CEO of Tanzania Trans Initiative (TTI) Mwamba Nyanda joins Leo for a very special episode! After sharing his coming out story, Mwamba discusses the goals of TTI and the importance of transgender visibility, the power of community, and why NOW is the ideal time to advocate for transgender Tanzanians. The interview ends with Mwamba inviting all of us to visit Tanzania and to partner with TTI from anywhere in the world.
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By: Leo Yockey
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Leo Yockey show, the podcast where i Leo Yockey interview guests about how their unique life path led them to define success and fulfillment. The goal is to provide you the listener, some relief for your existential dread. And guess what? That feeling and never fully goes away? Notice that I said relief and not cure. But that's okay. We're all in this together. You know why? Because we're a community. And if there's anything that we've learned so far on this show, community is so important. And we just so happen to be an international community. Not only do I have a guest today from Tanzania, which I'll get to in a second, but hey, I'm looking at my charts right now. And I'm ranked not only in the US, but also in France, and Canada. So apparently, there's people listening to this from France and Canada. Hello, Bonjour. How are y'all doing? reach out to me, let me know where you're at. This is so cool. This is so exciting. I love it. I love it. I love it. And here's the thing. The fact that I'm on these charts right now means that y'all are writing written reviews, you're saying good things about me. Thank you so much. It really does take a community to make a podcast successful, I can record all the episodes I want, I could get our LeBron James as a guest. And still, if people are writing reviews, no one knows that this show exists. I wash away into oblivion and you never hear from me ever again. So seriously, thank you for writing those reviews. Make me your Instagram story. Take a screenshot. let your friends know what we got going on over here. We're getting better and better conversations, mostly because I'm learning how to do better and better interviews. So definitely not a slight to my previous guests. But anyway, like I said, My guest today is Mwamba deonda. He actually found me on Instagram, through his organization's page Tanzania trans initiative, because here's the thing. No one's ever really heard of Tanzania. So we kind of have to look out for each other. Right. So just by me putting the flag on my social media. I have met other Tanzanians both on Instagram and Twitter. But this is the first time that I've ever been connected to transgender Tanzanians. And I am so excited for this conversation. We did have some technical difficulties just because you know, there's a network issues. So if it sounds like the conversation kind of jumped suddenly at one point, that's why, but I think for the most part, it works out. And yeah, you know, this is gonna be a little bit different. But when going into this conversation, I encourage you, especially if you're on the LGBTQIA spectrum somewhere, really listen to the stories that Mwamba says, notice how familiar all of it sounds, you know, I keep using the word community today because that's truly what we are. We are a community and it doesn't matter where in the world we are. The LGBTQIA experience is universal. I hope you enjoy this very special episode. It was so cool for me to connect with a fellow Tanzania and especially a transgender Tanzanian. And without further ado, here's Mwamba. Alright, Mwamba. Hello. How are you doing today? Yes, my friend. I am doing well and feeling great. And it's nice that I'm having today. Yes, yes. I'm so excited that we were able to do this. The network wasn't working for us yesterday. So this is our second attempt. But I'm very happy to be here. You look great. That's a very sharp shirt you got on and you're just you're always so you're always smiling to you're always you always look so happy. This is my power. This is my power. Actually. That's right. That's right. In America. We call it we call it the moneymaker this? Yeah. Yes. Awesome. So, so Mwamba, we kind of we found each other on Instagram, because we have two things in common. We're both Tanzanian and we're both transgender men. So it's a coincidence. And I was I was very curious. I was like what Soviet and other trans people who are living in Americans are Tanzanian and you know, I was very surprised in those in those very looking forward to meeting seriously. He wanted to know, a lot. Plus, I really want to, I want to share with you what we have back here at our home. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, same, you know, when I, when I meet people who are when I meet people who are transgender, who are from Tanzania, or people who are from Tanzania in general, really, because, you know, I've told you off the recording, my dad is from Tanzania, but he never really told me anything about the culture about the country. And I've never been there. So for me, you know, I've, I've kind of felt almost like this emptiness from from, you know, not really knowing about that, that side of me, that part of me, you know, because it's like, I feel very deep down that you know, that this is a big part of who I am. And I don't know much about it, you know, so to meet other people who are also transgender is, is really exciting, because we'll get into this in a minute. But you know, your experience being transgender, you know, that's a very universal experience. It doesn't matter what part of the world we're in there, there's just certain parts of that experience that are the same no matter where we are, you know, and it's been really nice to be able to connect with someone who who gets all of those levels, you know? Yes, definitely. And I'm very happy actually. Because you need to feel connected, it also connects to your country. I mean, you need to know deep down the source of the soil that you use that makes you you as you as a Tanzanian person. Yeah, it's important. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I love that the source the source of this soil, I like that a lot. That might actually be the episode of this, or the title of this episode, we'll see. But, but, uh, yeah, so can you can you share with us? So like I said, you know, the story of, of, you know, or the experience of being transgender, it's, it's universal, in that a lot of us kind of experienced a lot of the same things, a lot of us who are LGBTQ in general, kind of experience a lot of the same things. So can you kind of start by telling us a little bit about what it was what your experience was coming out, at, you know, realizing that you were transgender, and then coming out to your family? You know, I have been thinking about this. This question. Yeah. And now I'm realizing it more that I have always been out since I was young. What do you mean by that? Cause everything that I do, that was that made me that defined me define who I am, since I was young, when I could do things that pleases me that I love. And the people would think it's weird stuff. Like what example? Let's start with a dressing quote. I have always is to the, to the male dressing code. Same, yes, it hasn't always made me feel good about myself. And also, when I was about to, when I was growing up becoming a young man, is that if I was also attracted to two females, you know, been being me who I am, I've always been telling my mom, the same thing, because whatever goes in happens to me, I will have a conversation. And I will tell, and I will always speak to her about my feeling. I think by that time, she did not want to open. Sorry, you cut out for just a second there. So um, you were saying that you opened up a lot to your mom about your feelings and what you were going through at any point? And then it kind of cut out there for a second. Can you can you kind of start there again, please? Yes. I remember that. I used to talk with my mom about my feelings. What what goes on with my life? And he wouldn't, he wouldn't support me in any way because because she didn't understand what I was experiencing back then. So I felt left out. And I couldn't talk to anyone about these feelings. So that kept me being inside the doors for such a long time. So So yeah, so what happens in 2015. So in 2015, now that I'm fully grown and seeking out information, meaning to know who fully I am with the help of few people who are now trying to understand who I am, so I have this good program called Life Looking in and looking out, this program was meant to test looking inside yourself, knowing the type of person you are, and accepting who you are, despite the stigma that comes around to accept yourself, when you look outside, you look at the people who are surrounding you. I mean, you might fit in here, accept yourself, but there are people who have not, excuse me, there are people who have not yet accepted you. I mean, how are you living with him around? How are you maneuvering around, how are you creating your safe environment, for making sure that you, you are willing to live freely with your life, and at the same time, you're staying out of trouble. Because not everyone understands what trans is in there, not everyone is, is very accepting, you know, a lot of people as Africans, we are, we are always, when we have a fear of the unknown, we become, we become, we change sometimes become violent, just because you are not you don't know something, or react in a very violent manner towards someone because you don't understand the agenda. So, such things happen in Tanzania. So for me, number one is what I did, when I was trying to come out is I looked inside myself. And then I looked at the environment that is surrounding me, I chose my support system, my support system meaning accepting family members, who are accepting me, I wouldn't speak with them, my friends who are very positive with me, I would hang out with them, and I wouldn't hang out with people who are negative or mistreating me, or trying to create, by the end by the vibe around me, I wouldn't, I wouldn't hang out inside with the such people. So, number, again, this made me realize that it is not about me. It isn't about me, it's also about the people who are surrounding me, when I was trying to tell my mom that when they passed when I was a did not consider both her feelings and her environment. A a huge I used to enforce conversation like I wanted, I really wanted her to understand you in such a in such a way that I wanted her to accept as I'm accepting her, she should accept, but it suddenly doesn't work like that. So lelo helped me out. To know that coming out is a process. It doesn't happen in one day. Like you can't just tell someone I am a trans or I am sexual minority or I can any gender minority in the beginning except during that same time that is impossible, they need to take time they need to breathe, you know they need to think about it, they need to approach put you back with their thoughts in then for after a while sometimes they will you can come you can come up with an agreement whereby has a human you need to leave. But again, you need also to respect people's choices. So, I think that may also mean my mom to be at peace in lambing, even family members are now accepting because I have taken the process of taking them through my journey of coming out. I would talk to them once a while under Section A visited people I would I would talk to them about other things not not not only trans people, but I would I would question I will talk to Christianity, I will talk about feminism, I will also talk about trans people talk about health, I would put trans people in it and talk about human rights you know, the me by just making them think about these stuffs and how we as human need to treat each other, they came to a realization of acceptance. So, for me that was that was my solidarity, solidarity space of coming down. So I was very happy to go through the process and the process is not always a straight zigzag. Some sometimes he would wake up feeling angry, can say negative things. But again, coming down he will say It is because of anger. I did not mean it. So it's about communication. It's about impacting one another. It's about family. It's about connection. I think our families are the first people to accept us. Has I has, it has already happened to me. Because the moment your family has accepted you, when you have, you feel unstoppable, because now, even you already flick live as human beings, already free to date, wherever you want, you can share within the UI, your feelings, and anyone in the community who comes against you in any way. It's very easy to also record because you get the strength, they help you out to push you to get your life as a human being without considering who you are. So, for me, I think, coming out for me also, family support has also made me strong. Yeah, absolutely. So sorry, really quick. How long did it take about from when you first came out to your family, to the time that they were accepting about how long did that take? So it took very long. From the fifth time I was since since I was young, as I was trying, I was trying to show them who I was very happy, who I am forcing them to accepting that was very long than the process. But then, when I was taking them through the process, so from 2015 to two days, it's almost like seven to eight years. I mean, they have it has been awhile. You see, it is a one day process, which has been a while and very happy. Okay. Yes. So I think it also depends with the with, with a type of family where he will have, I'm glad that my mother is a very spiritual person. She is she always tells me positive things. She encourages me. And she always tells me to stick with the Word of God. Because she believes in God, we are all her children. And everyone has a right to do that. So he I think accepted. He also accepted me. Yeah, so I'm very glad that she was on the side. Yeah, that's great. And I heard you sound like you said, heard you say you see, Ron believes that God is a woman. Is that correct? Yes. God is a woman. Yeah. Yeah, it makes more sense to me to honestly, you know, women are the givers of life on Earth. You know, it absolutely makes sense to me. I love that. Thank you. Thank you for that, too. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I love I love what you're saying about look inward, look outward. Laila, where where did you learn that? This was the program of growth by positive vibes from from Denmark, positive vibes. They were, they were in partnership with the LGBT. So, they came up with this amazing lelo guidance, this helped a lot of minorities is in Tanzania, and we adapted it. So we adapted it, yeah, we always do it every time we have new members, every time we have young people who are who are facing difficulties, we would use this strategy and it will come out positive, I mean, we have family who are very negative. So you cannot I mean, you cannot add effect to this person to come out. So the labor program helps the person to come out at the right time, at the right time, meaning at the right environment, you know, in the right environment, meaning you are not under the roof over your times. You are depending on myself. That might be your right time. When you have a job, now you're stable, that might be the right time. I mean, you you just feel like you want to let it out. That might be the right time. I mean, you may or may not do it's not important. That also is right. Yeah, you don't see being put out because of your safety. I mean, it's okay. Yeah, I love that. Yeah, cuz I feel I think a lot of times we we see other people and we see where they're Add on their path. And sometimes we're so inclined to compare right and say, Oh, you know, like, for example, look at Mwamba look at everything that he's done. And I want to be like him. But you know, if it's not safe, then you know, it might not be the right time. And I think that's such an important point because you You definitely had a family were even when they weren't accepting. And, you know, you knew it was because they didn't understand in you, you didn't feel like it was unsafe. So you knew that it was safe to come out. So that's really great that they were, you know, that they were able to help you figure that out, because I love that lie low. I love that a lot. But she says, switching gears a little bit. So you, so you mentioned, you know, for some people, the right time to come out, might be when they're already out of the house, not living with their family, because, you know, that's, that's when it's going to be safer. And, you know, same here in America, you know, there's a lot of people who, like you said, at one point, you know, that, you know, Africans, you know, the fear of the unknown can turn into violence. You know, that's, it's not just an African thing. It's definitely something that happens here in America too. And there's a lot of people who can never come out, you know, because not only is it not safe to come out to their family, but they might live in a part of America where it's really not safe to come out and they might have a really hard time finding community. So you you are working on you're the CEO of Tanzania trans initiative, which by the way, am I saying Tanzania wrong? Because I say it the way that my dad says it, but but it sounds like you say it differently. You say to Tanzania? Oh, yes. Am I am I saying it wrong? Tanzania? Tanzania. You're saying you've seen it correct. But some people say Tanzania? Tanzania. It's just I think it's actually language. Okay, you're not just saying that to be nice? Because I can handle it. If Okay, if it's played Tanzania. Okay. Okay. Okay, thank you. So, so so thank you for, for confirming that I can now go back to everybody and say that I've been saying it right. All along. Yes. But yeah, so you are the CEO of Tanzania trans initiative. And from you know, some from my understanding, it's a you know, a lot of its purpose is to kind of fill that gap for people who don't have the safety of a family or a community to be able to come out and get the resources that they need. So can you can you kind of explain to me and for the listeners, what Tanzania trans initiative is and how you came to start it. These organization, I mean, it had a very long history. Tt a mean, Tanzania trans initiative. And we started it with my fellow colleagues, mainly for transgender people, transgender main focus was only transgender identity, although now we are trying to also help out the others because now they need and we also need to work as a community. The others being like, like sexual minorities, like like gay and lesbian people. Yes, definitely. Yeah. And in the youth in the age, yeah. Because now in our society, transition, we can have similar issues, you know, when it when we talk about gender violence, so we also decided to so yeah, so we, at first, we wanted to focus on advocacy, advocating for transgender disability, okay, we want to be visible, visible means we want to be known that we are out here. I mean, people wouldn't be comfortable being there without having any voice, that now there's too much violence in the community. So we want to, we really want to advocate for the community, so that they may get healthy health, health needs, they also need to be a human rights. This means we also wanted to work on litigation issues, whereby if there are cases of transgenders having problems, we can litigate them and see how we can go about it. But unfortunately, our judiciary system is not much free. So we focused mainly on health issues and human rights issues, but not in the perspective of litigating that Giving people awareness in the capacity, only their own their own safety. Yeah, so that is indeed a reason why we created the transgender. I mean, transgender organization. But again, from that, how did that TTI got established? At first, I wouldn't experience from an LGBT community, I worked there, the program's person in there, most of the time in Tanzania, gave me msmq issues were being prioritized. This is because for such a long time, since 2006, gay in the sixth, because the issues have been happening, there have always been there have always been been known to the government is accept for people, I mean, all the problems would come, but we wouldn't be left out. And that really painted my heart to be left out. So that was also another drive that made us seek our own organization. So that we may be we may work hard and be visible by our own. So that was the main reason why we started TTI. Yeah, that aren't actually that sounds also, again, very similar. I think we were talking, you know, the last time we had a conversation, I was talking to you about how, you know, a lot of what's going on in Tanzania, you can look to the LGBTQ history in America, because again, these experiences just repeat over and over and over again. And different countries are kind of at different stages. But everyone kind of goes through the same stages. And you know, you're saying, Yeah, it is, and you're saying that, you know, you kind of needed to start TTI, because you were you were working in in as a programs director for this other LGBT community, but they were kind of being they were kind of excluding transgender people. And that is, that's a, that's always been historically, a big problem is transphobia, even within the gay and lesbian community. And actually, when I was early in my transition, and I still didn't always like pass, like you couldn't always, like, you know, like, I still had like some feminine features and stuff like that, I would get nervous going into men's restrooms, because, you know, like, I wasn't sure if it was going to be safe. And the only time that I felt like, it might have actually been unsafe to be in a restroom was at a gay club, and all of the other people in that restroom where gay men, you know, and I had never felt that way at like a sports bar, or a baseball game or any other places that it's mostly, you know, straight men, because they're not really paying attention as much right? Like they did, they're not looking as much when they're in the restroom at other people, whereas gay men, you know, they felt more comfortable, like making eye contact and looking at people when they're in line in the restroom, or whatever. And so they didn't, it was a really uncomfortable situation. So I think that's really important to highlight that, that, you know, this, this organization came out out of out of a need, not just from lack of support in the greater community, but also from lack of support in the gay and lesbian community. Because, yeah, it's like, it's so important that we all stick together. And yet, it often is not the case. Yes, I mean, it's very, very important. Because the creator create our city by defending us talking positively about one another, that is how you defend within each other within the community. Okay, so if you are a lesbian, but now you have a problem with the trans because you are unable to define it, then. I mean, what's the point of having a solidarity? solidarity, for unity? You know, we need is, yeah, I love it. Yeah. It's community means to be able to defend each other. I love that. And, and that's so true. And you were speaking a little bit about, you know, wanting, wanting to do like visibility and advocacy and getting people resources, and that you wanted to kind of tackle a court system a little bit and get into litigation, but you had trouble with that is part of the reason I know part of it is because, like you say, you know, like the the laws that are currently in place, either, you know, don't recognize transgender people at best, but in oftentimes, I think criminalizes transgender people. Is that is that correct? Is it a crime to be transgender in Tanzania right now? No, that is not a crime. In Tanzania because they are not those that prohibits anyone being a trans person. Okay, that's good. At least they I know those that even speak about trans person. So this means that we need the advocacy. You see? Yeah, I get that. Yeah, cuz that's I mean, that's it, I'm glad organizing the multi sector framework of the health system in, in the, in the in Tanzania, I mean transgenders have been mentioned now. But now the issue right now that we are facing is that it's there, written in words, but it's not been taken into action. You see, so that's the problem we're trying to tackle right now. But we have been recognized. I mean, it's there. You You are recognized in in law protected? I'm sorry, I think I miss part of that. What is it? What is written right now? Exactly. In the metaphysical framework of the Tanzania system, okay, it's written that free health system in to all people, including sexual minorities, including key in the vulnerable population, can go narrow population means MSM, sex workers, and transgender that is. So it's there, it's written in a format, that's not nice. But now, it's not taking into action. This means that this means that the resources that are coming inside the country are only serving you. Yeah, leading up to the transgender community, because why number one, they claim to not have transgender and that, indeed, we struggle doing our own research in, in Tanzania. So it's like we are learning cycles, and not hearing what trends have to say, on the outside, I mean, it's nothing about us, without us, we are not there at the table to make decisions to, for us to put ourselves to visible lives ourselves. so that we may be so that we have the data, we need to start doing some action. So I see that is there is missing, that the gap that is missing, and now, in the community, people are still suffering, I mean, there is a very big gap missing. in the, in the, in the in the books, again, community as to the sufferings cases are not being taken from the police, they mean we need safe house, we need a place whereby people can run people can feel secure what people can, and people can kill it. Can you know, people can those people who are from, from violence from getting parents, I mean, people can recover? Yes, people can recover from their tragedies, and we need such spaces. And now, why now? Number one is because I have the privilege to find a reason to say so. So why not now? Well, now, it has been for several years, I mean, I am the voice, and I'm speaking with we need it. That is why we are trying to fundraise so that we may have for our own people so that they can survive. I mean, they saw that they may grow, they may grow meanings, they will get education causes, they will have access to libraries, they will have the space to grow their talents, they will have space to have enough use of technology, and then they can take the advantage of that we need to build our own people, starting with a safe space. Yeah, absolutely. And then once once that safe space is is established, and you have those resources, I mean, you're talking to education, you're talking about growing talent, you're talking about access to technology, you have that stuff set up and then you know you're saying nothing about us without us. Once we have that stuff set up next step is is getting people at the table and having people run for public office and be in other places of influence so that they can take that knowledge that they've gained and actually start applying it right. You know what I also remember something also inspired something very nice expanding. Oh, yes, there's this young man in a community started a very nice project called for self is this meant what he meant was that it should start with me in their community. They had a problem because In their black communities, they did not have schools. They did not have library. But this guy was able to mobilize people in the streets, fundraise for, for others in the streets, just by voicing putting themselves out there and voicing out. So he was he was able to create, he was able to build this connection. The school was very big. And it had lending, lending, it had lending programs and everything in the guest what a lot of people heard about it. And even the president heard about it. He was even an even more of what he was asking for, you know, because now the immunity floor that this young man had a potential, you see, he was taking this, he was trying to save his community and it worked. A lot of black people in the community started taking courses started learning English started. I mean, I also want to motivate it like people are suffering. Yeah, in this pandemic season of COVID-19 finals is becoming very hard. There are no jobs, people in trans people still on the streets. Violence is becoming too much. I mean, it's everything in one place people can be someone can even commit suicide, but why not? Now? Let's save it right now. And I know we will celebrate. Yeah, I love that. Because Yeah, I mean, you're saying, you know, like, why not? Now, why not now, but also, you know, this is something that you kind of have always been doing first, just within your family, you know, ever since you were, you know, ever since you were young, you were constantly, you know, working on like art, you know, speaking your truth and figuring out what that was as you went along. And now it's like, the the stage for that is getting bigger and bigger and bigger, right? Like, first it was just your family. And now you kind of have this this, like what we would call like a chosen family, right with the people that you haven't TTI and you're you're still, you know, kind of working on just speaking your truth, like shining a spotlight, making sure people know, and I love that, like, I love that you were inspired by by this person that that, you know, saw the lack of resources in his community advocated for it, because you're 100%, right, it's like, that's exactly how it starts is is, you know, people noticing a need speaking up for it and, and kind of listening to that call. Because I feel like we get a call from the inside to start speaking up, right. And, you know, the fact that that, you know, like you're answering that call, it's helping you it's helping your community, but you have no idea the same way that this that this person inspired you, you have no idea how many people you're going to inspire, both in Tanzania and around the world, just by telling your story and and doing the scary thing. I mean, obviously, you know, it is, it seems in some ways, like it would be easier to just, you know, never come out as transgender and to just live a life as the gender that you were assigned at birth. But I mean, you know, and I know how impossible it is to try to live life when you're not living your truth. And yeah, so I love what you're trying to do here. And and you mentioned, you know, like we need to kind of save our people and then we can celebrate, but I know you've also talked a little bit about wanting to create a space where people can have fun so can you can you kind of speak to like what what it would mean to PL to like also bring like joy into every everything that you're doing with TTI. Most of the LGBTQ community are very talented. Human. Yeah. Very nice. All they want is just a space so that they can shine the light. I remember, I used to be a very good dancer. And yes, I'm telling you, I'm serious. And I was another one. I was the second Chris Brown and shoot. Yeah, that's awesome. I okay, yes, I love the dancing. But now what broke my heart is that the one of the competition. I wasn't able to continue because people didn't understand what gender I wasn't very judging about it. So I had to give up the quantity to live it. But actually, I didn't feel about them. In the competition, I just felt, I felt bad about the judgment because I believe you know, as human beings, when you do something for to make when you do something for yourself to feel joy, and then you get negative negativity that is coming from someone you do not know, you're not aware, like, weird. It's very weird. It's, I mean, it's just generally not okay, you know, so slowly that LGBT people become introverts. I mean, they have the shine, but they keep it inside themselves. It just bands, they enjoy it inside. But outside, the reality is that nothing is happening, everything is paid. And then you start dying from the inside. And instead of dying from outside, being inside, you're killing your own joy. Because now you're able to express it however you want. So we want to give them a space, so that they can shine, they can do it, so that someone can be there and tell them that it's okay. What you're doing, it's okay, you need to continue. I mean, you need to be brave, you need to proceed, you need to find yourself. Finally, a team, most of people who are talented, I mean, number one really been violated. Then thinking about how they can share their talents to the world. It becomes had, so people are missing out the fun part, you know? Yeah. So other people have never experienced, and they have never experienced joy within their lives. Because of the of the, of what of the misery people are causing them. I mean, people need to be around the area and go to space, so that they may feel and welcomed, they may feel they're also part of the title of the human nature. Yeah, so I think everyone needs every human need to experience joy to experience good mental health, physical health. And yeah, why not for the LGBT community. So that is also my drive. I mean, people are very talented people need to do basketball, people need people want to draw. I love that. And again, I can, I can relate so much again. I mean, for me, I, I've never, I've never been a huge dancer, but I used to be like a musician. And in my hometown, in my, you know, home community, I had a lot of support for that. I moved to Los Angeles to pursue that. And I couldn't, you know, I wasn't able to find my people there. And the people that I met up with in Los Angeles to try to do music, they didn't really get me. I'm not sure if they were racist, I don't really think it matters, the main thing was that they didn't really understand, like my gender presentation, and they didn't get me because they didn't see me as a man. But also, they only really wanted to help women that they wanted to sleep with which you know it so I didn't fall into any of these categories was absolutely crazy. And so as a result, I ended up going completely inward. And you were talking about, you know, the the LGBTQ become, you know, introverted, even when that's not their natural state. And that was definitely the case for me. And I, you know, my world became so small, and I would just stay at home and I stopped doing music, stop doing all these things. And it was only in these last couple of years that I started, you know, doing creative stuff again, and this podcast is part of, you know, being creative again, and doing comedy and doing all these different things, where I can truly express myself and be myself and feel safe and supported in doing that. Because now I know who my true people are and how to find them and where they are. Right. So yeah, I mean, it's, it's absolutely it's so important. It's It's essential, really, you know, and we think about this as like, you know, something where it's like, oh, you need you need schools, you need medical supplies. Yes, that is all very important. But without a place to cultivate joy to add to, to add to culture, you know, it's like it there. It lacks depth, you know, like, there isn't a richness to it, when when it's just those essential needs, and you kind of ignore what the soul needs, which is to be able to express itself and to be able to, you know, utilize talents, whether it's sports, whether it's art, right, so yeah, I think I think that's all very important. Something just came up Yeah, that's what Yeah, according to hearing what you're saying. And now I am realizing that we need to. We need to toughen up, because no one can come to us and toughen. But if if there is a line of prison, that privilege, we will take it. But if there is no, we need to push ourselves. That mean, we were not being welcomed in their spaces when we do the same with them. We will not work on bigger spaces to play football with them. We are not welcome in their spaces to create our own space. Yeah, yeah. Because exactly right back to what you're saying before community, his defense, defensive strength and toughness? Yes. I mean, we will create it, if they were able to create one country. Exactly. In any means, we will create it in they will hear their voice. I mean, they will hear our voice in they will love it. They will hate to love it. Exactly. Exactly. I mean, that's, that's that's how it works. Right. You know, it's, it's, you know, going back again, to American history, you know, like, LGBTQ communities were very much so in the underground and not a known thing in mainstream society. And decade after decade, after decade of more growth and more visibility. It's becoming, you know, more and more in the mainstream. And now you have, you know, LGBTQ programs and, and entertainers who are winning awards in the mainstream, but a few decades ago, you know, that wasn't possible. And it was only possible because of the work that that was done, you know, to create those spaces for us. And so that's kind of, you know, that's kind of where you're at right now. In Tanzania. Yes, again, they have been, have been raided by the police in our safe spaces are having fun, and it's been, it's been, it has always been there. You are in Clara, you see just a bunch of police coming in pulling someone or you see someone, some bouncer just coming in, disturb some LGBT drinks. I mean, we don't need that. We need to have fun. I mean, we need to clear our mind. So we do not need to feel that valence in such a moment. You see? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, violence of our police raids and safe spaces. I mean, you know, any, any Americans that are listening to this right now that have Hulu, I highly recommend that you check out this pride documentary. I think it's literally just called pride. And it goes through decade after decade of what was going on in America through the lens of LGBTQ history. And this is the exact same stuff that was going on just a couple, you know, just a few decades ago, right, you know, right here in America. And, you know, so you see, you know, you're you're kind of in that same space. And so if there's any Americans were like, man, I wonder what I would have done if I was alive during that time. You are alive during that time. Right now. It's just happening in other parts of the world. So, I mean, so So mulamba, I think we're just about out of time, you know, so for someone who is listening to this, and they're and they're nowhere near Tanzania, you know, they're in Europe, or they're in America, most of them are in America. I don't know why I said Europe first. You have they're in America, and they're listening to this and they and they want to get involved like what is what are some ways that people can help from halfway around the world? What what what can we do to support TTI? Number one is partnership. We are always open for partnerships, because we want to grow as, as young people, we want to grow as a community. So partnership is good into it's also good. So that's also good to learn about Tanzania, you get to come here in Tanzania and look at this wonderful mother land, you see partnership is it creates network, it creates resilience creates strength for us, because we are we want to move from surviving to thriving. So that is, I think that is is the correct priority to us. Also, issuing statements. We believe we are very good friend of the Americans. We have we are working with in different areas with the American Embassy with the World Bank. I mean, we have a lot of things that we are working together. So I believe we'll crack them happiness in our country. We believe you guys our front liners to be to put a good word out there. If something is been done. That is not fair. I think that will be very helpful to us. Last but not least, is the resources. I mean, we need to survive as human beings, we need to continue doing the great job of human defense. But we also need to survive. Sources means support system, capacity, financing, our, our work, financing our events, financing our fundraising, because all of this is going to the community, we are taking it straight to the community, and we are tired of main stream organization taking up all the sexual minority and within the city resources, because sometimes it doesn't reach to the intended community. Because there's too much bureaucracy too much politics on the around the table that would that makes the person who is from the community to not receive the the the help. So you're taking it straight to the community. So we ask for? Yeah, for resources. That is, yeah, once again, I mean, that that sounds very familiar to stuff that's happening here in America where, you know, you have these big organizations that are supposed to be helping and and because of both bureaucracy and corruption, right, there's, there's, you know, the money and resources are not actually getting to the people who need it most. And so instead of like a top down approach, where everything is supposed to trickle down, we need more of a bottom up approach where the resources go straight to the community straight on the ground. So yeah, I mean, if you're, if you're looking to donate, I'll definitely add that link to my website. You know, you can follow Tanzania trans initiative on Instagram. You can follow Mwamba directly on Instagram, we'll have the links to all that hear in the show notes. But yeah, and I think, you know, in as far as statements and partnerships, it sounds like, you know, it sounds like I have some work to do myself to to, to, you know, start start talking to some of my elected officials and see, see what I can do to start, you know, shining shining a light from from that angle as well, because I know, you talked about the World Bank and stuff. But I think the World Bank is also cutting funding to Tanzania, because of some of the human rights violations going on against LGBT people. But the thing is, you cut off that funding, and then the funding is cut hockey, you know, it doesn't it punishing the leaders at the top, you know, it's crazy, you know, when bad things happen to inside the country? it I think everyone, people, leaders don't see that they need to see that, because some of the violences are coming from the leaders that we depend on them to having to put up a good word for everyone, generally, but when we have leaders who are taking advantage of their power to just didn't manipulate some community, that is not right. I mean, the world is watching. So we got to be careful how I mean, we need to be careful, how are we are we are we? I mean, how are we driving? How are we driving as a country, because everyone is watching. You can do something negative to the community, you can say something that will hurt a big number of the community and get away with it. People will remember it always and it will come back to you see? Absolutely. Now so so to end on a on a slightly happier note. You know, so so there you know we've we've already kind of griped about this privately, you know, not not recording you know, growing up here in America. I had a lot of friends I had a lot of classmates, colleagues who you know, I would say my dad is from Tanzania and they have no idea what I'm talking about you know, there's there's Americans that don't even know that Tanzania as a country I would hope that that's not any of my listeners at this point because I feel like I've talked about it enough for it but for Americans who have who have never heard of Tanzania or are not very familiar with it, you know if there's anything that they could take away like what what would you want them to know about about this land about this contract this culture? Any anything about changing if number one is I want them to know that they're good people with voice Yeah. Trying to create a space for himself just to shine the light. So that to show that you may know what Tanzania is, because I have been around the world. And it's like, people do not know where Tanzania is. Guys Tanzania is in East Africa. In the day, sometimes we mix it with Kenya know, Kenya, Kenya, in Tanzania instance. And in I'm sorry, if in any way that we were not able to build the relationship, positive relationship, so that we may know each as well as a country. We are welcoming you guys, stakeholders to come and learn more about this is a good place to invest. It is a good place. We are good people. And I have been watching a lot of news around the world. I have been seeing opportunities whereby African countries are there but Tanzania is missing. Yeah. youth who are eager to learn youth who are eager to serve. They need to, they need that chance. needed those opportunities they need to come in this country. You need to see what the youth can, can can can do. Because we believe in. So youth, we need to empower the youth. We need the resources to go to the youth. They're willing to make chances. And my brother Leo here is from Tanzania. I mean, he's a Tanzanian guy. He really is really looking forward to coming Tanzania. Yeah. He's hoping that you find the youth who are very active, who are very sharp. You know, we have very good people, please guys come. The American Jewish please don't only end up in Kenya, you need to come here. Come in Tanzania. I mean, this is a great land, despite all the things that we hear. I want to tell you something very nice. I have good news. Actually. I have good news on the leaders that were that were causing that were causing destruction. Maybe on our own hands, they're no longer they are no longer in town. That's great. Oh, President as somebody that issue because she's the president of rights. She believed in she believes in, right. She believes in women's rights. She believes in men's rights. She believes in equal rights to everyone. It does not matter who you are transgender, sexual minority. You are a lesbian, gay, you are a man, you are a woman. Everyone is everyone is equal. I mean, on the law, everyone is equal. So I'm glad those leaders, the ones that were causing the crackdowns and no longer they're the leaders that are manipulating women, raping women and Logorrhea. Our Madam has changed everything guys. You need to come come come come to Tanzania. They everything is happening here. I'm telling you need to come. That's beautiful. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. Mama. Thank you so much for coming on. Thank you so much for having this conversation with me. I'm so glad that for the most part the network cooperated with us. I can't wait to see what all we can do together and I can't wait to meet you someday in person and to meet everybody else at CCI entertaining. It's It's gonna be great. It's gonna be great. It's gonna Yeah, man. It was a great time. I'm telling him I will show you around Tanzania. It'll be great. I can't wait. So where can our listeners find you on the internet? Is there anything that you'd like to promote? Yes. I would love to promote our page or Instagram page. It's called the Tanzania trends initiative. I would also like to promote our Facebook page. It's Tanzania trends initiative. And we are going to also our our YouTube page. It's crowded Tanzania trans initiative. Please we are going to we are soon going to put out there these podcasts. Please you find also the podcast or video you will also have our link to AI to our YouTube channels find we are going to we are going to start tonight's session banning sessions we are going to have, you know, conversations about spirituality, health issues. We're going to talk about relationships, everything in general, I mean, the lifestyle of LGBT community in Tanzania. I mean, people need to see that side, that positivity side, that rainbow silo. So yeah, our YouTube channel, I think soon it will start to start, I don't want to spoil anything or give you any expectations. But stay tuned. I love it. I'm really excited about the YouTube page that sounds like it's gonna be really great. And again, just a great way to have your voices be shared. So I love it. I i'm i'm here with you. And yeah, let's let's get started. Like getting getting this stuff on the map. I love it. Thank you again. wamba. Thanks, man. Thank you. Once again, that was Mwamba. niganda wamba. My brother, thank you so much for coming on the show. I truly cannot wait to meet you in person. Listen, y'all. One of the things that wamba talks about that I think is so important. I wish I had brought it up during our interview is why not now, right? You know, it's not always going to be safe or opportune to do the things that you want to do. But once you see that the privilege and the opportunity and everything is aligning, why not? Now, you know, we don't know how long of a window we're going to have for any opportunities that we get. And I'm so excited that we have this opportunity to partner up with these Tanzanians as they're going through a very pivotal point in their political journey as a country, and especially for the LGBTQIA community. You know, that change in leadership is a big deal, you know that the iron is hot, it's time to strike, so to speak, right. And Mwamba mentioned, you know, partnership statements, he said, Americans, we are the front lines for them. You know, this is part of the Black Lives Matter movement. You know, we are not free until all of us are free. That is not limited to the borders of the United States of America, we have fellow transgender people, we have fellow black people who need our help. And seriously, you do not know how powerful your voice is in a situation like this. So I'm going to be getting to work with figuring out ways that we can kind of organize and help out from a from a policy standpoint from here in America. In the meantime, there is a link for a GoFundMe account in the show notes. If you have the means please donate. You know, they have a lot of things that they want to do with TTI. Last week in my in my journal prompt. For those of you who don't know, every Friday, I send out an email with one of my favorite book quotes, as well as a journal prompt to go with it. It's a great way to get more out of the Leo Yockey show. If you're looking for more ways to get involved and be interactive, you can email me back with with your thoughts, and it's a really good time. And this last week, I had a quote from Trevor Noah, where he said, it's fine and dandy to to say that you should teach a man how to fish instead of just giving him a fish. But you better make sure he has a fishing rod. You know, wamba was saying, and I know it to be true that Tanzania is full of youth who are eager to do something, but they need the resources. Anyway, you can tell that I'm very passionate about this. I couldn't Yeah, I cannot imagine a better way to end Pride Month. I hope you enjoyed your pride month. We're going to keep the pride going though. Next week, first week in July, I'm going to have my good friend Shannon on this show. And you know, we'll be exploring a little bit more about gender and sexuality again, and how that helped them kind of define their career path. And it's it's such a cool conversation. So again, thank you for being on this journey with me and oh, if you want to sign up for those journal prompts, who I am chaotic right now, I just had some caffeine but we're just gonna roll with it because I was low energy from recording really early in the morning last week. Anyway, if you want the journal prompt, go to my website Leo Yockey. Calm LEOYOCKY calm. Find me on instagram hit me up, say what's up. And thank you all for being on this journey with me. stave off