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In our own words: a lesbian writing project.

Twenty women from all over Namibia attended the first Right to Write Workshop conducted by the Women's Leadership Centre in partnership with the Rainbow Project and Sister Namibia in August for lesbian, transgender and bisexual women.

During the three days spent together at the Harmony Centre outside Windhoek, participants raised many fears around writing: "I am afraid to write because I will expose my sexuality in writing ..." "How do you write about painful experiences?"

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Despite the fears they all agreed that Namibian lesbian women must write: "It's important to tell the world about our lives in our own words ..." "We can come out through our stories ..." "Our book will support other lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and they will know that they are not alone ..." "We also write to claim our rights."

Writing is an act of courage and will bring healing.

The workshop was very emotional, often we were all crying about the stories the women shared about their lives. We realised that beneath the toughness and happy-go-lucky surface of many women there is immense suffering and pain.

But there is also lot of pleasure in being a lesbian woman if you understand what I mean! And we discovered that kissing Angelina Jolie is the secret dream of many a Namibian lesbian! We agreed to write our stories so the whole world will know about us!

The Women's Leadership Centre hereby invites all Namibian lesbian, transgender and bisexual women to submit entries for this book. Send us your short stories, poems, letters, diary extracts, art, photography, or anything else that can be published in a book format. You can write about any aspect of your life, for example:

* My first lesbian experience

* Discovering sexuality

* Coming out / staying in

* Discrimination at home, at school, the work place, in public, in church

* Experiences of violence and oppression

* Culture and being an LTB woman

* Families and children

* Violence in lesbian relationships

* Spirituality

* Health including mental health and HIV/Aids

* Sex and pleasure

* Experiences of seeking help

The ideal story length is between 500 and 1500 words, the closing date is 30 June 2006. Your entry should contain your name and contact telephone number (s). The Women's Leadership Centre reserves the right to publish all materials submitted as part of the Lesbian Writing Project. Published authors will each receive two copies of the book.

Please send your entries to: The Women's Leadership Centre, PO Box 90675, Windhoek - Tel: 22 1106 - Fax: 22 1896 - Email: ncwl@mweb.com.na

There will also be a second three-day writing workshop for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in early 2006. Contact the Women's Leadership Centre for details.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:HUMAN RIGHTS; Women's Leadership Centre
Author:IKhaxas, Elizabeth
Publication:Sister Namibia
Geographic Code:60AFR
Date:Nov 1, 2005
Words:442
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