Rainbow Leaders workshop in Sweden
Growing Global LGBTI Leaders with Introspection and Hard Work
By Ratanang Mosweu - “Mr O”
11 November 2013, Sweden. Many a times in LGBTI movements we become so “accustomed” to the training and workshops provided by different stakeholders, that sometimes we fail to take the privileges and opportunities provided through these sessions seriously. We forget to assess where we are coming from and appreciate, among other things, the extent of our work in moving the agenda forward and the simple things, such as the power of thought. Many of us lose the focus once we feel our mark has been made or eventually we leave the movement, nje?
During the month of August there was a call for leaders in LGBTI movements to take up a training opportunity in beautiful Sweden. Tempting right? Oh well, eventually I realized I was just tired of all these training sessions and workshops, which many a times you leave angry and discouraged. I asked myself “Why another training session?” Soon I realized, that beside this training session (of course giving me an opportunity to travel to Europe), there was something different about it that caught my attention. It spoke to more than just training; it was a learning environment for Rainbow Leaders around the world coming together to find common ground sharing experiences and exchanging in-depth skills. This proved useful to apply to the various advocacy strategies and struggles in the LGBTI movement. The rest is history.
Beyond just the great mingling and networking with other awesome LGBTI activists from around the world, the Rainbow Leaders training program offered a platform for already-empowered leaders from various cultural backgrounds an opportunity to connect on a leadership level and work towards creating a significant impact in our various countries as we continue to lead the the broader community. In between the chats and catching up with old and new friends, the leaders were taken through practical approaches dealing with practical situations. It gave me an opportunity to introspect on my type of leadership, its impact on my fellow colleagues and how it affects my personal life. I also introspected my role in the struggle movement and how I move from one hurdle to another in the fight for acceptance and recognition of LGBTI and other rights.
As the training continued to unfold day after day, with new content useful for a rainbow leader, I came to realize and acknowledge the need for revolutionary Rainbow Leaders who are ready to jump on board and be radical if needed, Rainbow Leaders who are able to empower their followers by establishing a united voice from within the movement, a united voice empowered to demand and claim rights. I chose to raise my voice and shout from the mountain top to claim back my dignity as a young gay man and as a Rainbow Leader being “the voice of the voiceless’’, through this training. I chose to take all the great and varied concepts gained through this training to the market-place and scream “LGBTI rights are Human rights”. We at Iranti and LEGABIBO chose to be people of action and we define this fight to win, we choose to mark societies wall with the colour of love. The group parted ways with a sealed commitment to building solidarity and to ensuring that global leadership becomes a lived reality.