I was going to post a review about this book the day after the women’s march, but after seeing some of the ignorant, down-right sexist comments on social media I decided it was best to shut down the engines and cool off for a bit before I verbally destroyed half of the internet. I LOVE ME SOME GODDAMN LADIES. Seriously. There is absolutely nothing I love more in this godforsaken world than reading stories about women who shattered the goddamn glass ceiling and left men shaking in their wake. Nothing inspires me more. Nothing gives me more goosebumps. Nothing makes me want to start an all-women regime dedicated to helping other women stand up for themselves and break the proverbial mold. So when I received this book in the mail, you best believe I damn near shat myself.
Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz (illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl) is a book that will be placed permanently on my coffee table, the subject of countless drunken conversations to come. Shatz chose a woman from every continent on earth and told their story, including the battles they went through and the barriers they broke. It woke up some long-dead part of my soul and inspired me to go out there and kick more ass than I already do. Shatz focuses on well-known women, such as Serena and Venus Williams, and Frida Kahlo (I’m convinced I’m her literal reincarnation) as well as tons of other women who’s stories I never knew before. I want to invite all of them over, both dead and alive, and pick their brains one by one. And then hug the living shit out of them because DAMN.
Lend me your ears, ’cause I’m about to teach you a lil’ somethin’ somethin’. Kasha Jacqueline Nagabasera. Born in 1980. Kampala, Uganda. Homosexuality is still illegal in Uganda, as well as 38 other idiot countries. When Kasha was a little girl, she was forced to leave her grade school because she wore boy’s clothes and that meant she was obviously a lesbian (I wear boy’s clothes all the time and I love me a man, but you know, whatevs). This kind of discrimination continued through out her entire childhood. Kasha was beaten, bullied, and continuously expelled because of her sexual orientation. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re shaking uncontrollably and googling ways to fuck up Uganda’s homosexuality regulations, but slow your roll. It was these instances that helped shape Kasha into the kick-ass warrior she is today.
Now known as the “Mother of the Gay Rights Movement” in Uganda, Kasha began speaking out about homophobia in college. When she was 23 fucking years old, she founded Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), one of Uganda’s main LGBTI organizations. You know what I was doing when I was 23? Smoking weed, contemplating becoming a yoga instructor while my daddy paid my credit card bill. Definitely not creating organizations to help save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. But I digress.
In 2009, the Ugandan government proposed a law which enabled people to attack others under the suspicion of being gay. At this point, being gay was punishable by death in some circumstances. Fucking 2009. Because of this disgusting law, violent homophobic attacks increased tenfold. Popular newspapers wrote articles and posted pictures of people who were suspected of being gay. Some real Nazi Germany type shit. One day, Kasha was reading the paper and stumbled across her worst nightmare: pictures of both her and her friends, all taken without permission, posted right before her eyes. Kasha, being the badass woman she is, fought back. Her and her group of friends sued the newspaper and won. In a country where homosexuality was so highly condemned at all levels of the government, this was a huge victory for Kasha. Instead of just letting her have this one victory, life came back and spit in her fucking face. Soon after their victory, Kasha’s good friend and fellow activist, David Kato, was murdered.
Most people would give up after such a horrific tragedy. I’m disgustingly stubborn and stupidly strong-willed, but if my close friend was murdered over a cause we were constantly fighting for, it would be hard for me to continue the battle. But no, not Kasha Jacqueline. She knew that by forging on she would be risking her own life. And to her it was more than worth it. She continued working with FARUG. She fucking founded Bombastic, an online LGBTI magazine which ended up being downloaded over two million fucking times in just one year. She continues to testify before the United Nations, appears on both TV and radio, and refuses to stop protesting and challenging unjust Ugandan laws.
She’s been harassed. She’s been arrested. She’s been attacked. She has to continuously move from house to house, forced to live in secret with friends and her supporters in order to keep up the fight and stay alive in the process. Kasha Jacqueline is one of the last LGBTI activists residing in Uganda, because unfortunately most of the others have been brutally murdered or forced to flee their own country. She could leave; she could find asylum somewhere where she will be loved and accepted. You want to know what she said when that point was brought to her attention? “If we give up now, what will happen to the future?” Be still my fucking heart.
She has since won numerous human rights awards, and in 2015 her picture was featured on the cover of Time magazine’s European edition. She traveled to the United States and was made the grand marshal of the world’s biggest gay pride parade, which means my brother was within the same mile radius as her and the envy is unreal. And while she enjoyed celebrating the love and acceptance shown in our country to our gay counterparts, all she wants in this world is to bring that same freedom to her own country. When asked about the current situation in Uganda, her response floored me, and I am virtually un-floorable. “I’m full of rage, but I won’t get a gun and fight. I’ll use my words to break down the system of oppression.” Kasha Jacqueline Nagabasera, words cannot describe the level of respect I have for you and your fight.
When people sit there and bitch about protesters and people fighting for a change, she is who I now think of. If you believe in something strongly enough, there is zero fucking reason you should be belittled for putting up a fight. Don’t tell people to “get a job” because they attend protests. Don’t refer to them as criminals. Because the truth is, yes, there are people out there who only want to cause harm and loot businesses, but there are people out there like Kasha who want, need, and will make a difference. Do not delegitimize the efforts of a group of people simply because you are not directly affected or don’t understand. Because when something bad happens to you, or you’re not treated fairly, we are the people who will understand and help you. We will have your back and fight for you entirely.
And lastly, if you are a woman who belittled the millions of women who marched and continuously strive for gender equality, do me a favor and get off the internet. Shut down your goddamn computer and shove your foot in your mouth. Women marched so you could have the right to hide behind your keyboard and type out your bullshit opinion as to why you think the march is irrelevant and a waste of time. Women marched for your right to share your opinion, and you’re embarrassing yourself. And men who still think we’re below you, bend over. ‘Cause we’re coming for you and you can’t hold us back any longer.
Well! I went a little crazy there but damn, that felt good. Kasha Jacqueline Nagabasera’s story is only one of the 40 lives touched upon in this book. After reading my rant, you can tell this book is worthy of both your time and money. Buy it, and join me in my passionate endeavor of reading about these worthy as fuck women.
Buy it here. Once you read it, let me know some of your favorites 🙂
That’s all! ♥G
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.