Lesbian Bisexual and Queer Statement

Presented at the Changing Faces, Changing Spaces VI Conference

Naivasha- Kenya; 14th June 2017

Who are we?

We are Radical African Lesbian Feminists that use radical feminism as our political stand-point on women’s bodily autonomy lives, desires and sexuality. We are firmly committed to a liberatory project that encompasses spiritual, political, socio-cultural, sexual and economic transformation. We live and work on the African continent and have a shared vision of an Africa that embraces diversity.

Where are we Coming From?

Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer activists held a Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Pre-Conference on 12th June 2017 in Naivasha, Kenya on the sidelines of the Changing Faces, Changing Spaces VI Conference. The LBQ Pre-Conference brought together 45 participants from 28 African Countries that deliberated on a number of issues.

What is the Problem?

Patriarchal Manifestations – intertwined with patriarchy as a result LBQ are further oppressed through:

  1. Invisibilisation and trivialisation of the Lesbian Bisexual and Queer struggles
  2. Shrinking spaces for engagement, positioning and funding of LBQ organising
  3. Increasing fundamentalisms – economic, religious, cultural, fascism and militarism
  4. Our organising mainly through:
    1. The NGO-isation of our movements.
    2. Lack of a Pan-African collective LBQ feminist agenda
    3. Donor driven agendas
    4. Pursuance of a predominantly liberal feminist agenda
    5. Creation and/or perpetuation of organising/movements that are classist, urban-focused and around individuals/personalities and ego’s at the expense of real radical and transformatory movements/work encompassing a critical mass
  5. The challenge of organising across generations in a non-patronising, extractivist and matronising manner
    1. Resourcing of LBQ struggles:
    2. Dwindling resources towards LBQ organising in Africa
    3. Shifting donor priorities even within the Sexual Rights Organising
    4. Narrow definition of resources majorly focusing on donor funding
    5. Limited investments into LBQ innovative research
  6. Wellness and health of LBQ activists
  7. Accountability is on two levels: within our movements and between our movements and funding partners. Most importantly accountability from a feminist frame where it’s about analysing and de-constructing hierarchical power relations.
  8. Knowledge Production especially:
    1. No priority given to LBQ research
    2. Extractivist knowledge production
    3. Framing priorities and politics – on whose knowledge is deemed to be valuable, colonial as well as language used and limited investments into LBQ data and evidence generation.
    4. Problematising the idea that there’s no data, the way it’s used and agency denied to LBQ individuals and movements that are often reduced to figures and statistics.

What are we Doing About it?

  1. Expanding LBQ spaces and widening our agendas for better dialogue.
  2. Donor engagement on resourcing, priority setting informed by our research and lived realities.
  3. Documenting and developing our analysis based on our realities – politicising our work.
  4. Working actively on collective organising with other progressive social movements at the local, national and regional spaces.

Our Commitments – We as Radical African Lesbian Feminists Commit To:

  1. We commit to expand our analysis beyond our current scope of what fits into sexuality, for example, engaging with how economic justice intersects and informs issues of sexuality.
  2. We commit to develop a collective agenda as radical LBQ African Feminists, popularizing it and creating a mass movements using political education tools at our disposal.
  3. We commit to an accountability that is grounded in feminist ethos, accountability to funding partners that liberates rather than oppresses us, accountability to our communities and doing no harm. And accountability and personal justice for our individual selves.
  4. We further commit to building, resourcing and sustaining transnational LBQ feminist solidarity and movements.
  5. A commitment to working and engaging radically across social class, regions and with other progressive social movements.

Our Demands – What We Demand of Others:

  1. Investment in Wellness – Developing a tool-kit of wellness, resourcing wellness work that goes beyond a western understanding of wellness and encompasses collective local, traditional, and indigenous frames of self-care and wellness.
  2. Resourcing our Movements and Struggles – We call upon donor partners to increase financial resources towards LBQ organising in Africa; and ensure equity between and amongst various regions and priorities for LBQ organising.
  3. Knowledge Production – Our experience, analysis and lived realities must be acknowledged as knowledge and changing of the modes of knowledge production. We further demand for a complete transformation of knowledge production where, our knowledge should not be abused.
  4. Transformative Leadership Development – We call upon funding and implementing partners to commit to the establishment and resourcing of an African Lesbian Feminist Leadership Institute as a way to build the LBQ movements, nurture transformative leadership, deepen our radical African lesbian feminist analyses and setting an LBQ agenda.