Written by Simply Duma

Monumental bricks have been laid in the effort to pave the way to queer recognition and acceptance. In the past, many of our queer superheroes have put on their pride flags as capes in the struggle to ensuring that the next generations don’t have to fight the spirit of homophobia and are given the security to live happily ever after. However, are we still feeling the fantasy?

South African Gay Pride was the very first space and event that I felt truly accepted and free to be me. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t created just for my queer brethren to party and get sloshed. Rather, it was a space for all kinds of different bodies, genders and identities to come together as one, without compromising their individualities. Young Marlon was STUNNED by the immense feelings of belonging and expression, and that played an Oscar-worthy role in the journey to personal growth. 

Naturally, I thought the rest of our melanated families on this continent of life would be able to experience being in spaces that validated their presences and affirm their own POVs, but that African Dream died once I noticed how many fellow queer superheroes come to SA in hopes of having even a fraction of the freedom our constitution thinks it’s giving us. As much as they love living in Mzansi, I cannot help but empathise with their intense feelings of home sickness that no doctor can help them with. 

They don’t even have the option to visit their first homes because their existence is a crime. A crime so sinister that their leaders can’t even speak about it in a sense that makes, well, sense. A crime so evil that law enforcement makes it a priority to ignore other crimes such as rape, corruption and drug trafficking and focus their efforts on erasing homosexuality from their ‘idyllic’ national identities. It is disheartening to know that of the 54 countries situated in Africa, only South Africa, Mauritius and Angola have explicitly criminalised discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation/identity, and we are starting to see the consequences of such exclusion in the other 51.

There are two countries I’d like to speak of at this time. Starting off with Kenya, William Ruto, who is the recently elected evangelical president, has stated that he will not allow “gay conduct or same-sex marriage” during his presidency. His words followed an outcry sparked by conservative Christian and Muslim organisations following their Supreme Court judgment, upholding LGBTQIA+ people’s right to association and that the NGO Board’s decision to exclude LGBTQIA+ persons from establishing recognised organisations is discriminatory.

The second country I wish to spotlight is Uganda. This is close to my heart as my friend and fellow mother of a house, Treyvone Moosa, has a house child who is from Uganda and plans to go back to their home country. This has immensely stressed Treyvone because she is unsure of how safe her child, De, will be. And to make matters worse, Ugandan opposition Member of Parliament Asuman Basalirwa introduced a private Member’s Bill in Uganda’s parliament demanding life in jail for homosexuality. On the same day, Anitah Among, Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament and a prominent member of the ruling party, told religious leaders that “a Bill to deal with homosexuality and lesbianism will be introduced as soon as possible,” and that voting on it would be “by show of hands” rather than secret ballot. This came after the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council organised a countrywide anti-homosexuality rally on February 24.

I’m flabbergasted at these developments and can’t understand what the reason is behind it being so challenging to be queer in Africa, when research shows that there is a rich queer history on the continent. I am confident that I, Marlon67, am an example of what being a queer superhero is, as I use my platform to promote healing, correct information about mental and sexual health and create awareness and visibility around adult entertainment as an industry, but you don’t have to have the same platform as me to be a great Queer Superhero. It is more than enough to spread the message and create awareness of how much our brothers, sisters and siblings in other African countries are suffering for merely being themselves.

I’m aware of many countries having a poor reputation when coming to LGBTQIA

+ rights, but rest assured, as we are all in this together! We must use our privilege to fight against this invitation and accommodation of Homophobia, because there is no room for it, not even in the barn! We must all call on our Queer Superpowers to make sure that the efforts of the icons who came before us don’t die, as they may no longer be with us in body, but their spirits live through all of us. We must brave this storm, and no matter how much it may ruin our hair, we still catwalk on. I look forward to the day where we will no longer be treated less than simply because we do not fit the conventional idea of ‘family’ and aren’t accepted because we’re more sickening! We deserve to occupy space. Our immigrant brethren deserve to stay here by CHOICE, and not just for survival and fear of their lives. Surely disrupting the status quo isn’t where our superpowers end?


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