“If you think gays have a right, take them and stay with them in your countries.”
Paul Makonda Dar Es Salaam Regional Commissioner (1)
A few days ago, my eyes caught the petition against the Gay Hunt in Tanzania.
“Is it ever going to stop?!” I can’t help but sigh and shake my head.
This is a topic close to my heart and I find it very hard to believe that even in the 21st century, we are still not accepting that Love is Love in whatever form. As I write and correct this blog, I read out loud to my friend.
November 2018 Paul Makonda vowed to begin mass arrests of homosexuals in the city of Dar Es Salaam.
In a youtube video message, he said: “I have received reports that there are so many homosexuals in our city, and these homosexuals are advertising and selling their services on the internet. Therefore, I am announcing this to every citizen of Dar es Salaam: If you know any gays … report them to me.”
A few days later he told he had received over 18000 messages since his youtube video. He was proud and said that this shows how much his people hate gays. (2)
As a devoted Christian Makonda has long fought against gay Tanzanians. Although knowing that other governments will judge him on his actions, he rather angers them, than ager God. (3)
Tanzania was not always this strict on homosexuality, but since 2015 when Mr. Magufuli became president it has been tough. Not only for gay man. The entire LBGTQI community is suffering.
Last year Magufuli closed down all AIDS clinics, accusing them of ‘promoting homosexuality’…whatever that really means?
According to Human Rights Watch, you can get up to 30 years of imprisonment for being gay in Tanzania. It is one of the most severe punishments for same-sex intimacy. (4)
Last year a dozen men were arrested in a hotel in Dar Es Salaam because, according to the authorities, they promoted same-sex marriage since they were sitting two by two.
Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s deputy director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes: “It is mind-boggling that the mere act of sitting in a pair can assume criminal proportions. The police clearly have no grounds to file charges against these men in court, despite arresting them three days ago.” (5)
Since 2016 Makonda has been arresting sex workers and gay men and performed forced anal exams on them.
These exams are based on 19th century medical mythology about the effect of homosexual sex on the body. (6)
I look at my friend. She rolls her eyes.
It involves doctors or other medical personnel forcibly inserting their fingers, and sometimes other objects, into a person’s anus trying to determine whether that person has engaged in anal intercourse. (7)
“Stop reading!” my friend shouts. “I don’t want to know!”
The General Assembly of the World Medical Association (WMA), an international organization consisting of the national medical associations from 111 countries, condemned the use of forced anal examinations to seek evidence of consensual homosexuality. They believe it’s just to humiliate and hurt. (7)
Oh my God, I also don’t want to know! But how can we look the other way if this is happening?
As Victor Davidoff writes in the Moscow times: Are Gays the new Jews?
“They are visible, disliked by many in society and a very convenient target for fascists of all stripes.”(8)
I remember when my mother told me about gays when I was just a child. In the kitchen of our family townhouse in Amsterdam: “Sometimes a man and a woman love each other, like Mama and Papa. But there are also men who love other men. And the same counts for women. They can love each other too and be a couple.”
That was it. Simple.
I carried on minding my own business.
A few years later when I started to be more involved in opera, I asked my father if he thought the artistic leader of one project I was involved in, was gay. He nodded his head and said: “Yeah, I think so. Anyway, there are many gays in the world of opera.”
And that was it. No judgment. Just a fact. Nothing to be concerned about.
A few days ago I found a very interesting article about the Native American view on gender issues.
In 2005 I stayed a few days with a Navajo family. Later that year I visited the place again. The memories are dear to me. These people seemed so wise.
According to Indian Country Today, Native American tribes have been acknowledging up to 5 genders until European Christianity forced them otherwise.
Although each tribe had its own names for it, officially it would be translated to Two-spirits in English.
The Navajo call it Nádleehí (one who is transformed). Among the tribe of the Lakota it is Winkté, which indicates a male who wants to behave as a female.
In Ojibwe its: Niizh Manidoowag , which could be translated as two spirits.
The word Hemaneh , half man, half woman, is used in the Cheyenne tribe.
And in the Iroquois Cherokee language, there is no just translation for their term, but they do have gender variance terms for a “women who feel like men” and vice versa. (9)
In 1530, the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca reported “soft” Native Indian males, dressing and working as women.
Other explorers came back with stories about Native men who had “given to sin” and “hunting women”.
For the Europeans and later the Euro Americans it was a real problem that should be erased from history or “extinguished before it would be recorded”. They demanded the Native Americans to live a 2 gender lifestyle.
Native Americans would judge a person by its contribution to the tribe. It was normal for children to wear gender neutral clothes and parents were advised to let nature have its way. Traditionally these people were treated with respect and performed as shaman, were visionaries, medicine man/woman, matchmakers and held many other respected positions. They actually believed that it was quite a blessing from the Creator if a person had two spirits. He/ She could see the world from 2 different perspectives. Nowadays the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) community defines themselves over their preferred sexuality as for the Native Americans the two-spirit name was meant to be more about their spiritual development.
As Europeans took the land from the Native Americans they forced two spirits to take up European gender roles. Those who couldn’t do it often went underground or committed suicide.
When Christopher Columbus arrived and met with the two spirits, he made sure that they were murdered. There was no place for them in a “civilized world”. (10)
Russell Means, actor/ activist said: “In my culture, we have people who dress half-man, half-woman. Winkte, we call them in our language. If you are Winkte, that is an honourable term and you are a special human being and among my nation and all Plains people, we consider you a teacher of our children and are proud of what and who you are. ”
Below a picture of myself. Taken in the spring of 2018 when my friend ©Hana Brádková and I experimented with having her photograph me with a more gender neutral look since my favourite niche of operatic roles are boy-soprano roles.
Links with various interesting articles are found at the end of the blog. Inform yourself!
I leave you now with this breathtaking video of Matthew Richardson and his beloved Francis Perreault, dedicated to the victims of the mass shooting in the gay nightclub Pulse on June 12th, 2016 in Orlando, USA.
What a gift it is when you have more time on your hands to do things you love, like writing in my case.
My mentors Stuart and Jay helped me put up my online business to get this extra time and I couldn’t be more thankful. It has shifted my perspective in many ways and I am a happier person than I was before.
If you want to know more about the Journey I embarked on, sign up for the free videos of my mentors where they explain their mind-blowing way to a lifestyle you love. —>YES I WANT TO KNOW! I will click here! <—
The facts in my blog come from these pages: