Love Is Love Except When Your Country Doesn’t Love That Love
Remember the bad old days in the USA when people’s lives were destroyed by scandal and arrests just because they were in same-sex relationships?
The bad old days are every day in Zimbabwe, where specific acts are illegal, but it’s not against the law to identify with LGBTQI+ status. Despite the impression of tolerance, the popular belief is that same-sex attraction is wrong. Government leaders routinely make homophobic statements. The sociopolitical environment is highly discriminatory, fueled by ignorance and misinformation.
What this means for people who identify as LGBTQI+ is a lesser quality of life. They’re likely to face social stigma, discrimination, denial of civil and human rights, and the kind of health disparities that result. We know that oppression can create mental health challenges, sometimes leading to psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. Purple Hand Africa is stepping up to provide positive visibility and mental health services for LGBTQI+ individuals across Zimbabwe.
Their audiovisual advocacy campaigns reach audiences through online platforms. Regional partnerships have evolved through their Community Art Workshop, Expressive Writing Camp and Storytelling docuseries projects. The Storytelling project creates docuseries designed to counter the stereotypical Zimbabwean media coverage of LGBTQI+ stories. The Purple Hand Africa narratives present multidimensional representation of Zimbabwean LGBTQI+ people. These stories make a natural case for including everyone in various spheres of nation building and developmental policy restructuring.
The LGBTQI+ sector is diverse in many ways, including their presence in the different geographical areas of Zimbabwe. In order to have a voice in fighting for policy changes that affect them, public opinion must change.
Our Awesome grant will provide equipment allowing Purple Hand Africa to add podcasting to their storytelling formats. Sometimes all it takes is a story to change someone’s heart. Here’s hoping some of their stories help.