Introducing Bare Stories

Bare Stories is a platform designed to raise the voices of vulnerable groups in South Africa and the rest of the African continent with a focus on the LGBTIQ+ community.

Bare Stories is a space where the most vulnerable members of our societies will have access to share their stories and engage with their lived experiences. At Bare Stories, we believe that true social cohesion can only take place when the lived experiences of the marginalised are engaged with as mainstream and legitimate in public spaces and as part of public dialogue.
Through a series of talks, events and an online platform that will be home to the stories of the LGBTIQ+ community, we want to champion the experience of being marginalised and ‘other’. We are focused on various aspects of the LGBTIQ experiences which are not divorced from class, race and nationality. As a result, our work includes LGBTIQ foreign immigrants from the rest of the continent, the broader African LGBTQ community, transgender people and many others whose lived experiences are sidelined because they do not subscribe to the mainstream narrative of what it means to be.
Through Bare, we are dedicated to adding the voices of the marginalised as a crucial part of the project of nation-building, social cohesion and a realisation of an ideal society where all stories matter and are equally heard. At its core, Bare is driven by the belief that an individual’s story is the missing link for a society’s next great leap towards development and growth.
We are focused on the LGBTI community because of the gap we have seen and continue to experience in mainstream media and general public dialogue about nation-building and identity. Bare is born out of a desire for visibility within the queer community.

The talk series will feature both prolific and ordinary members of the LGBTI community who can share stories about their lived experiences. Stories will range from the trials and triumphs of navigating a heteronormative world while building safe spaces for queer people. The aim is to highlight the lived experiences of these persecuted individuals who continue to make an immense and significant contribution to their communities, professions and the broader society.
The first edition Bare Stories series will delve into the modes in which the African queer community navigates, conceals and celebrates its experience. The Bare Stories series will be comprised of robust and uplifting storytelling sessions that reflect the unique and colourful African LGBTQ experience. Bare will also not shy away from the stories that highlight the more dehumanising experience that forms part of the grand queer narrative; these are important in shining a light on how the words and views we hold about one another affects the quality of our social fabric.
The Bare series will use these stories as mediums through which we can all reflect and interrogate the current status quo, with the purpose of applying our minds in order to identify solutions to many of these socials challenges.
The expectation is that the outcomes of these discussions will foster a culture of tolerance and acceptance which we believe is the gateway towards more progressive and inclusive legal frameworks in all countries across the continent. Our purpose is to demystify a lot of what is used against queer people – for example, that it is un-African and therefore cannot exist – and to begin creating new lived experiences.

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