Kenyan Activist Tiffany Kagure Mugo Encourages Queer African Women With HOLAAfrica Website

Mugo gives Queer African women a platform to share their stories and change the currently whitewashed narrative.

Tiffany Kagure Mugo

Kenyan activist Tiffany  Kagure Mugo set out to create an online space for and by queer black women to talk about their daily experiences, the good as well as the bad in 2012, along with her partner Suphumeze Khundayi. Beginning as a blog, HOLAAfrica is now a complete website.

Mugo’s central goal in creating the site was to change the narrative about queer African women, “The only stories [about queer African women] cannot just be corrective rape. You Google ‘African lesbians’ and you only get South African stories, and they’re all about lesbians being raped. It’s not to say it’s not an important narrative, but there’s more.”

HOLAA allows queer African women to share their stories in a safe and encouraging environment, reflecting the myriad experiences faced by contributors—from coming out to their parents, to engaging in polyamorous relationships. Being queer and black is undoubtedly a challenge in America, but in Africa these women have suffered severe invalidation, oftentimes being ignored entirely. Mugo, herself spent years of uncertainty about her own orientation because there was no queer African representation ever presented to her.

HOLAA, Mugo and her contributors are creating LGBTQ representation in Africa – and not simply as a Westernized creation. “I want us to get to a point where if you’re going to question your existence as an African queer woman, you’re going to question whether there are other African queer women who are into, I don’t know, ice-skating. Not whether they exist at all!” she said.

Our Love is Militant

The HOLAAfrica website creates an encouraging and uplifting community for queer African women. (source)

Mugo also works with the Open Society Youth Fellowship to inform LGBTQ women in African countries, encouraging queer African women to document their experiences and share them, along with other resources.  Their goal is to let women know that resources such as the Coalition of African Lesbians exist, and Pride festivals are being held. These women also need to be encouraged to start their own blogs, create YouTube channels, and find other means to show the world that their experiences are valid and worth being heard.

Simultaneously, Mugo’s efforts will change the way African queer women are talked about in America. Rather than using a white lens to document and disseminate these stories, HOLAA encourages African women to own their identities and tell their stories through their own eyes. Queer African Women exist, they are proud, and they are becoming more equipped every day to share the validity of their identities with the world.

Photo source.

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