Namibia has a small but self-confident and diverse queer community. Although state and society often react with rejection to queer forms of life, people have started to organize pride marches, campaigns and legal proceedings to increase the visibility of LGBTIQA+ in Namibia and to fight for their equality.
“Land of the Queers” collects true life stories from queers in Namibia, asking questions like; How’s being queer in Namibia? What does being lesbian, gay, bi, trans, inter, non-binary, agender or asexual mean to those Namibians? Are they living in the closet or are they “out and proud”? How have been their coming-outs? Do they face homo-, bi- or transphobia? Which wishes do they have for themselves and for the queer community of Namibia? Do they think there is something like a queer community of Namibia? All those questions and many more are asked by LOTQ. Besides, it researches the normative conditions of queer life in Namibia regarding politics, religion and society as a whole.
As a future social anthropologist, I am particularly interested in the challenges queer people face in Namibia, how their lives are structured within and outside the so-called ‘queer community’ and which forms of action and organization they choose to improve their own situation.
I am Max, 23 years old, live in Leipzig, Germany and study Social Anthropology (Ethnology) and Educational Science at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. I run LOTQ.
Since I have been living in Rehoboth and working as a volunteer at a public high school there between August 2017 and August 2018, I have started to follow the development of the queer community of Namibia. What has begun as a personal issue – I am queer myself and had to learn how to deal with that during my voluntary service – became a special bonding of solidarity with queer people in Namibia.
At first, I want to make clear that I am not going to pretend to be the voice of queer people of Namibia. I am not. You do not need me. You can speak for yourselves and you are already doing it.
I just want to share publicly the voices and stories I collect with all people who are interested. I think it would not be fair to come as a white, European researcher to Namibia using privileges as time and money to research and collect data and not giving access to those ressources to those people living in the country and being part of this community.
About the name of the website
When I have started to collect information about the situation of queer people in Namibia and their life stories, I got in contact with Aedin and Pieter, two queers living in Windhoek who were running the Facebook page “Land of the Queers”. Since then both have been supporting me all the time while I was building up this website and starting to bring this project ahead.
Aedin suggested to me that I just could continue with the wordplay out of the name of Namibia’s national anthem “Land of the brave”.
“It means you have to be brave to be openly queer in this country.” (Aedin)
I decided to take the name because it comes from the queer community in Namibia itself. Unfortunately, both decided to withdrawal from the project because of lacking capacities, need for a break in activism and personal issues.
Feel free to participate
All queer Namibians are invited to share their life stories over Land of the Queers. Feel free to text me if you want to join. I have prepared a couple of questions which seem to be interesting in my eyes. However, you decide which questions you want to answer and which not, if you want to stay anonymous (e.g. to protect yourself and not having an unintentional coming out) and there will be enough space for you to let people know whatever concerns you. Never forget, it is your story. You can also participate in artistic ways of expression or a free-written text. Everything is possible.
Besides, I am open minded for any criticism. If you think I forgot some important questions and perspectives or if you read something which I misrepresent, let me know.
Additionally, I am always busy to educate myself about topics like post-colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, intersectionality, queer studies and to reflect myself critically. If you recognize expressions which are Euro-centrist or white nevertheless, do not hesitate to text me.