8 Dec 2011- Namibia- Ottawa lawyer and indie musician Gloria Song has been blogging extensively about her experiences in Windhoek, Namibia, and recently wrote for OpenFile about playing the guitar at the African country's first ever gay beauty pageant.
Today, Song writes an open letter to the winner of the contest, Wendelinus Hamutenya, who's in the middle of the above photo. Hamutenya was beaten up and robbed shortly after taking home the crown. Says Song:
I was sorry to read in the newspapers today that you had been recently assaulted. I hope you are okay.
I am even more sorry that you can't yet live in a world where you can be who you are, without having some hate-filled ignorant individuals wanting to hurt you for it. I am sorry that you are still being denied your basic human right to love whoever you want and be whoever you are. But I am still proud of you, and I admire you for your courage
In her post, Song mentions both Jamie Hubley, the openly gay Kanata teen who died of suicide in October, and the persecution faced by a 14-year-old Gatineau boy as evidence that "every country has ignorant guys like the guys that attacked you." Song praises Hamutenya for his courage and urges him to remain an advocate for gay rights:
This problem is bigger than Namibia, or Africa. It's a problem all over the world. So when you stand up for your rights, you are standing up for the rights of people all over the world, even young Canadian boys on the other side of the world.
According to the press release from the Mr. Gay Namibia organization, which Song attaches to the bottom of her post, two men attacked Hamutenya after asking him for the money he won at the competition.
Hamutenya suffered injuries to his head, face, chin and ribs after being hit with a "cold drink bottle" and was hospitalized for 24 hours.
By Trevor Pitchard