Being Queer & Black in Zimbabwe.

Photo credit: Reuters/Juda Ngwenya

We are back with another “Being Queer & Black” article and we are taking an en route from South Africa to our neighbouring country Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe which is known for its intensive and authoritative legislations, is far from being a safe haven for black people who are poor and black people who are queer. The being black part is a bit complex because majority of the Zimbabwean population consists of Black Zimbabweans. Roughly 99.6% is of African origin and according to World Population Review White Zimbabweans account for less than 1% of the country’s population, and most are of British origin with small numbers of Greek, Portuguese, French and Dutch. In 1975, the white population reached a peak of 4.3%. Mixed race people account for 0.5% of the population. Even though there might not be a lot of racial segregation or injustices. There’s definitely imperialism and a huge gap of classism.

Photo credit: Flickr/Alisdare Hickson

To be visibly queer in Zimbabwe is a criminal act, according to the Criminal Law Act 2006, section 73 which criminalise all sexual acts between men with a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and the possibility of a fine. It is also said that same-sex marriage is banned by the Zimbabwe constitution, and LGBT people enjoy no legal protections from discrimination, violence and harassment. Members of the LGBT community are heavily marginalised in both the legal and social spheres.

To be visibly queer in Zimbabwe is also shunned as not part of Zimbabwean cultural beliefs and traditions, “We equally reject attempts to prescribe ‘new rights’ that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions, and beliefs. We are not gays!” – Late & Former President Robert Mugabe. “Homosexuality, same-sex relations and cross-dressing used to be accepted and of commonplace in Zimbabwe prior to colonisation and post-independence anti-White government policies, which in turn has spread the erroneous belief that homosexuality is un-African or a Western phenomenon brought to the country.

Photo Courtesy of The International Business Times

“A love letter to my Zimbabwean LGBTQI+ babes in Zimbabwe and in the diaspora. Thank you for existing regardless of the hate and segregation from your fellow Zimbabweans. You are beautiful, you are valid and you belong” – Jordan Chanetsa

If you are black and queer and would like share your experiences with us, the comment section is open.

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