Ubuntu Inclusive Dialogue:Toward a constructive dialogue between religion and the LGBTQIA+ community in Africa
More than 2 years ago, Gay Christia Africa introduced the Ubuntu Inclusive Dialogue initiative. Considering the situation due to the pandemic Covid_19, the initiative remained a virtual reality. Constructive conversations were carried online mainly through Facebook and Instagram. It has so far brought together people from across Africa: activists, religious leaders, LGBTQIA+ people from different religious backgrounds, parents and so on.
Ubuntu inclusive dialogue is an initiative of Gay Christian Africa, aimed at exploring aspects of LGBTQ lives in Africa. It focuses on inclusivity and awareness of LGBTQIA communities in Africa, highlighting their challenges, hopes and dreams. Ubuntu is an African word deriving from the Bantu linguistic family and means Humanity (I am because you are).
Ubuntu covers many aspects of social and spiritual life and for this reason, we decided to use it as a flexible way to have a constructive discussion and dialogue in recognition of the humanity of LGBTQIA African people living on the continent and abroad. Ubuntu Dialogue can be an opportunity to delve deeper into topics such as homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender and queerness which are still taboo in almost all African countries.
It is a known fact that the LGBTQIA community faces hostility in many African countries. However, this is due to the lack of open spaces where people can explore such topics freely and in a relevant manner. In fact, many Evangelical churches still condemn homosexuality and contribute to the discrimination of the LGBTQIA community in society by using the Bible to justify their views and comments.
This project aims to give this generation and the next generation the possibility of returning to our own roots and re-reading our culture so as to find elements that can add value to our faith and therefore complete the religion where religion is failing. In this way, this generation can open their hearts and minds by learning to listen and to engage in dialogue. This generation is called to be the very change the last generation struggled to obtain and provide.
Ubuntu Dialogue will explore various topics with the help of experts, activists, religious leaders and LGBTQIA people who will be invited to share their views, lives, stories, dreams, weaknesses and daily challenges in African societies today and the changes we are willing to work for together. There is no doubt that with the duplication of harshful laws in Africa for the LGBTQIA+ community, the journey will not be smooth but worth every sacrifice.
The main objectives are to inform both the church and the LGBTQIA+ community about their relationships, to empower the LGBTQIA+ community to be the protagonist of the change in society and in their religious communities as well as the responsibility of church leaders in humanizing LGBTQIA+ persons.
A key major, of Ubuntu Inclusive Dialogue,is to normalize the discussion in all spheres of life and lay the foundation for inclusive laws. Hence, crafting premises for inclusion and doing research are also two important objectives that will be taken at heart by the initiative.