Workshop discussing regional LGBTIQA+ rights – Thurs 1 July

In partnership with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the Southern African Liaison Office (SALO) hosted a workshop discussing regional LGBTIQA+ rights, with SADC LGBTIQA+ organisations with keynote speaker, the Republic of South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Justice, John Jeffery. The panel included organisations countries in the region, including Dario de Sousa (LAMBDA Mozambique), Steve Letsike (Co-Chairperson of the South African National Task Team on LGBTI Rights and Hate Crimes) and Ronika Zuze (Intersex Community of Zimbabwe Trust).

Given the growing trend of attacks on the LGBTIQA+ community, SALO wished to engage members of the SADC LGBTIQA+ community concerning the attack on the community. Discussions included the challenges of the incongruence of constitutionally enshrined rights versus so-called cultural/traditional views, and the causality of growing homophobic views in the region. Further, the criminalisation of homosexuality as a lasting legacy of colonialism, we unpacked the colonial legacy of intolerance as a point of departure from traditional African beliefs and practices that valued tolerance and non-violence

Some key findings from the dialogue include:

Gaps and loopholes still exist in policies that protect LGBTQIA+ people, such as inaccessibility of healthcare services or incompetent and incomprehensive health services for transgender people.

South Africa must be at the forefront of championing accountability and commitment to non-discrimination and non-violence. It must take the lead in championing the instruments and policies it has put in place to improve the legal policy and social environment that propels forward the agenda of LGBTQIA+ inclusion.

Legal and policy instruments are a first step to protecting the LGBTQIA+ community, however, this should be followed by educational programs to galvanise attitude and behavioural changes/attitude changes to inform legal instruments and policies.

Watch the video here