how queer Zimbabweans use social media to show love and fight hate

2 min read

how queer Zimbabweans use social media to show love and fight hate

Misconceptions About Queerness in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, a prevalent belief holds that queerness is “unAfrican” and a concept imported from the West. This perspective persists despite numerous studies debunking it. Repeated assertions by the state have ingrained the notion that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ+) individuals cannot be authentically Zimbabwean.

Historical Homophobia and Its Impact

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s first president, was notorious for his homophobic remarks. He frequently equated gender and sexual minorities to pigs and dogs. Such derogatory statements further restricted the spaces where LGBTIQ+ individuals could live and express themselves without fear.

Legal and Social Repression

In Zimbabwe, same-sex sexual relations are illegal, and those suspected of engaging in such activities can face fines or imprisonment for up to a year. Consequently, queer love is often ridiculed, despised, or ignored, and queer couples cannot openly display their affection.

Living Under Fear

The pervasive homophobia in Zimbabwe significantly impacts the lives of LGBTIQ+ individuals. Fear of persecution forces many to hide their identities and relationships, limiting their ability to live freely and authentically. This societal stigma and legal repression continue to challenge the notion of inclusion and acceptance for queer Zimbabweans.

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