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Zimbabwe: Gays hit catwalk at drag queen contest

BY GILLIAN GOTORA
ASSOCIATED PRESS

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- And the winner is ... Ezmerald Kim Kardashian.

That was the stage name for a young man who won the title of Miss Jacaranda at a drag queen pageant in Zimbabwe. He refused to give his real name because he feared for his safety in a country whose president has described homosexuals as "worse than pigs and dogs."

The flamboyant pageant, one of the biggest gay and lesbian events in Zimbabwe, was held discreetly last weekend in an isolated farmhouse on a forest-shrouded hilltop on the outskirts of Harare, the capital. It was the finale of the annual ZimPride week, in which homosexuals held low-key events, including a film-screening and a launch of "Out in Zimbabwe: Narratives of Zimbabwean LGBTI Youth," a book on experiences of young people coming out about their sexuality to families and society. The events were publicized by word of mouth and messaging on social media.

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