The Quingdom ~ In Transition

DeLovie Kwagala

2018 - Ongoing

The Quingdom ~ In Transition

As a queer person living in Uganda, a country that condemns homosexuality and constantly rejects any form of expression other than the “normal”, I have seen and experienced first-hand the oppression, cruelty, and injustice that we face for choosing to fight for ourselves.

I have also seen how the international media has focused on the brutality of the government, further perpetuating the ideology of violence for the consumption of the west, at the expense of those of us who bravely remain authentic, risking our lives and our social standing.

So I was inspired to celebrate our sacrifices by documenting the beauty of being true to oneself in extremely dangerous circumstances and our wish for freedom. I simply want these images of my friends to normalize our freedom, to uplift and inspire anyone seeing them be true to themselves.

However much I dream to glitter the streets and colour them with rainbows and laughter, this will bring us harm from a society that considers us undeserving of freedom. In order to keep my participants and me safe, most of these photographs were taken in enclosed or secluded spaces using natural light. Although these images may seem unremarkable to those in countries where freedom of expression is legal, we bear the pain of our freedom every day. For our own sanity, seeing ourselves portrayed in the way we so much desire to be - our normal - brings about a hope and a new faith, the force of which challenges our realities. The Quingdom is a gender-fluid imaginary world, a momentary safe space to be free to be as one would like.

These images are not directed, nor are the words that accompany them my own. They are all from the hearts of those that sacrifice every day for moments of solemnity like this, to be validated in their own skin, to be perceived in both their most vulnerable and most confident states, to be able to become their dream selves, to be free to be.

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  • “We found palaces in the dark ruins, pulled silk from rag heaps.
    We are not of the empire. We are glorious outliers.
    Thrown into the root and became a vast oasis.
    We are not of the empire”. Raldy

  • “Freedom, However deprived from us, is a human rights that we won’t stop fighting forever” Welcome

  • “Gender fluidity & authenticity means never having to sacrifice any of the multiple versions of oneself to make other people comfortable or less anxious. It is not my duty to make myself easily digestible. Embrace Variety - Reject Sameness.” Authentically Plastic

  • “My body is not an apology. Exoticised is my queer body. I'm not gonna allow anyone to diminish my character in this space. I'm here to stay so the world better unlearn and learn the better way to simply be human” Kieron

  • "Visibility for me is everything. It’s how i have managed to go through a-lot and conquer much more. This is the only way i know how to live" Cyan

  • "The injustices around our being are insane! Like their failure to understand us is somehow our fault. Who in their right mind would choose to be gay when it leads to all this suffering and prejudice? The hate is getting old, we are here now and we will continue being even when it kills us!"
    Aunthentically Plastic and Raldy

  • "I believe that being authentic is about living honestly...within the context of where you are. I am lucky to have the courage to be honest with myself and those around without trepidation or fear. It’s a privilege that I hope all queer people can one day enjoy without having to sacrifice their safety or health" Raldy