sexual orientation nor social status. We are all CITIZENS.
One has to walk in the shoes of LGBTIQ persons to appreciate today’s oppression and brutality in independent Africa and across the globe. Human rights matter for Agenda 2063 to come into fruition to free citizens, address all past injustices and ensure Inclusivity for transformative leadership in Zimbabwe. Lets create a country we can be proud of in all our diversity as the preamble of the Zimbabwean constitution refers to, leaving no one behind.
Samuel Matsikure is a human rights activist and Programmes Manager of GALZ an Association of LGBTI people in Zimbabwe.