• March 30th, 2020

Namibian queer queen breaks the silence against queerphobia

Aletta Shikololo

WINDHOEK - Unlike some African countries such as Kenya that celebrates the rights of LGBTQI+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex), Namibian award winning make-up artist, fashion stylist and an androgynous model Jay Aeron says Namibians are still stuck in old stereotypes of queer, a perception which should come to an end. 

Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who form part of the LGBTQI + community, whereas queerphobia is the hatred or fear against queer people.

Even though Jay Aeron has made a mark in the fashion industry – locally and internationally – he said homophobia has always been one of his major challenge in the industry.
“What I would always find challenging is stereotypes or the law of association is people don’t want to be associated with you because of your sexual orientation. Also, they don’t know how to treat you. I’ve been in situations where people are just arrogant for no reason, whatsoever, or they would want to pay you less or take ages to pay you when all you did was deliver a good service,” complained the stylish Jay Aeron, who seems unapologetic about who he is.

According to him, queer culture comes with great dignity and a lot of strength that many queer activists and artists create space – not only for communities but for the next great queer generations to come.
He said, “Most of my career, I had people look at me differently when I come on set to a styling or make-up gig, and the stereotype of gay people being dramatic or extra. I always felt that clients would always emphasise on not wanting anything too dramatic or extra, but I’ve always pulled through, carried out what was in the clients brief and delivered exceptional work. So, my way of avoiding is I would always turn a blind eye on the negative and focus on what I have to do, which is slay and deliver.”

Despite his love and passion for all the contribution he made in the fashion industry, he maintains the best is yet to come in terms of creating space, opening doors and demolishing stereotypes for queer persons who will come after him, which is a great force of motivation in everything he does.

In addition to his numerous achievements, winning favourite make-up artist at the Simply You magazine and lifestyle awards in 2018, he has done make up for the first lady Monica Geingos, and he was the official make-up artist for the Namibia Theatre and Film Awards 2019. His first International client courtesy of the awards was South African legendary Actress Lelethi Khumalo. 

He believes that Namibians are warming up to the idea of a pro-queer country; however, they still need to amplify everything by raising their voices, be expressive with their style, sense of fashion, art and advocacy no matter the backlash.
“A lot of queer people across the globe have taught and have been pioneers in teaching culture, so we just need to come to peace with the fact that queer people have influenced the culture and it always will. It is time we accept that,” the queer queen emphasised.

In an interview with Entertainment Now!, a local queer activist Donavan Majiedt complained of the same issue, saying it’s going to be an uphill battle for Namibians to eventually accept queers, irrespective of the fact that most queers gained the courage to stand up for themselves.
“It is gaining momentum because of the number of people who are confident to stand up but with regards to acceptance from the large community, we still have a long way to go,” he stated.

With the aim of creating advocacy, educate and show off the talents that the LGBTQI+ community has within its DNA, Atallia Diamond Von Francois will be hosting the first-ever diamond drag party on the 29th of February 2020. 

Staff Reporter
2020-01-17 11:21:13 | 2 months ago

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