This conversation was a celebration and affirmation of Queer existence and Queer love. Queer organizers have been at the frontline in championing equal rights for the LGBTIQ community in the nationwide campaign, Repeal 162. Although the Kenyan courts upheld Sections 162, 163, and 165, organizers are not discouraged and are hopeful that the Queer community in Kenya will enjoy equality, dignity, and affirmation. Thus, INEND convened this conversation with the recognition that Pride is a necessary conversation as activists continue to build a vibrant and effective LGBTIQ movement in Kenya.
Queer feminists have contributed so much to the feminist movement by starting uncomfortable conversations, questioning heteronormativity, and building feminist theory and practice centered on collapsing the heteropatriarchy.
A recognition that feminism is centered a lot on cishet women thus maligning Queer people is a call to action to create more feminist spaces to have honest conversations about ways in which feminist spaces can be more inclusive. There is a further need to find a line of unity as Queer and cishet feminists, where allyship towards promoting equal rights for Queer people can be achieved.
The conversation was a call to cishet feminists to sit with themselves and reflect on the ways they can ensure that Queer feminists are not gaslighted when they talk about their lived realities. Queer politics is not based only on identity but on the politics of challenging the hetero norm and dismantling the systems that allow homophobia to thrive. Allyship should therefore not be performative, should not just be seen on Pride month and forgotten the rest of the 11 months. Allyship is every day. Solidarity is every single minute.
The following responses were given regarding the meaning of Pride;
There was a unanimous recognition that despite the different meanings of Pride to different people, we are united by our feminist politics and it is extremely important to build solidarity, collectivism, and root our feminisms in love, love for each other, and hope for a better world.
Initiative for Equality and Non Discrimination (INEND) is a local nonprofit organization that researches strategies for equality and acceptance in the coast region of Kenya and shares experiences with other stakeholders in an effort to contribute towards tolerance, non-discrimination and acceptance of gender and sexual minorities.