Queer Womyn In Kenya is a series that seeks to celebrate bodies that are queer and that identify as womyn. It is an intimate conversation on what both identities mean for us and how they intersect. Above all, it is an opportunity to be seen as present. A not so subtle raising of the hand, clearing of the throat and raising of the voice to say ‘I am here’.
I did a video recently, in which I discovered that I wasn’t properly equipped to be a woman. Beyond the biological lessons in class, I feel that I didn’t get proper training in womanhood, but did anyone? In the same video, I shared that for me, womanhood means strength, being in touch with my emotions, femininity and sisterhood. For as long as I can remember, I have been attracted to women. Even before my mind could grasp what attraction is and what it means. The world told me that that was wrong. In my heart, I know there is nothing wrong with me, there is nothing wrong with existing in a woman loving body. I have no problem taking up the word ‘Queer’ and owning that space. Reclaiming it to show that I am different and that I am okay with that. Using the same slur thrown at me, to take up space and build and empower others.
This series is important to me because it’s a chance to affirm our existence and to celebrate it.
I have always worried that I am not doing enough for women. That I am out of loop when it comes to feminism. That I don’t know enough. That I am not talking about it enough. I think, for me, it stems from my fear of confrontation. Having an opinion and being a vocal about it, in my head equals confrontation. For a long while, the thought of that scared me. It was much easier to pick up other people’s opinions and whisper my agreement. Growth for me, means being comfortable in the skin of my opinion. Twisting it and stretching it and wearing it proudly. Not being scared to voice that I am passionate about women in every sense of the word. This series will hopefully be a part of that growth and a testament to it.
That’s how the two identities intersect for me, being queer and being a woman. They are all parts of me that I was scared to acknowledge before. Now, I am just short of standing on a mountain and screaming, ‘I am here. I am a woman and I am queer.’ Or standing up in every matatu and telling people the same.
It may seem shallow (there is that fear of having an opinion rearing its head again), but I love taking pictures. I love doing my makeup and dressing up and taking seventy pictures which all look the same, but well, you can never be too sure. That’s because for me, being a woman is heavily hinged on femininity. I love attending events for queer people and being in the presence of fellow queers. That’s why I organize my own events too, well, one of the reasons why. That’s how I celebrate being queer and being a woman.
In the future, my first hope would be equality. For both women and queer bodies. I would also hope for freedom. The freedom to be our true selves, wholly and unhindered. I hope in the future women and queer people are happier, freer, and more at peace. I hope our lives will be so much more than a constant battle.
Pepper, creator of KenyanBabyDyke. I have so many nicknames, I am not sure which to use at times. I identify as a woman and as queer. When I am not working, I am writing or shooting videos, basically creating content in whichever form, but y’all already know that.
I am so excited to start this series. If you’d like to feature send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.