Where do African queers belong? Politicians tell us we belong in the West, where our “unAfrican” desires were supposedly invented (like their three-piece suits). Preachers tell us we are from Sodom and Gomorrah (but somehow survived the fire and brimstone). Others say we belong with the animals but that we are also “unnatural” (figure that one out).
Of course, we know very well that we belong right where we are. The harder question is: how do we belong? In the face of all this illogical hostility, how do we assert our right to be here and to be exactly who we are?
The question of belonging is becoming more and more central to queer culture and politics in Africa. As African LGBTI movements push against discriminatory laws, and African reactionaries push back by denying and criminalizing the realities of our lives.
This must be why so many of the submissions to Q-zine have been concerned in one way or another with questions of belonging and identity. We need to find ways to show we belong here just as we are, in all our diversity.
For our second issue we’ve selected the most interesting contributions on these questions, and clustered them around a stunning photo essay by California-based photographer Marc Allen Bland that highlights the issue of color – in both senses – and invites us to reassess our image of black queer identity.
Our other articles in this issue all engage in different ways with the same challenge. Q-zine’s mandate, as always, is to question and explore all the possibilities of queer African expression. I hope you enjoy what we have put together for our sophomore issue.