When you know that many people in this world lived and died thinking they are “ill” and “not normal” because no one provided them with the correct information, or when the information is available for them but they can’t understand it because of language barriers, you know there is no knowledge equity. Also from another side, when people from the “global north” believe in the stereotypes that the media communicates about “the global south”, you know that knowledge inequality exists worldwide and is not a local issue.
My goal is to turn Wikipedia into an activism tool. I am working on giving people who are marginalized in my community more access to information that concerns their health, rights and life in general. My focus lies on enriching Wikipedia content in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and African languages related to LGBTQ+ communities rights, health and culture. Also, I am trying to give more visibility to the local activist movements that are trying to change the situation (NGOs, laws, activists, artists, etc), in order to change the received images about my country and the region. That’s why I started “Write for Rights” project that started in Tunis and now organizing the first “Queering Wikipedia conference“.
My main challenge is to engage the local LGBTQ+ communities in the Wikimedia movement, to make it more inclusive and representative. I want to create a safe space for the marginalized youth where they can contribute to share helpful information about their identity and culture, without being judged or risking to be attacked. Also, I am facing an academic challenge while trying to achieve this goal: For many political, logistic and cultural reasons, queer coverage (history, arts, studies, etc.) in the MENA region are very rare to find and difficult to access, as most of them are in North American and European countries.
The movement needs to learn and really be more inclusive, not just on paper or meta pages in our case. Wikimedia affiliates need to take bold steps and be proactive in reaching out to the „minorities“ in their local community by proving that this is a safe space for you to join. Personally, I didn’t see that happen so far. But we are working on changing that.
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