Zambia - Being LGBT here can get you arrested and is punishable up to 15 years in prison
Author of WITCH BOUND Katrina is from Zambia, she is in her early 20s, she is a popular web novel writer and likes to read in her spare time. Though she is a support of LGBT, her country is vehemently against LGBT to the point where it is a punishable .
(All names are pseudonyms so to protect the identity of interviewees)
Interviewer: Hi, Katrina. So can I ask why do you write LGBT stories?
Katrina: I write LGBT stories because they are really my life's joy and passion, i was mostly drawn to write them, but I had to switch to straight love stories because MoboReader was against such books. My LGBT stories mostly dwells in equality, love, and pleasure at times. I'm a funjoshi, grew up reading and watching yaoi and BL (boy love), I ain't that good in writing them, but I try to share what i think and believe in, through my characters.
Note: (Funjoshi = a female fan of yaoi)
(Yaoi = a Japanese term for anime/manga involving male-male relationships)
Interviewer: May I ask if you yourself is LGBT?
Katrina: I'm not LGBT, but I believe that they too are human and deserve to love whoever they want: they deserve equal rights like all of us.
Interviewer: Have you been to any LGBT marches?
Katrina: I haven't been to any marches but I try to be supportive. In social media groups or in mainstream media, I really don't know anyone personally who is LGBT. This is because in my country: Zambia, most would hide their sexuality because they are not treated fairly, but on social media I do have friends who are LGBT (from South Africa) and I give them my full support no matter what. (Below: Streets of Lusaka).
Interviewer: If so may I ask if Zambia has laws against LGBT i.e is homosexual activity illegal?
Katrina: Yes, it is illegal and forbidden. Most hide it in fear of being arrested. They believe it is a sin to be LGBT and that it says so in religion.
Men can go to prison for up to 15 years for being homosexual, and women can go to prison for up 14 years. I am certain that they suffer a lot of discrimination if they dare come out, they probably do have a community in Lusaka but it is very secret and hidden.
Zambia is a religious society. Especially the elders, to them LGBT is something they don't support. But as the modern culture changes I hope more people will do too especially with the young people as we see things differently.
However, because of the teachings from elders, they fear to express their views and choose to act negatively instead. (Below: Paul Kasonkomona, a LGBT activist who was arrested and later acquitted in Zambia).
Interviewer: Oh, so Zambia is a very religious society?
Katrina: Yes, very very religious. Elders not only stand by religion but by culture. To the elders,
LGBT to them is something they don't support, as culture changes i hope more people will too. Young people can be supportive but because of the elders teaching they fear to show it and choose to act negatively as well due to pressure from elders.
Interviewer: If it is illegal, how can you be supportive of LGBT in Zambia??
Katrina: I talk to my friends, online and try to be of help, in terms of encouragement and advice, I already feel bad that others aren't open about how they feel, i try to get them see and accept who they truly are, because loving a person doesn't stand by gender.
Interviewer: May I ask if you know anyone who is LGBT?
Katrina: I do know someone but he like other LGBTs just hide. People were talking about how weird it was that he acts like a girl, I defended him and told him how he could confide in me but he was so scared that he denied everything completely to me. No matter what he will never admit it to anyone, I worry about him but maybe one day when my country becomes open minded, he can freely be who he chooses to be.
(Later on, the interviewer asked Katrina if she could ask him for an interview, however he declined due to fear).
Interviewer: Do your parents support your view? How do other people see you once they know your view?
Katrina: My sisters supports my view, but my parents are not supporters in any way. I won’t sit around and see someone bad mouth LGBT, when I answer back, they call me weird and how I need to get my head checked. I also have some very close friends that stand by my views.
Interviewer: South Africa have laws that protect LGBT against discrimination and even allow same sex marriage. And recently Botswana has also changed their laws as well. Do LGBT people in your country ever consider going there?
Katrina: Yes, they do go to South Africa but some suffer xenophobic attacks in their country. And yes, Botswana recently changed their law so I guess in near future more people will go there too? Botswana had a change in president 2 years ago and since then they seem more open minded. As for Zambia, I really don’t know honestly maybe it will change when we get a new president.
Interviewer: As part of LGBT campaign, I've also interviewed someone from Australia and in her country people are also very accepting of LGBT. And through this interview, I can feel that it is a stark contrast compared to Zambia.
**Katrina: Yes, I envy both of them. I wish our country can be like theirs one day in the future as well. **Maybe in the future when we get a new president, society here can also be more open minded.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time Katrina, and I hope the situation improves in Zambia in the future. (Below: South Luangwa Park in Zambia).