Land of the Queers has been officially online now for almost one week. There were hundreds of clicks within the first few hours, with support for the project and persons being interested in sharing their life stories pouring in as well.
Nevertheless, there was some criticism regarding Aedin and Pieter’s story, which we would like to share with you.
Mainly the socio-cultural background of both was questioned, especially their whiteness;
“What might be their exact relation with Namibia? Did they both grow up in Namibia? If not, then, what brought them there? Will there also be life stories about brown and darker skinned people?”Part of the message we received
The person asked if we could talk about the socialization and privileges regarding being white because both might be marginalized for being queer but still had advantages because of their skin color. We want to give a statement regarding this message.
We are aware of the difficulty of representation. The whole team of LOTQ is white and although all three of us do not identify ourselves exclusively as men, we know that people perceive us as male and that we get socialized with in this way.
Aedin and Pieter are 3rd generation Namibians. For the most part raised in Namibia, met and got to know each other there and are committed in queer activism for all queer Namibians. Both are aware of their position and privileges and can understand the criticism. However, they feel hurt.
“Regarding our whiteness, it is (through our experience) evident that people of color do not want white representation for the LGBT anymore, which is a fair point as white gay men have been the poster child for far too long, in White majority societies. But that is not the case here, as the Namibian queer society is mostly dominated by people of color (which again, is perfectly fair) as is evident in all events, parades and previous visibility projects for and by the Namibian LGBT.”Aedin
We do not want to deny that whiteness includes privileges and structural power in a world dominated by racism. We just want to point out that there are also white queer Namibians as well and we should not discredit based off of privileges or what makes us different from one another, but find common grounds in our shared experiences and deal with our intersectionality.
By the way, we chose for our logo the rainbow flag with integrated trans* flag as well as the brown and black bar which shall give People of Colour visibility in the queer community.
Working on the lack of diverse representation of the whole queer community of Namibia is our first priority. But most of all we need your help and willingness to participate in the project for that to be realised.
LOTQ is open for ALL queer Namibians, irrespective of their race, mother tongue, sexuality, gender identity or social background. Whether you are in the closet or out and proud.
The more participation, the more colorful the rainbow.