Interview: Irene Major speaks on Gay In Africa Foundation and Charlotte Dipanda’s lesbian scandal

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Irene Major, the billionaire wife, ex-model, and now Gay Rights activist set the Internet ablaze when she announced the launch of her new foundation, ‘Gay In Africa ’Foundation which is geared towards fighting for the rights of the LGBT community in Africa.

The Gay Rights activist was insulted and even threaten on social media by Africans who still see homosexuality as a taboo.

Kinnaka’s blog had a brief chat with Irene Major about “Gay In Africa”. Check it out below:

KB – What are the objectives of Gia Foundation?

To boost awareness of the persecution of the African LGBT community To boost the tolerance and understand of African’s of their LGBT community To make it safe for members of the LGBT to live productive and open lives and to contribute fully to their countries and continent.
KB – Is Gia Foundation the first organisation are involved with?
No. I set up my first charitable organisation, IM Life about 10 years ago. IM Life focuses on poverty and development in sub-Saharan Africa. It provides support, including food, shelter, training and logistics support, to those in desperate need. In addition to general work in the community, IM Life runs a free-of-charge medical clinic in Cameroon. I am also involved with International Harbor which is a charity that combats human trafficking and abduction through advocacy and action. Some Cameroonians have been threatening to harm you if Gia Foundation goes operational in Cameroon.
KB- Are you scared or worried about that?
It saddens me that the reaction to an initiative against violence is yet more violence. However, I will not be cowed or intimidated; and I am no armchair activist. God is my shield. What is Gia Foundation aiming to do that other foundations on the ground are not already doing? GIA Foundation will act proactively, simultaneously both outside and within Africa in pursuing its goals. We would like to consider specific ideas such as local support groups and safe-houses/safe-spaces.

KB – There is a lot of discussion in Cameroon at the moment about whether Charlotte Dipanda is a lesbian after certain photos of her were posted online. What is your take on this?

My initial reaction was: Who cares?! Let her be herself whether she is straight, lesbian, bi, or whatever. Let her love. This remains my fundamental point. However, on reflection I realise that there are other issues to highlight. The comment has been made that she is not open about her relationships. Well, first, that is her right and, second, it would not be surprising if she is concerned at the hatred that will rain on her from certain quarters if is anything but straight and she comes out. After publication of the photos on the internet, has she changed in anyway? Is her music different? Less danceable? Less moving? Less fun? Of course not! Except to those who suddenly devalue her, devalue her creativity and excise her contribution to Cameroonian and African culture. Not only is this discriminatory, it is also plain stupid. Charlotte Dipenda, whatever her choices in love and relationships are, is a beautiful and wonderful human being who contributes richly to African culture and to the world’s culture. #LetLoveLive

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