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’.
For me, & for the longest time, being a woman meant being strong, being a fighter, and surviving. Being a woman means carrying all the weight & constant emotional fatigue. Going through shit constantly but conquering because strength of a woman. That’s shit. I’m redefining womanhood for myself. It’s hard but I have seen what a woman can be and I want that for myself:- excellence, confidence, soft & vulnerable yet powerful because of that, independent across all spectrums( financial independence, emotional & mental independence, in control of one’s life & dictating your own fate). I have seen women thriving without the cost of losing their joy. I want that.
Being queer means being true to myself. But it also means unpacking a lot of constructs in my head. Someone recently told me I am homophobic to myself. It’s true. I’ve actually never experienced any negativity because of my queerness, it all stems from me, the shame, the fear, feeling like I’m wrong. Being queer means facing my fears, embracing & living my truth. I am working on owning the fact that I am queer & not just wild or experimenting.
Being queer & being a woman makes me feel like I’m at a tight corner at the back of a very crowded room. I have so much pushing against me & my voice is small. I am small.
I don’t think I celebrate my queerness. I’m still sitting in the discomfort of it, but I’m trying to interact with the queer community to change this. I’m celebrating my womanhood by trying to live my best life, by trying to be loud, by writing about women & our experiences & the injustices we face & the reality I hope for for women like me. I embrace my womanhood by my womanism & feminism, by being soft, by allowing myself to be weak, to cry, to take a break. I don’t have to & must not be defined by my strength or endurance. I celebrate my womanhood by being beautiful, be embracing & owning my beauty, be enhancing it. I feel magical every time I wear make up, every time I make my body feel good. I embrace my womanhood by choosing sexual freedom/liberation. By taking control and choosing whatever direction my life will go.
I hope to finally be okay with being queer. I want to stop running away every time a woman I’m attracted to reciprocates. I want to enjoy my queerness. I want society to embrace queer culture so that it doesn’t feel uncomfortable or disappointing to own my life. The thing with owning my queerness is my fear of disappointing and/or losing important people in my life. I don’t want my freedom if it takes away some of my most important relationships. I want to live openly, freely, truly. I want happiness as a queer woman in my Kenya.
I want to take this moment to thank B* for taking some time to answer my questions, and for her raw honesty. If you’d like to feature send me an email on email@example.com.
*her name has been changed to protect her identity.