Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself. ~Robert Ingersoll
Issue: LGBTI rights are literally life-and-death human rights issues. Individual LGBTI people in Namibia are ordinary people simply trying to live their lives, as well as those who are LGBTI advocates exist in very diverse, often hostile climates. The best protection they can have is for the broader human rights, civil rights and funding communities to champion and support their efforts to achieve full LGBTI rights. Discrimination and stigmatization of LGBTI individuals and organizations cross-cuts and compounds other forms of discrimination based on economic conditions, education, gender, race, ethnicity, age, and disability. Violent persecution—often in the name of “traditional” values, culture, and religion.
Many African countries, except South Africa, have legally mandated intolerance of sexual minorities. (1) In 2006, the Nigerian Government announced their intention to implement punitive and homophobic legislation. Uganda also introduced a ban on same-sex marriage, whilst Zanzibar criminalized lesbianism. Robert Mugabe, Sam Nujoma and other African leaders further expressed their intolerance of sexual minorities through hate speech and restriction of local activism.(2) The lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans gender (LGBT) (3) community contains several groups lobbying for respect of sexual rights and equality. These groups contest the use of religion and culture to assert non-heterosexual practice as sinful and ‘un-African.’(4)
Description: This Concept paper responds to the growing calls/need from the LGBTI Community in Namibia to streamline the legal structures and policies for them to over come stigma and discrimination and allow them to enjoy rights of accessing HIV treatment services through recommending the human rights based approach for reforms in service deliveries as suggested by the different key stakeholders with a view to replicate the reforms nationally. Lessons learned: Improved LGBTIs quality of life in Namibia – the incidence, prevalence and reduction in HIV-related mortality and morbidity amongst the LGBTIs; Policy & Advocacy on prevention for STI/HIV. Facilitating and mobilization of CT (Counseling and Testing) services to LGBTIs. Distribution of Condom and lubricants to LGBTIs .Equal access of health care for LGBTIs by identifying and developing referral systems for LGBTIs health needs. Safe Sex Workshops, trainings and Open Forum Discussions. Peer Education and Counseling Post Test Clubs; Outdoor Activities. Design and production of IEC Materials in local languages
Expected Benefits: Documentation of and artistic expression by sexual minorities to sensitize communities on the effects of exclusionary attitudes, practices and policies towards LGBT persons. Eradicating persecution based on sexual orientation; protection in the law from hate crimes and hate propaganda; equal rights and privileges (marriage, common law partnerships, medical-decision making, wills and estates, parenting and adoption, contest democratically for public office) and to work and educate others on homophobia and heterosexism
References: (1) Horn, J. 2006. “Re-righting the sexual body.” in Feminist Africa. Subaltern Sexualities, Issue 6, www.feministafrica.org. (2) Robert Mugabe once described homosexuals as “repulsive…lower than pigs and dogs” and Gay rights have been excluded from the Constitution of Zimbabwe under the power-sharing deal. See Dlodlo, B. ‘No Gay rights in new Constitution - Mugabe’, The Zimbabwe Telegraph, 26 March 2010. (3) This has been extended to read LBGTIQP, an acronym for lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, intersex, questioning and proud. (4) Horn, J. 2006. “Re-righting the sexual body.” in Feminist Africa. Subaltern Sexualities, Issue 6, www.feministafrica.org