English: Cyber dialogue summary for 5 December 2011, Violence against sexual minorities

Date: December 6, 2011
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Cyber dialogue summary


Date: 5 December 2011

Theme: Violence against sexual minorities À“ lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people

Facilitator: Shuvai Busuman Nyoni (GL Gender Justice and Governance Manager)










“In Africa homophobia is the irrational fear or hatred of lesbians, gay men, bisexual and or transgendered people.”- Kenya

“It’s not homophobia, its culture!” À“ Namibia

” Our communities in particular Zimbabwe and others are still very conservative and homosexuality is still regarded as an abomination. People have not yet accepted it.”- Zimbabwe

“We have seen killings of LGBTI in Soweto. During the day it is safe but at night its a different story.”- South Africa

Question 1: How do you relate to people who are different in your community?

  • In Namibia lesbians cannot go and report GBV at the police station because the police make fun of them.
  • In Zimbabwe a person is shunned for just being assumed to be gay.
  • In many of our communities, Zimbabwe in particular and others, people are still very conservative and homosexuality is regarded as an abomination. People have not yet accepted it.
  • I have experienced name calling and verbal abuse first hand thus I think that it will take a while before we (LGBT people) are seen as equals to the heterosexual people.
  • Children have to be taught at an early age to appreciate different people with different sexual orientations.
  • It is more acceptable when a couple is lesbian rather than a gay couple, however, it is more dangerous to be lesbian than it is to be gay in South Africa.

Question2: Are you aware of lesbians, gays, bisexual or transgendered people living in your community?

  • Yes, I have many friends who are gay, lesbian and bi sexual.
  • I am gay myself and have had many experiences relating to my sexual orientation.
  • To me being gay or lesbian is what you are. Why should they be discriminated against?
  • I relate well with both gays and lesbians. They should be free to relate with whoever they choose to.
  • Their sexual orientation should be respected.
  • Culture is the reason for the treatment of LGBTI people in Zimbabwe, not homophobia.
  • There is no law in Namibia against LGBT people but they are stigmatised.
  • In Tanzania the term LGBTI and activity related to the term is illegal, but there are people who fall within this category.
  • People should be respected in terms of their sexual orientation.

Question 3: Are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered people safe from violence in your communities?

  • LGBTI people are not safe in their communities. They are abused emotionally and mentally affecting their self esteem.
  • In Soweto it is not as dangerous as in Kwa À“thema, Cape Town and Kwa Zulu Natal. You are likely to feel more safe in Soweto than in other communities because people there have accepted difference.
  • In Zimbabwe it is worse because they do not support this. They are beaten up.
  • People talk about them behind their backs in Zimbabwe and so they are alienated from others.
  • Namibia has a bit more tolerance than some years back, they have come to accept LGBTI in their communities.
  • People in Namibia are still a bit skeptical when it comes to the concerns of gays and lesbians. However tolerance has become more of a reality as time has progressed.
  • Girls befriend gays more easily than guys, men feel offended and feel the need to hurt gay people.
  • Most of these people do not have access to public health systems they are discriminated against.
  • Treatment of LGBTI people is worse in Zimbabwe because most people do not support LGBT.
  • A lot of Zimbabweans do accept LGBTI people; there are many within the country, it is just not known.

Question 4: What is meant by the term ‘corrective rape’ what is the problem with such a term?

  • You cannot correct a lesbian, the term takes away from the responsibility for the action of the rapist.
  • LGBTI do not need rape to become heterosexaul, although they may not be governed by the law in namibia the law protects them as human beings.
  • Gender based violence needs to be correctly prosecuted.
  • Rape is rape. It is a violation of many different rights of the victim. It should not be tolerated!

Question 5: Are there any policies that protect the rights of gay people?

  • The Bill of Rights.
  • The South African Human Rights Commission considers this as hate crimes similar to apartheid and other discrimination based on race etc.
  • There is need for an integrated approach towards violence against the ‘other’ in our communities.
  • Most LGBTI people do not have access to public health and clinics. They are stigmatised when they seek medical attention.
  • Not in Swaziland it is illegal.

Quetsion 6: What do you think ought to be done to protect the right to safety and protection of LGBT people? Who should be responsible for protecting the rights of LGBT people in our communities?

  • The police.
  • The community should be pro active in reporting crimes against victims.
  • Governments should play a role in protecting these people.
  • Society should stop discriminating and embrace them.
  • Violence against LGBTI people is unacceptable. There is a need for activists to take action for the dafety of all people, particularly the most vulnerable.
  • Laws that discriminate LGBTI people should be amended.
  • Sex work should ne decriminalised in Africa.
  • We need to help elders in our countries understand the issues of LGBT people.
  • Ordinary people need to stand up to their governments.

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