Zimbabwe Gays And Lesbians to Exhibit At Next Year’s Trade Fair

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The gay and lesbian community have hinted at trying their luck out at next year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).


Samba Chesterfield, Director of Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe, prepares to hoist their offical flag alongside the Zimbabwean flag during belated comemoration of International Day against Xenophobia and Transphobia in Harare, Saturday, May, 19, 2012.Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has often called on for the Gays and Lesbians to be punished for their behaviour which he said was worse than pigs and dogs.The Gay Community officially erected a rainbow flag alongside the Zimbabwean flag at their premises calling it a symbol of hope for the Future(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz)’s sentiments come at the time, the Sexual Rights Centre (SRC), an organisation which advocates for the rights of sexual workers successfully exhibited at the fair, albeit amidst a wave of mixed feelings across the social spectrum.

This was the first time sex workers exhibited at this year’s ZITF, after the previous government under former president Robert Mugabe made their attempts impossible.

Speaking to Southern News yesterday, Galz director Chester Samba said they were encouraged by SRC’s bold move to showcase at the country’s annual business expo.

“When I saw SRC participate at the ZITF, at least we were very encouraged as an organisation,” Samba said.

“I am sure the SRC was trying to test the political waters under the new dispensation, this dispensation really needs to be tested. I am sure we will do the same next year but that will depend with what we want to achieve from exhibiting or whether the platform will be suitable for what we want as an organisation,” he said.

Samba said ZITF was supposed to be a platform available to everyone who meets their requirements.

He also accused former Education minister David Coltart of promoting hate speech.

“If you look at the post by David Coltart on SRC, these are some of the arguments that have been used to betray us but I feel that everybody is entitled to exhibiting as long as one can meet the requirements,” he said.

“Sex workers show off at ZITF — is this what we have been reduced to as Zimbabwe? ZITF used to showcase our great manufacturing companies — now it exhibits prostitution, soldiers and Zanu PF,” Coltart said on Twitter last week.

Galz rose to international prominence when it attempted to enter the 1995 Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF), which had as its theme that year; “Human Rights and Justice”.

It was banned from participating at the fair as well as flighting small adverts in the State media then.

Gays had a terrible time under Mugabe who described them as worse than dogs and pigs.

Mugabe also made life difficult for the gay community, in a development that saw them having to resort to operating secretly.

After his unceremonious departure, the gay community expressed hope under the new political dispensation.

Galz is an organisation which strives for the attainment of full and equal human, social and economic rights in all aspects of life for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) persons.

Galz is a voluntary association that was founded in 1990 for purposes of serving the needs and interests of LGBTI people in Zimbabwe and pushing for social tolerance of sexual minorities and the repeal of homophobic legislation.-Dailynews