Statement in solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza and with seekers of freedom and justice world-wide

[A boycott how-to is below this powerful statement. -Eds.]

Statement in Solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza and with seekers of freedom and justice world-wide

As Palestinian, indigenous, women of color, anti-racist, and Jewish feminists involved in a range of social justice struggles, we strongly condemn the current massacre of the Palestinians of Gaza and affirm our support for and commitment to the growing international movement for a free Palestine and for racial justice, equality, and freedom for all.

As many of us know from time spent in Palestine and in other movements for justice, the connections between the movement for a free Palestine and anti-colonial struggles for self-determination throughout the world are inextricable.

The current Israeli attacks on Gaza have resulted in more than 1900 Palestinian deaths, including over 450 children; the displacement of up to 25% of the population; and the destruction of crucial infrastructure such as sanitation, hospitals, and schools.  We condemn and are horrified by the current acts of Israeli brutality, while also recognizing the deeply rooted and ongoing violence that Palestinians are forced to endure on a daily basis — for example, living in ghetto-like conditions in Gaza, systematically having land confiscated, being deprived of their livelihoods, collective punishment, gender and racial violence, and ongoing expulsion and displacement from the Nakba until today.

An extensive prison system bolsters the occupation and suppresses resistance.  Over 5,000 Palestinians are locked inside Israeli prisons; more than 200 are children.  There is ongoing criminalization of their political activity.

We believe in the critical importance, now more than ever, of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions call for Israel to 1) End its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall; 2) Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
 3) Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. The purpose of the BDS campaigns is to pressure Israeli state-sponsored institutions to adhere to international law, basic human rights, and democratic principles as a condition for just and equitable social relations.

We stand with the Palestinian community and with activists all over the world in condemning the flagrant injustices of the current Israeli massacre against the Palestinians of Gaza; the land, air, and sea blockade of Gaza; and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

We call for an end to US military aid, at more than 3 billion a year, for the Israeli state and its occupation.

We call upon all people of conscience to stand with Palestine and to join the worldwide actions in which communities and civil society are stepping up in critical ways. We recognize that all our struggles for social, racial, gender, and economic justice and for self-determination are deeply interconnected and can only gain strength and power from one another. As Audre Lorde taught us, “When we can arm ourselves with the strength and vision from all our diverse communities then we will in truth all be free at last.”

Signatories:

Ujju Aggarwal, INCITE!; New School for Social Research

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University

Bina Ahmad, National Lawyers Guild

Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley

Linda Carty, Syracuse University

Ayoka Chenzira, Artist and Filmmaker

Angela Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz

Gina Dent, University of California, Santa Cruz

Zillah Eisenstein, Anti-Racist Feminist Scholar, Activist, Writer

Eve Ensler, Writer, Activist, Founder of V-Day and One Billion Rising

G. Melissa Garcia, Dickinson College

Anna Guevarra, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Wells College

bell hooks, Feminist critic and writer

Suad Joseph, University of California, Davis

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University

Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation

Mona Khalidi, Columbia University

Reem Khamis-Dakwar, Adelphi University

Nancy Kricorian, Writer

Amina Mama, University of California, Davis

Hannah Mermelstein, Adalah-NY; Librarians and Archivists with Palestine

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University

Nadine Naber, University of Illinois, Chicago

Premilla Nadasen, Barnard College

Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!; Nakba Education Project, US

Dana Olwan, Syracuse University

Barbara Ransby, University of Illinois at Chicago

Beverly Guy Sheftall, Author, Atlanta, Georgia

Kimberly M. Tallbear, University of Texas, Austin

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace

Alice Walker, Writer and Activist

Editors: Here’s a list of “optimal” items to boycott to help end Israel occupation:

Food/Drink:

  • Sodastream
  • Jaffa citrus fruits
  • Golan Heights Wine
  • Sabra Hummus
  • Medjool Dates
  • Eden Springs Water
  • Dorot Garlic and Herbs, Israeli Cous Cous and Pastures of Eden Feta (found at Trader Joes)
  • Osem
  • Tribe Humus
  • Yes to Carrots
  • Sara Lee bakery items
  • Coca Cola: includes Dr Pepper, Fanta, Fruitopia, Kia Ora, Lilt, Sprite, Sunkist, Schweppes, Dasani Water, Nestea, Fresca, Tab

Clothes:

  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Sara Lee:  Hanes, Playtex, Champion, Leggs, Wonderbra
  • Naot shoes
  • Delta Galil Industries: Gap, J-Crew, J.C. Penny, Calvin Klein, Playtex, Victoria’s Secret, DIM, Donna Karan / DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Playtex, Calvin Klein (cK), Hugo Boss, Banana Republic, Structure

Makeup:

  • L’Oreal / The Body Shop
  • Estee Lauder
  • Ahava cosmetics
  • Dead Sea Cosmetics

Household:

  • Pampers
  • TEVA drugs

Technology:

  • Hewlett Packard
  • Intel
  • Motorola

Cars/Bulldozers:

  • Volvo
  • Hyundai
  • Caterpillar

(Resources: here, here, and here)

And here’s info on “Buycott,” a phone app to help do more consumer boycotting.

As the campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions writes, “The consumer boycott is beginning to bite, too: a fifth of Israeli exporters reported a drop in demand as a result of the boycott in the wake of the Gaza massacre.”

One more thing:  here are links on how to engage in academic boycott, consumer boycott, cultural boycott, and press for divestments and sanctions.

Justice for Palestine: A Call to Action from Indigenous and Women of Color Feminists

Please distribute widely

Justice for Palestine
A Call to Action from Indigenous and Women of Color Feminists

Between June 14 and June 23, 2011, a delegation of 11 scholars, activists, and artists visited occupied Palestine. As indigenous and women of color feminists involved in multiple social justice struggles, we sought to affirm our association with the growing international movement for a free Palestine. We wanted to see for ourselves the conditions under which Palestinian people live and struggle against what we can now confidently name as the Israeli project of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Each and every one of us—including those members of our delegation who grew up in the Jim Crow South, in apartheid South Africa, and on Indian reservations in the U.S.—was shocked by what we saw. In this statement we describe some of our experiences and issue an urgent call to others who share our commitment to racial justice, equality, and freedom.

During our short stay in Palestine, we met with academics, students, youth, leaders of civic organizations, elected officials, trade unionists, political leaders, artists, and civil society activists, as well as residents of refugee camps and villages that have been recently attacked by Israeli soldiers and settlers. Everyone we encountered—in Nablus, Awarta, Balata, Jerusalem, Hebron, Dheisheh, Bethlehem, Birzeit, Ramallah, Um el-Fahem, and Haifa—asked us to tell the truth about life under occupation and about their unwavering commitment to a free Palestine. We were deeply impressed by people’s insistence on the linkages between the movement for a free Palestine and struggles for justice throughout the world; as Martin Luther King, Jr. insisted throughout his life, “Justice is indivisible. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Traveling by bus throughout the country, we saw vast numbers of Israeli settlements ominously perched in the hills, bearing witness to the systematic confiscation of Palestinian land in flagrant violation of international law and United Nations resolutions. We met with refugees across the country whose families had been evicted from their homes by Zionist forces, their land confiscated, their villages and olive groves razed. As a consequence of this ongoing displacement, Palestinians comprise the largest refugee population in the world (over five million), the majority living within 100 kilometers of their natal homes, villages, and farmlands. In defiance of United Nations Resolution 194, Israel has an active policy of opposing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes and lands on the grounds that they are not entitled to exercise the Israeli Law of Return, which is reserved for Jews.

In Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in eastern occupied Jerusalem, we met an 88-year-old woman who was forcibly evicted in the middle of the night; she watched as the Israeli military moved settlers into her house a mere two hours later. Now living in the small back rooms of what was once her large family residence, she defiantly asserted that neither Israel’s courts nor its military could ever force her from her home. In the city of Hebron, we were stunned by the conspicuous presence of Israeli soldiers, who maintain veritable conditions of apartheid for the city’s Palestinian population of almost 200,000, as against its 700 Jewish settlers. We crossed several Israeli checkpoints designed to control Palestinian movement on West Bank roads and along the Green Line. Throughout our stay, we met Palestinians who, because of Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem and plans to remove its native population, have been denied entry to the Holy City. We spoke to a man who lives ten minutes away from Jerusalem but who has not been able to enter the city for twenty-seven years. The Israeli government thus continues to wage a demographic war for Jewish dominance over the Palestinian population.

We were never able to escape the jarring sight of the ubiquitous apartheid wall, which stands in contempt of international law and human rights principles. Constructed of twenty-five-foot-high concrete slabs, electrified cyclone fencing, and winding razor wire, it almost completely encloses the West Bank and extends well east of the Green Line marking Israel’s pre-1967 borders. It snakes its way through ancient olive groves, destroying the beauty of the landscape, dividing communities and families, severing farmers from their fields and depriving them of their livelihood. In Abu Dis, the wall cuts across the campus of Al Quds University through the soccer field. In Qalqiliya, we saw massive gates built to control the entry and access of Palestinians to their lands and homes, including a gated corridor through which Palestinians with increasingly rare Israeli-issued permits are processed as they enter Israel for work, sustaining the very state that has displaced them. Palestinian children are forced through similar corridors, lining-up for hours twice each day to attend school. As one Palestinian colleague put it, “Occupied Palestine is the largest prison in the world.”

An extensive prison system bolsters the occupation and suppresses resistance. Everywhere we went we met people who had either been imprisoned themselves or had relatives who had been incarcerated. Twenty thousand Palestinians are locked inside Israeli prisons, at least 8,000 of them are political prisoners and more than 300 are children. In Jerusalem, we met with members of the Palestinian Legislative Council who are being protected from arrest by the International Committee of the Red Cross. In Um el-Fahem, we met with an Islamist leader just after his release from prison and heard a riveting account of his experience on the Mavi Marmara and the 2010 Gaza Flotilla. The criminalization of their political activity, and that of the many Palestinians we met, was a constant and harrowing theme.

We also came to understand how overt repression is buttressed by deceptive representations of the state of Israel as the most developed social democracy in the region. As feminists, we deplore the Israeli practice of “pink-washing,” the state’s use of ostensible support for gender and sexual equality to dress-up its occupation. In Palestine, we consistently found evidence and analyses of a more substantive approach to an indivisible justice. We met the President and the leadership of the Arab Feminist Union and several other women’s groups in Nablus who spoke about the role and struggles of Palestinian women on several fronts. We visited one of the oldest women’s empowerment centers in Palestine, In’ash al-Usra, and learned about various income-generating cultural projects. We also spoke with Palestinian Queers for BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions], young organizers who frame the struggle for gender and sexual justice as part and parcel of a comprehensive framework for self-determination and liberation. Feminist colleagues at Birzeit University, An-Najah University, and Mada al-Carmel spoke to us about the organic linkage of anti-colonial resistance with gender and sexual equality, as well as about the transformative role Palestinian institutions of higher education play in these struggles.

We were continually inspired by the deep and abiding spirit of resistance in the stories people told us, in the murals inside buildings such as Ibdaa Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, in slogans painted on the apartheid wall in Qalqiliya, Bethlehem, and Abu Dis, in the education of young children, and in the commitment to emancipatory knowledge production. At our meeting with the Boycott National Committee—an umbrella alliance of over 200 Palestinian civil society organizations, including the General Union of Palestinian Women, the General Union of Palestinian Workers, the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel [PACBI], and the Palestinian Network of NGOs—we were humbled by their appeal: “We are not asking you for heroic action or to form freedom brigades. We are simply asking you not to be complicit in perpetuating the crimes of the Israeli state.”

Therefore, we unequivocally endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to pressure Israeli state-sponsored institutions to adhere to international law, basic human rights, and democratic principles as a condition for just and equitable social relations. We reject the argument that to criticize the State of Israel is anti-Semitic. We stand with Palestinians, an increasing number of Jews, and other human rights activists all over the world in condemning the flagrant injustices of the Israeli occupation.

We call upon all of our academic and activist colleagues in the U.S. and elsewhere to join us by endorsing the BDS campaign and by working to end U.S. financial support, at $8.2 million daily, for the Israeli state and its occupation. We call upon all people of conscience to engage in serious dialogue about Palestine and to acknowledge connections between the Palestinian cause and other struggles for justice. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University*

Ayoka Chenzira, artist and filmmaker, Atlanta, GA

Angela Y. Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz*

Gina Dent, University of California, Santa Cruz*

G. Melissa Garcia, Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University*

Anna Romina Guevarra, author and sociologist, Chicago, IL

Beverly Guy-Sheftall, author, Atlanta, GA

Premilla Nadasen, author, New York, NY

Barbara Ransby, author and historian, Chicago, IL

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University*

Waziyatawin, University of Victoria*

*For identification purposes only

For press inquiries, please contact feministdelegation@gmail.com.

***

INCITE! also endorses the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction for Palestine.
For more info & resources, please visit:

http://inciteblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/global-bds-day-of-action/
http://www.bdsmovement.net/
http://usacbi.org/

Migritude

Migritude, by Sokari Ekine

We have traveled half the world
with hearts open,
we’ve seen everything.
Always remember who we are,
where we came from,
and you’ll never do evil

[From ‘What we keep’ ©]

Migritude is a gift of which Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak writes:

‘A vibrant, gendered, wordsmith’s voice, speaking Africa, Asia, the metropole, history, the present – the world.’

In the introduction to Migritude, Vijay Prashad writes:

‘I came to Shailja Patel’s Migritude joyously, embraced by the first few lines about the teardrop in Babylon. The embrace didn’t falter. The words held me. They are a song.’

***

I, too, did not deviate from that first embrace.

One has great expectations from a text which begins with such poetic imagination as ‘It began as a teardrop in Babylon.’ My mind flew to all the teardrops shed from the dignities stolen by imperialism, injustice and hate. The indignities endured in exile; the collusion of global capital and imperialism in the political and socio-economic tyrannies which force us to flee our homelands.

We see this as I write, with the murder of Ugandan LGBTI activist David Kato and South African lesbians and transgendered women and men who are being raped and murdered because of  their sexuality and gender identity; with the women of Congo, many of whom face rape and other terrible acts of violence every day; with the people of Egypt who are demanding freedom from the tyranny of Mubarak and his US/Israeli allies; with the millions of people of colour, who dare to cross borders and  face constant hostility in the US, Germany, and the UK; with the surviving indigenous peoples of America whose lives are impoverished and history erased with whiteness.

Through her own life journey and mixing prose and poetry, Shailja’s Migritude exposes and shares the tears of history, merging personal stories with reflections on violence, colonization and migrant journeys which flow horizontally and vertically, through the lives of women.

It is best I start at the beginning and go with my feelings which are not linear but bounce around, moving between sadness, joy, anger, hope, irony,  knowing and not knowing.

Migritude is a gift, but not a gift on a plate. Rather, it is poetry woven with performance which requires imagination. And this is one of the many gifts of Migritude – we get to expand and explore our imaginations. And we learn. It’s about how we imagine ourselves, our histories, our political journeys. It is also about facts: facts of our histories which we are never told and facts of the politics of empires and post/neo-empires which are full of deception and exploitation.

Migritude has many beginnings. The first is in the sixth century BCE and the first depiction of the motif Ambi in Central Asia which, on the arrival of barbarian imperialism, is later stolen by Scottish weavers of the small village of Paisley. Ambi becomes Paisley, Mosuleen becomes Muslin, Kashmiri becomes Cashmere and Chai becomes ‘a beverage invented in California’.

Later, in 800 AD, there is the beginning of the relationship between Africa, Arabia and Asia, brought about by ‘flourishing’ trade and travel between the peoples of these regions.

Another beginning is the gift of her wedding trousseau. Shailja’s mother had been collecting saris and jewelry for the day Shailja would get married. It wasn’t happening so she gave up, broke tradition and offered her daughter the gift of a red suitcase full of exquisitely beautiful saris, an act which Shailja interprets as recognition of her chosen path as equally worthy of that of her sisters’ marriage; an act of feminism and the knowledge that one has the power to change the way things are; an act which would lead to the performance of Migritude.

So I imagine I am lying down, half-struggling to extricate myself from the red, gold, green and turquoise blue saris with which Shailja performs to break the silence of violence, violation, rape, war, indignity, empire. The other half of me struggles to cocoon and protect myself in their softness.

The book is roughly divided into three parts. The first is ‘Migritude’, which was ‘created dangerously’* to ‘reclaim and celebrate outsider status’ and to ‘tell the invisible stories of empire war colonialism, the impact on those that are on the receiving end of these global forces’**. It tells of Shailja’s parents and their personal uncompromising struggle to ensure their three daughters have the gift of education; the Maasai and Samburu women in Kenya who were raped systematically for 35 years by British soldiers stationed on their land; the women of Iraq and Afghanistan – abducted, vanished, killed; the indignities unleashed by border patrols on people of colour.

The second part, ‘The Shadow’, is the story of Shailja’s ‘creative journey’ and the making of Migritude a ‘behind the scenes and after the fact, vinaigrette of memories and associations’. Here she tells of her discovery of the origins of Paisley in ancient Babylon, which forged her to engage with complex and multiple migrations.

Similarly, history as told by the Empire is full of half-truths and erasure: such as Idi Amin being a guard in the Kings African Rifles which were used to quell the Kenyan Mau Mau uprisings and from which he learned to torture from Britain’s finest; that Britain, Israel and the US sponsored the coup which brought him to power and unleashed terror on millions; and love, which in western context is often reduced to the banal by repetitious words and expressions. Following a performance in Genoa, Italy, Shailja learns from a member of the audience that during his childhood in rural Italy, life was so harsh that parents dared only kiss their children when the were sleeping, because any affection when they were awake might weaken their ability to survive.

The third and final section is devoted to poetry, Shailja’s journey from poet to performer and, most importantly, for her work as an activist, her personal shift from ‘self-protected silence to political expression’. As Shailja learns, yes, you can run in a Sari!

I end with another quote from the cover of Migritude which captures both the beauty of this poetic masterpiece and its explicit call to action.

‘Migritude is poetry as documentary. It is non-fiction as testimony. It is authorship as survival. Of course Migritude defies categorization – the best art always does.’ Raj Patel

***

Shailja Patel is Kenyan playwright, poet, performer and activist. 

Migritude is published by Kaya Press.

* Taken from Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat.
** An interview with Shailja Patel by Preeti Mangala Shekar of the Women’s Magazine.

Sokari Ekine is the author of the award-winning Black Looks blog.

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June 12th-19th, Istanbul, Turkey: CREA’s Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute: Exploring Theory and Practice

CREA is a feminist human rights organization based in the global South and led by women from the global South. CREA promotes, protects, and advances women’s human rights and the sexual rights of all people by building leadership capacities; strengthening organizations and social movements; increasing access to new information, knowledge, and resources; and creating enabling social and policy environments.

CREA’s Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute: Exploring Theory and Practice
June 12-19, 2010, Istanbul, Turkey

Applications are due on or before April 18, 2010. Please visit www.creaworld.org for the application form and Institute brochure.

The Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute is an annual, week-long, residential course that focuses on a conceptual study of sexuality. It examines the links between sexuality, rights, gender, and health and their interface with socio-cultural and legal issues. Participants will critically analyze policy, research and program interventions using a rights-based approach.

Continue reading

Adoptees of Color Issue Statement on Transnational Adoptions of Haitian Children

Children wait in line for medical care. Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. UN Photo/Marco Dormino, used via Creative Commons

Earlier this year, 10 US Baptist missionaries faced kidnapping charges in Haiti, after taking 33 children across the Haitian border into the Dominican Republic.  Their explanation that they were trying to rescue Haitian children orphaned as a result of the January 13th earthquake was called into question when it was found that some of the children had existing parents.

The New York Times recently reported that the children have since been reunited with their families:

The 33 Haitian children taken from their earthquake-damaged homes by American church members in January were reunited with their biological families on Wednesday, officials said. The children, who ranged in age from 4 months to 12 years, were cared for at the SOS Children’s Village in the capital, Port-au-Prince, while social workers investigated their backgrounds. Nine of the 10 Americans arrested by the Haitian authorities while trying to take the children to the Dominican Republic were later released. The leader, Laura Silsby, remains in custody.

On January 25th, the Adoptees of Color Roundtable released a statement on transnational adoption of Haitian children.  They write:

We uphold that Haitian children have a right to a family and a history that is their own and that Haitians themselves have a right to determine what happens to their own children. We resist the racist, colonialist mentality that positions the Western nuclear family as superior to other conceptions of family, and we seek to challenge those who abuse the phrase “Every child deserves a family”  to rethink how this phrase is used to justify the removal of children from Haiti for the fulfillment of their own needs and desires. Western and Northern desire for ownership of Haitian children directly contributes to the destruction of existing family and community structures in Haiti. This individualistic desire is supported by the historical and global anti-African sentiment which negates the validity of black mothers and fathers and condones the separation of black children from their families, cultures, and countries of origin.

Full statement is here.  Also, the blog Outlandish Remarks: a queer korean adoptee talks back, responds to the question of how non-Haitian people can support families and children in Haiti in lieu of adoption:

My common sense response would be for those adopters to take the money they would be using to buy a Haitian child and give it to organizations working within the child’s community to provide relief and to eventually rebuild the infrastructure of that community so the child can remain in its care.

This full post is here.

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Mar 29th, Washington, DC: Radical Forgiveness: Report Back From Rwanda

DC Benefit for Visions To Peace Project:

As we struggle to end cycles of violence in our local communities, what can we learn from Rwandans’ efforts to heal and rebuild in the aftermath of genocide?

This event is for YOUTH, YOUNG ADULTS, and OLDER FOLKS!! There will be inter-generational dialogue (in the form of small group discussions) after the film screening and poetry performance. Please spread the word!!!

Radical Forgiveness: A Report-Back from Rwanda
Monday, March 29, 2010

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Salvation
Army Solomon G. Brown Corps Community Center
2300 Martin Luther King Ave. SE Washington , D.C. 20020
(Two blocks from the Anacostia Metro Station – Green Line)

featuring

As We Forgive – a film by Laura Waters Hinson

Performance by SLAM Poet Sonya Renee Taylor

Could you forgive a person who murdered your family?

This is the question faced by the subjects of As We Forgive, a documentary about Rosaria and Chantal— two Rwandan women coming face-to-face with the men who slaughtered their families during the 1994 genocide.

Struggling to live again as neighbors, these survivors and killers discover the power and the pain of radical reconciliation.

A variety of East African Food will be served!

RSVP to johonnam@yahoo.com or call 301-675-5178.

FREE!!

Donations requested to benefit the Visions to Peace Project: http://www.visionispower.org

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Proudly African & Transgender: Portraits

Bongi, South Africa

Bongi, South Africa; portrait by Gabrielle Le Roux; courtesy of Black Looks

The Proudly African & Transgender: Portraits exhibition by Gabrielle Le Roux in partnership with IGLHRC has premiered in Amsterdam.  Amnesty International – Amsterdam opened the exhibition on Feb 25th.  Le Roux explains,

The exhibition honours brave transgender activists in Africa who put their lives on the line for the human rights of all people to be true to themselves and express their identity as they feel it.

Black Looks has posted the portraits of transgender Africans from seven countries in East and Southern Africa. Each person in the portraits has also written short self-portraits about being transgender and the exhibit.  Salango Nikki Mawanda of Uganda, one of the portrait subjects, writes,

The situation of Trans people in Uganda is both negative and positive. Positively we have now organized ourselves through an organization called T.I.Ts UGANDA and through this group we are creating awareness about our existence in Uganda also for us to strategize on how overcome our challenges and threat. Negatively, we as trans people in Uganda are faced by day to day abuses both physical and verbal. We suffer from lack of information, blackmail by some of the people we trust and unfriendly health care policies. Inhuman and degrading treatment by health providers creates an insecure environment for trans people, who can’t trust them and that leads to self medication. As that all not enough, we are now going through a very difficult time since the anti homosexuality bill was tabled late last year.

Hat tip to flip flopping joy.

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