Tag Archives: LGBTQI

Artists and activists deserve payment for their work.

30 Jul

It is time for us to speak up about unpaid labour in the arts and activism.

My career in media started over 25 years ago and 20 years working in the activism space. I started as a TV presenter and actor, and we believed that we needed to work on many projects for free as it was vital for our brand. PR and marketing people would always push the notion that they had invited VIP’s and high profile people, and our presence could lead to other work and projects. I believed this for many years until I started to see that I undervalued myself and my time. What I found interesting is how angry people suddenly got when I began to set boundaries, adding terms and conditions to my contacts, asking about the usage, coverage and stopping further exploitation.

Working in the activism space is a different journey. I embarked on activism as it has always been a calling. It was a calling that I knew would help with my healing and possibly help others. I needed to understand my confusion after abuse and see how we could change that narrative. In 2003, I completed my primary training through an intensive training course with a local NGO.
I was trained and, work in counselling, court preparations with victims/survivors, accompanying people to court and police stations and creating awareness. These jobs and activities I do on my account. I am now a registered counsellor and life coach and have opened a practice to combine this work, offering pro bono counselling sessions to those that cannot afford it.

Like my media work, I am invited into spaces to share my intellectual property, experiences, challenges and fears. This work extends into speaking engagements and facilitating work, and clients expect us to work for free under the banner of women empowerment or giving back. Some clients believe that as we are activists, we must do additional work for free. These attitudes and narratives need to change. I often laugh at how this term, ‘women empowerment or ‘giving back, is thrown around, yet many want to put restrictions and demands on us. How is that empowering? We have the right to give back in our way, and nobody has the right to make demands on how we do so.
I have written on the topic many times and spoken on my podcast platforms. My famous line to clients who say that I should do it as a way of giving back and a form of women empowerment- you cannot empower women by disempowering another woman.

My sister/comrade/client Dr Bev Ditsie said in a recent interview that during Women’s months, many women in the entertainment industry don’t work as events are handed to men under the facade that they are giving women a rest. The irony is that many of us in entertainment have suffered financially. Many of us deal with sexism, homophobia, transphobia and biphobia daily. There are still unequal pay structures in the workplace which is disempowering. So the question is, how can we rest with so much emotional and additional trauma?

Over the years, I have worked with international human rights bodies, and several of these bodies understand the need for remunerations. Several institutions do not have huge budgets but will offer an honorarium as a thank you and validation that they see us and respect our agency and time.
It is disappointing when other agencies state that they do not have a budget for speakers, facilitators or thought leaders. The same spaces have a budget for international consultants and firms but cannot respect an activist or artist.
An activist is a person who is an expert in their field and provides another form of consultancy, whilst an artist contributes a service.
I have argued this with many of these agencies. If their policies stated that they do not pay artists, it is hypocritical since they run campaigns, programs that speak to women in the unpaid labour in other sectors.
We cannot apply a rule to one sector of the population and ignore others. The reality is that the organisers and some representatives have primary jobs where they receive salaries. Speaking, facilitating and activism is the only job for many. Activists do a lot of groundwork for free, often ostracised, their safety at stake, should not be expected to do additional work in corporate and global spaces. When launching these campaigns and platforms, it is at events, panels that require speakers and entertainers. I get it, as including a global brand onto your resume adds value but is that fake accolade enough when you are hungry.

In 2019, I engaged with one of these agencies, who tried to make me work for free on a project. The work required many hours of my time, research, intellectual property and then facilitating a discussion. The representative said I should do the gig to prove myself? I reminded him of my many years of experience and asked why I should prove myself. I used their previous event as a reference where they hired a man with less experience than myself and paid him his rate. Was he asked to prove himself?

Covid-19 has disrupted the whole world and further inconvenienced womxn and the LGBTQI+ community. We have all had to change our way of working, thinking and operating. It is time for human rights bodies, productions and broadcasters to discard their old way of thinking. We are in a crisis. Creating gender equality includes acknowledging and seeing everyone. Forcing unpaid labour is another form of slavery.

‘In the name of THAT father.’

13 Jul

We are fatigued a year later, and anxiety lives carefree, yet our voice is still not on lockdown. We have learnt to operate, work and live differently. We continue to fight the same battles.

In 2020, I contributed to Destiny magazine May/June issue. I wrote on the realities of GBV in our country, highlight lighting the horrific facts that many people forced to be indoors with their tormentors due to the lockdown. A year later, we are still here, but the violence indoors has not stopped. There are more job losses, the cost of living has increased tremendously, and we are still not safe.

Destiny Magazine May-June 2020 issue. Article:Featured in Cover collaborations: Safety & Security

https://reader.magzter.com/reader/6jixbd5v6jtvvbk8vofz44803214949848/448032#page/14

Taken from http://www.reuters.com A member of the South African National Defense Force looks on during a patrol to enforce a nationwide lockdown, aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Alexandra township, South Africa, March 28, 2020.

In South Africa, we are in our third wave, and we are back to Level 4 lockdown. President Ramaphosa has deployed the South African National Defence Force to two provinces. As history has dictated, when territories go into war, the women, children, and LGBTQI community suffer the most. Misogyny and patriarchy continue to disrupt our lives. The actions lead to wars and violence. 

The reality is that we have been in a crisis for years, heightened by the pandemic. The corruption and lack of accountability have made it worse. 

Did one person cause the latest uprisings? Yes. 

Is everyone looting doing it under his name? No—many are tired, hungry and fed up. Some are criminals. Which is connected to the socioeconomic problems that we have faced for centuries.

Our country is in turmoil from the vaccine and PPE scandals, and our government has failed to provide adequate support to the people. Handing out R350 stipends is not providing support. It is ludicrous that government officials and ministers squander millions of rands and then carry on with their everyday lives with no accountability. 

Suppose we had access to vaccines, adequate health care and a government that stands for the people. In that case, we could have avoided a lot of the covid related deaths. The looting on the ground is inexcusable but is it any different from those ministers and government officials who have looted state funds?

Our focus is on the SANDF on the ground; we have not forgotten the related deaths in 2020.  

Collins Khosa, we still remember. 

Over the past few days, we have seen communities putting their energy behind one man; as my comrade, Steve Letsike stated- ‘Your anger is misplaced. Zuma hands himself to the police; there is an uprising. Women, LGBTIQ People, children are murdered and raped. You are quiet in your homes and not bothered—Nisile’. 

Imagine what could happen if we placed that energy into fighting GBV?

As we try and navigate through this next wave and phase of uncertainty coupled with the expected violence on defenceless people, we need to take care. Take care of ourselves, our mental well being and be gentle with ourselves. 

Find coping mechanisms that help with anxiety or negative triggers. Find one’s positive triggers. Once you have taken care of yourself, remember to check in on those alone, in abusive homes or fragile. Check up on your ‘strong’ friends and family too. With the high level of PTSD, our bodies have no control over when it affects us mentally, physically or spiritually.

The reality remains. We had a pandemic way before GBV; the brute and force that our country has shown for one man prove that womxn, children and LGBTQI in South Africa are alone. The reality is that patriarchy and misogyny will always take centre stage, and that unity is conditional. Government support is conditional. 

Support structures

LGBTQI

https://www.genderdynamix.org.za

Anxiety, depression and suicide.

http://lifelinesa.co.za

0861 322 322

SADAG

https://www.sadag.org

Dr Reddy’s Help Line

0800 21 22 23

Cipla 24hr Mental Health Helpline

0800 456 789

Pharmadynamics Police &Trauma Line

0800 20 50 26

Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline

0800 70 80 90

ADHD Helpline

0800 55 44 33

Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Line 24hr helpline

0800 12 13 14

SMS 32312

Suicide Crisis Line

0800 567 567

SADAG Mental Health Line

011 234 4837

Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit 24 Hour

0861 435 787

Cipla Whatsapp Chat Line

(9 am-4 pm, seven days a week)

076 882 2775

GBV

Rape Crisis centre

https://www.tears.co.za

https://www.letsatsihealingspace.biz

INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA, INTERPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA.

15 May

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On Sunday 17 May 2020, we will observe INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA,
BIPHOBIA, INTERPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA – A worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities.

INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA, INTERPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender, intersex people,​ and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

It was originally known as International Day Against Homophobia, the founders then established the IDAHO Committee to coordinate grass-roots actions in different countries, to promote the day and to lobby for official recognition on May 17. That date was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990.
For many years, in Germany, May 17 had been unofficially labeled​ as a “Gay Day.” Written in the date format 17.5. This was related to Paragraph 175 of the Penal Code, the rule dealing with homosexuality. Paragraph 175 was a provision of the German Criminal Code from 1871 to 1994. It made homosexual acts between males a crime.

The first International Day Against Homophobia took place on May 17, 2005. The same year, 24,000 individuals, as well as organizations such as the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC- ), the World Congress of LGBT Jews, and the Coalition of African Lesbians, signed an appeal to support the “IDAHO initiative”. Activities for the day took place in many countries, including the first LGBT events ever to take place in the Congo, China, and Bulgaria.

It was in 2009, that transphobia was added to the name of the campaign, and activities that year focused primarily on transphobia (violence and discrimination against transgender people). LBT organisations then launched a new petition in cooperation with it, this was supported by hundreds of NGOs​ from 75 countries, including France. It was that year that France became the first country in the world to officially remove transgender issues from its list of mental illnesses.
IDAHOBIT is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal.

Many African countries are still in the process of achieving equality through the decriminalization​n of LGBTQI. We are aware of many countries where being ourselves to choosing whom we love, is a crime and is punishable by death. This is why IDAHOBIT is so important as it reflects the progress our community has made and shows accurate proof of why such archaic policies should be abolished. It s also a day for activists from other countries who might have more freedom to be, can assist in creating platforms,​ and provide support to the communities living under threat.

In Africa, we will be following @AFROQUEERPODCAST, as they are hosting the AfroQueer IDAHOBIT Festival, via their Instagram page.
The festivities will start at 1 PM East African Time. The festivities will be featuring creative Queer artists from the continent and beyond. Expect music, poetry,​ and talks from various artists including Dope Saint Jude, Alasarah, and many more.
More information on Afriqueerpodcat- https://afroqueerpodcast.com
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Other resources for support and solidarity-

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In South Africa, the Queer Wellness Centre was opened in January-https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/15/queer-wellness-centre/

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Uganda- FARUG- https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/30/farug-freedom-and-roam-uganda/

In solidarity,​ we stand.

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FARUG- Freedom and Roam Uganda

30 Jan

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Lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) women in Uganda are not considered a “key population” in national health programming.

On a recent visit to Uganda, I met up with the forces behind Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG). As my three passions in life are women, Africa, and the arts, I need to share information, with the hope of creating awareness and possible Pan African synergies, to help our warriours in east Africa.

Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), was established in 2003. It is a Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer (LBQ) diverse persons and womyn’s rights organization based in Uganda. This feminist organization reinforces feminist culture and principles, equality of womyn as stipulated in human rights and international instruments.
They challenge male chauvinism, patriarchy, and cultures that aim at oppressing womyn. They also create womyn autonomous spaces, challenge heteronomativity and forge sisterhood and solidarity.

FARUG is also the oldest Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer womyn organization that has been actively leading and organizing on sexual orientation and gender identity through lobbying, dialogue to create and facilitate greater visibility and voice.
Their vision is to create a society in which the rights, freedom, and equality of LBQ womyn are guaranteed and there is no discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity.
Their mission is to empower LBQ womyn in Uganda and jointly advocate for the respect, protection, and fulfillment of their rights.
Their main goals include creating and sustaining a healthy and vibrant LBQ community that is respected, well informed, competent, and committed to individual and community development.

The NGO is structured with strong values and objective:
VALUES
* Commitment
* Transparency and accountability
* Openness
* Responsiveness
* Teamwork
* Mentoring

OBJECTIVES
* To advocate for an environment in which the rights of LBQ Womyn are respected and protected.
* To promote and advocate for equal access to friendly, non-discriminative & inclusive services to LBQ womyn.
* To promote Socio-economic rights and empowerment of LBQ womyn in Uganda.
* To strengthen FARUG’s institutional capacity to be a more accountable and effective organization.

Contact details:
Email: faruginfo@gmail.com
Telephone: +256392176977

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The Bayethe Development Institute

29 Jan

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In November 2019, I attended an LGBTQI business summit hosted by The Other foundation. On arrival, the first person that I met was Zoe Kamangira from Zimbabwe and we began to discuss the amazing work that she does both in SA and Zimbabwe, through The Bayethe Development Institute.
I felt I needed to share their work and see if we could create strong pan African synergies.

Zoe Kamangira

Zoe Kamangira

The Bayethe Development Institute is a Zimbabwe and South Africa registered non-profit organization that empowers marginalized communities with life skills to strengthen their inclusion and participation in all development processes including humanitarian interventions.

Bayethe Development Institute’s work is anchored on five thematic areas targeting primarily youth and key populations:

1. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

2. Economic Empowerment.

3. Arts, Culture and Heritage.

4. Peace Building.

5. Environment and Climate Change

Their vision is to create an inclusive society conducive to sustainable development. Their mission is to equip marginalized communities with knowledge, skills and practical ongoing support for youth-driven positive social change anchored by an environment of hard work, shared values, cooperation, and mutual understanding.

They offer two key programs:

* The Creative Factory Hub.
* The Pink Economy Initiative
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights promotion through awareness-raising, facilitating access to services and advocacy with relevant duty bearers.

THE CREATIVE FACTORY HUB

The Creative factory hub goal is to provide facilities for the promotion and development of the youth LGBTIAQ start-up entrepreneurs and youth-led Creative Arts Associations/Networks/Unions/Guilds through providing an accessible and affordable space for a range of businesses, dialogue, and networking platforms. Its driving force is the need to stimulate diversity, create jobs, developmental programs, and opportunities for LGBTQ/Creative Arts entrepreneurs to be mainstreamed and contribute to the Zimbabwe Social and Economic Transformation.

The Creative Factory Hub responds to and addresses the following parameters: A shared resource that allows entrepreneurs to access:

Desk and Chair.
Broadband Internet.
Tea, Coffee, Water.
Business administration support services.
Business Address.
Advertising Space.
Business Meetings Space.
Networking Opportunities.
Promotion of their business on the Bayethe Development Institute Platforms.
Entrepreneurship Support.
Participation in Entrepreneurship Linking & Learning Events.
Resource center

The Creative Factory Hub provides the LGBTQ/Creative Arts entrepreneurs with working space and access to relevant reference material in their fields of work. The Creative Factory Hub is stocked with reference material, one relating to business, management finance and markets.

To date, The Creative Factory Hub an operational capacity of:

30 Dedicated workstations in-house.
10 Meeting spots for a group of 6-8.
Two outdoor conference zones (Max 100 delegates).
Optional outdoor workstations.
Premium secure working environment.

THE PINK ECONOMY
The Pink Economy initiative is an entrepreneurship development and support project focusing on the youth LGBTQIA community in Zimbabwe. The Pink Economy provides an opportunity for the youth LGBTQIA community to become leaders in their lives and within their communities, and to equip them with skills that foster economic growth through entrepreneurship and advocacy for inclusion into the mainstream economy.

The Pink Economy Objectives are as follows:

To empower young LGBTQIA persons with entrepreneurship skills.
To create a safe space for business dialogue, networking and entrepreneurship support system.
To inspire confidence and provide a platform for the development of leadership skills.
To provide participants with access to business information.

INTIMATE STORE

Intimate Store is a physical and online store licensed to trade in adult sex toys, accessories and provide complementary sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services in Zimbabwe. The motivation for an online store instead of a physical shop is to protect our valued clients by providing a discreet and efficient service from the comfort of their preferences. Intimate Store is inspired by the need to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights through facilitating the discreet purchase of sex toys, sexuality wellness, rights and pleasure information inquiry and psychosocial support on matters of sex and sexuality. For corporate social responsibility, Intimate Store ensures that for everyone Adult product purchased, ONE sanitary pad shall be donated for periodic distribution to girls from marginalized communities. Intimate Store will work closely with Foundations/Trusts & NGOs to campaign, collect and distribute sanitary wear in marginalized communities in Zimbabwe. – http://www.intimate-desire.com

To make contact​ with Zoe:
zoe@bayethe.org
+263 8677 186824

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