Jordan Chanetsa from Zimbabwe is a performance artist, writer and activist for LGBTQIA+ rights. As a presenter, she regularly addresses the difficult realities of the LGBTQIA+ community in her home country through radio shows and podcasts. From June to October 2022, Jordan Chanetsa will work with ADKDW, DEMASK Kollektiv, and Integrationshaus e.V. to develop a collaborative program as part of the Participatory Residency Program, specifically aimed at the local LGBTQIA+ community.

As a Trans*woman from the African continent, specifically from Harare, Zimbabwe, I have had a lot of hang ups about what I can achieve in this lifetime, as well as what outcomes are available to me in the future because of the obviously present boundaries that have been set by a society that does not recognize our identities as the “norm”. More so in our home countries where we are outcast, subject to violence in every form and very often even killed by our government, our police, general society and even as far as our friends and families. As a result of these boundaries, I have found myself in several situations where I was doing things just to survive and get by another day, another week, another month. The idea of being afforded freedom to express and create is a privilege considering that survival is our main priority. For a lot of trans*people living on the African continent, the idea of being recognized and celebrated for who you are is a distant reality, and something that we can only find in the carefully curated spaces that we create for ourselves and sometimes for others. It goes without saying that a lot of our experiences as qt*i*BI*PoCs are similar regardless of our cultural backgrounds and geographical locations.

I am extremely grateful to be able to participate in the Participatory Residency Program as it gives me an opportunity unlike any that I have had before. I am grateful to AdKdW, DEMASK and InHaus for helping to make this program available to artists and cultural activists from all parts of the world, as it helps to ensure that no narratives are being erased or left behind in a society that usually centers the voices of those living and native to the Global North. This program also helps to create safer spaces for qt*i*BI*PoCs from the Global South to potentially self-actualize in ways that they would not have been able to without such programs. I am also grateful to Landschaftsverband Rheinland for helping to make the funding available to this program as funds are one of the most important things that are rarely available to qt*i*BI*PoC artists and cultural activists in the context that I have been living and existing in. This program is important to me as it spotlights the fact that there are spaces that are open to us that are sometimes far outside of the comfort zones that we have created for ourselves. It is also important because of the lack of rigid boundaries and expectations that are usually accompanied where there are funds involved.

I will use this residency as an opportunity to explore a world outside of the one I have been existing in and use my findings to challenge some of our colonial views on expression and creativity, especially for those who comes from places where they were not the colonizer but in fact the colonized who had to learn to adopt a new reality in order to avoid being “othered”. I will use this residency to interact with the qt*i*BI*PoC community in Cologne as well as in Harare (Zimbabwe) to try to create a bridging narrative between these two seemingly distant geographical and cultural locations. ‚Other‘ is an idea I have been interested in for a very long time and I’m grateful to be given the space and resources to be able to work with others to potentially create something that sheds more light on this very common part of the human condition. I am intent on making this a historical moment for trans*persons from Harare, Zimbabwe as we are not afforded these types of opportunities very often and I do feel as if I carry the responsibility of ensuring that I represent and make the most of it. I look forward to all that will come out of this experience as I get the chance to work in a space that not only sees me but also celebrates me. I also look forward to using this platform to open up the world of possibilities for those who come from the Global South. We deserve to be heard and we deserve to be seen and I’m grateful to be able to experience that.