- Title: Africa's LGBT community continues struggle for rights in 2019
- Date: 1st January 2020
- Summary: MORE OF BINYAVANGA WAINAINA'S MEMORIAL PORTRAIT JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (FILE - JULY 20, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE VIEWING ARTWORK AT AN EXHIBITION VARIOUS OF MUHOLI EXPLAINING PORTRAITS TO AUDIENCE
- Embargoed: 15th January 2020 13:24
- Keywords: Binyavanga Wainaina LGBT gay gay rights lesbians trans sex workers
- Location: NAIROBI, KENYA / JOHANNESBURG AND CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
- City: NAIROBI, KENYA / JOHANNESBURG AND CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
- Country: Various
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA004BUCCWNR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Kenya's high court upheld a law banning gay sex on Friday (May 24), keeping same-sex relations punishable by 14 years in jail in the East African nation and drawing strong criticism from the United Nations and rights activists.
Same-sex relationships are a crime in more than 70 countries around the world, almost half of them in Africa. Campaigners who filed the petition to decriminalise gay sex argued that the law violated Kenya's 2010 constitution, which guarantees equality, dignity and privacy for all citizens.
Friends and family of Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina gathered at a service in the capital, Nairobi on Thursday (May 30), to celebrate the life and legacy of the author and gay rights activist, who died on May 21, aged 48. Wainaina, who announced in 2016 that he was HIV positive, had been in and out of the hospital for the past year and suffered several strokes.
The memorial was held at the open air, botanical garden inside the Nairobi National Museum, where mourners wrote heartfelt letters hanged above a candle lit portrait of Binyavanga as African jazz music played in the background.
Wainaina won the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002 for his short story collection "Discovering Home" and went on to set up Kwani?, a literary journal dedicated to publishing new writers from Africa. Wainaina's 2005 essay "How to Write About Africa", was a pointed and satirical instructions to would-be journalists and historians for a more nuanced portrayal of the African continent.
Meanwhile in South Africa, visual artist Prof. Zanele Muholi held a captivating exhibition at the Stevenson Gallery in Johannesburg. Muholi has been photographing lesbian, trans, and gender non-conforming African people for 13 years and uses black and white photography as a medium to create positive representations of LGBTQ people.
These provocative black and white portraits and stories of the people behind them have been displayed in New York, Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Canada. Muholi has also exhibited at global contemporary art events like the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.
South is still rife with homophobic violence despite having LGBTQ protections enshrined in its constitution. Members of the LGBTQ community continue to face challenges, including homophobic violence as well as high rates of HIV/AIDS infection.
People from the LGBT community in Johannesburg came together in the city's first official black queer ball recently, an event which organisers said was meant to create a safe space for people in their community.
The ball was themed "The Winter Fantasy" and was a pageant where participants of four houses consisting of four members and a house mother, competed in different categories such as "African Royalty" and "Skothanas" -- a South African take on street style, in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
South Africa's constitution outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, and it's the only country in Africa that has legalised same-sex marriage.
Beneath a bridge in the Capetonian suburb of Observatory, a network of blankets strung together have become a refuge for the self-proclaimed Sistaaz of the Castle.
These Sistaaz - a group of about 40 homeless, transgender sex workers - have become a growing voice on issues such as transgender homeless shelters, the legalisation of sex work and better access to healthcare.
Many end up living in makeshift shelters where they are vulnerable to being robbed, attacked or having their homes dismantled by law enforcement.
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