House of Guramayle | a safe space for the Ethiopian LGBTIQ+ community

Interview with Bahi aka Beki

Blog  |  03.11.21

 

Bahiru Shewaye (he/him)

Bahi profile picture

wearing Ethiopian traditional cover called “Gabi”. Selfie

World Pride

Copenhagen, Denmark

19 August 2021

 

I am a co-founder of the House of Guramayle, an intersectional platform that advocates for the dignity, rights, and equality of the Ethiopian LGBTI+ community. We collaborate with Somali and Eritrean queer sibs as well. House of Guramayle published a book about the lived experience of queer Ethiopians living in Ethiopia and in the diaspora. As part of our counter-narrative project, we also have podcasts, Youtube, and many more digital media platforms to tell stories in our native language. Today, the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian people cannot say that LGBTI Ethiopians do not exist. We are visible, loud, and are claiming our rightful spaces. Homoprejudice and hate cannot erase our existence and experience as Ethiopians; we won’t allow it.

I am at World Pride because this is a great place to engage in global conversations and meet vibrant, fierce grassroots mobilizers and stakeholders. We did visibility work and got the word out on what we do at the House of Guramayle. We also shared the danger we are facing online and offline. The main thing for me was meeting Victor Madrigal-Borloz and having a sit-down―LGBT+ Denmark made it happen. I asked Victor directly how we can make sure the UN and his mandates honor and include Ethiopia and other countries that are entirely shut-off from the global scene regarding queer rights. He suggested ways in which we can do so, which is excellent.

I want to center joy today. From the early ages of the queer liberation movement, community leaders have talked about oppression, and we still are fighting to be liberated. We should keep fighting for equality, equity, and justice. But I want our multifaceted life to be captured and told: our love stories, breakups, and whatnot. I believe in humanizing our stories. Pride is ours. Pride is where we amplify the voices of many. When we say we are here, we are not going anywhere, it is for us, the community.  The joy I am talking about centers us: the fags, the freaks, the dykes, the non-binary, the transgender people, the Intersex, and many identities―simply it is for the RAINBOW FAMILY.

 

Interview and edited by LGBT+ Denmark

 

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