P13 – The LGBTI movement in Africa
Jérémie Safari . Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko
Raphael Mutambala . Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko
When we talk about gender and LGBT activism in Africa, we are referring to a majority of oppressed people on every level within the community that its either men or women. The criminalization of LGBTI activist work and constant oppression supported by the State against them encourage widespread impunity. The police, the law and the courts continue to perpetuate and intensify the different types of oppression against LGBT and their work for their rights, which is why these people refrain from resorting justice. It is difficult to assess the contribution of the LGBTI movement, because it is insufficient to change laws and anti gay and discriminatory policies, or to obtain rights for communities or LGBTI people in isolation multiple identities of African LGBTI. Give priority to freedom rather than another does not work. Nevertheless , significant progress has been made by the LGBTI movement in Africa in the fight for gender equality and LGBT. The South African Constitution has created a framework to unify the fighting. The coalition of civil society in Uganda has consolidated broad coalitions to denounce the democratic regression resulting from the targeted repressive and criminal laws against LGBTI individuals and communities. Kenyan movements have gained great visibility by offering change programs. Unfortunately, these gains remain fragile and vulnerable, for example, the pressure of opportunistic politicians, or poor journalism in search of sensationalism. To assert in this progression, the movement must continue to forge strong alliances between various groups of Africans and movements for social justice.
The promise of South Africa’s new constitution which disallows discrimination on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation, is met by the reality of country still defined by racism, sexism, transphobia and homophobia. Even in this difficult environment lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) grassroots organizations and activists resist injustice in creative and inspired way. In this multimedia presentation, I draw upon my work as an activist and programme officer at Hivos South Africa. I will unpack the use of creative human-centred methodology dubbed People’s Power to build grassroots networks and empower local organisations. This EU-funded project is currently implemented nationally in South Africa (see for more details: https://goo.gl/RpSvSg). My analysis is based on an extensive mapping exercise of LGBTI grassroots organising in South Africa, video interviews with participating activists, reports from participating LGBTI grassroots organisations and feedback from participating organisations and activists. The presentation aims to ask three critical questions: (1) What possibility does the People’s Power project offer to LGBTI grassroots organisations and activists? (2) What are some of the challenges experienced by LGBTI people in South Africa? (3) what are some of the strategies used, by LGBTI grassroots organisations and activists, to make their communities safer. In reflecting on these questions, I will explore the intersectional nature of struggle in South Africa, the need to multi-actor yet context-appropriate responses to issues facing communities and the role of grassroots actors in creating sustainable and safer localities.
Gabriel Hossain Khan . Hives South Africa . firstname.lastname@example.org
LGBTI rights are commonly viewed in African media and social discourse as ‘un-African’ and counter to African culture. Activists arguing for LGBTI rights are portrayed as pandering to Western donors and ideology. Little research exists on the topic; much of the existing research shows high levels of intolerance to LGBTI people on the basis of culture and religion, particularly compared to tolerance to other discriminated groups (http://afrobarometer.org/publications/tolerance-in-africa). The Umunthu workshops project is turning this on its head by using Umunthu, a pan African philosophical concept of humanity, combined with reflection on personal experiences of stigma and discrimination, to engage people in conversations about LGBTI people and our locally embedded ideologies that have governed Africans for generations. In this paper, we will present findings from the research we have been doing alongside our Umunthu workshops. So far, this research has indicated promising positive shifts in attitudes towards LGBTI people among workshop participants. African culture and philosophy is diverse, evolving and subject to interpretation. It is possible to use African belief systems- specifically those focusing on interdependence and tolerance- to invoke reflection and encourage greater tolerance of LGBTI people. Confrontational approaches can lead to a backlash which entrenches people more firmly in their beliefs. Creative participatory approaches that work with participants’ familiar values and ideologies, and facilitate exploration of underlying basis of discrimination, could be an effective way of impacting on popular thinking and achieve positive shift of attitude towards LGBTI people.
Rodger Phiri . Art and Global Health Center Africa . email@example.com
Chiwoza Bandawe . Malawi College of Medicine . firstname.lastname@example.org
In contrast to the growing body of literature on South-North partnerships that tends to focus on the cooperation between large-scale NGOs, this paper will examine the potentials of partnerships between activists on a grassroots-level. Reflecting upon their experiences of cooperating on LGBTIQ* rights in Nairobi, Kenya, the authors will illustrate how eye-level cooperation on the grassroots-level can actually make a major contribution to overcoming the severe challenges of the LGBTIQ* community in Kenia and how the experiences drawn from the cooperation, vice versa, enrich human rights activism in Germany. The paper will proceed with a discussion of the implication of the case analysis for the theory and practice of activism in the context of South-North partnerships. First, grassroots cooperation is efficient in running small-scale projects tailored to local needs and, which are below radar level of large-sale organizations. Second, it can help activists to identify and monitor ‘hidden’ forms of discrimination and human rights violation on a local level, and communicate their information through human rights networks to larger organizations and policy-maker. Finally, grassroots-cooperation represents a scheme for the self-empowerment of the participating activists, who may then serve as multiplier in their respective activism networks. Thus, the scheme not only facilitates the accelerated development of social capital, both nationally and transnationally, but also supports the individual activist to break his or her own marginalization. As a consequence, the paper encourages researcher to focus their attention to partnerships on a grassroots level, and policy-maker to provide the adequate frameworks for such cooperation in order to facilitate social change.
Richard Georgi . School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg . email@example.com
Emmanuel Odhiambo . YHEPP Kenya . firstname.lastname@example.org
African sexual minorities have been subject of increasing physical and psychological violence. Several African States have discussed and even approved new anti-homosexuality laws that constitute a threat to the LGBTI communities’ fundamental rights. All this new anti-gay legislation are based in countries where the Penal Code preview the criminalization of the same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults already, the so called sodomy laws. The reaction of the African Union to this increasing legal violence is incipient, handicapped by the African leaders who support this state sponsored homophobia. What are the impacts of those anti-gay legal reforms? How have the LGBTI Communities handled the situation? What strategies and mechanisms these groups have been used to defend their human rights? An approach to the judicial system, to demand the remedies of human rights violations, is one of those strategies. New African emblematic case law shows that the judicial system has remained immune to the general homophobia that sweeps the African societies and, by doing so, it stands as a last defense line for the African LGBTI populations. This panel aims to: identify the multiple dimensions of the legal and policy struggles of the LGBTI activist movements; think about the effectiveness of those strategies on ensuring constitutional rights of African LGBTI people; and think about what measures African Union’s mechanisms may adopt to improve the protection on this minorities.
Rui André Lima Gonçalves da Silva Garrido . CEI-IUL . Rui_Andre_Garrido@iscte.pt
Three strands are discernible in African homophobia discourse: traditionalist, biologistic, religious. Their origins go back to the colonial experience in Africa, but differ. African traditionalism claims homosexuality to be un-African: an imperial colonial import. Religious LGBTI adversaries phrase opposition to homosexuality in terms of un-Godliness. Other adversaries try to frame their opposition to LGBTI activism in terms of biology and nature. These positions have been blended into a discursive package that is difficult to unravel. African evangelical churches backed by western donours join the traditionalists’ view of Africa as originally void of homosexual practice. Biologistic arguments that ring of late 19th century Western science meet with traditionalist voices alluding to a pristine Africa. All three join in metaphors of purification – despite obvious cognitive dissonances between them. Meanwhile, the colonizing structure that once brought homophobic world views, religion, science and law to Africa has remorphed into donour discourses speaking of human rights: Development aid will end, if LGBTI concerns are not recognized. In this, they hijack LGBTI issues for their concerns, jeopardising African LGBTI activism. What range of action does this leave for members of the LGBTI collective? Some of the more subversive examples happen in liminal spaces, often hidden from the all too public observer. But at the same time there are interesting niches out of which some issues are catapulted into the mediatic mainstream. It is the latter which I find interesting as potential catalysts for open-minded, curious and potentially supportive members of the African civil society. I suggest this is the potential that needs to be tapped into, if LGBTI activism is to succeed.
Axel Fleisch . University of Helsinki . email@example.com
Lena Seppinen . University of Helsinki . firstname.lastname@example.org
1.LGBTI rights- commonly viewed as ‘un-African’ and counter to African culture. Activists arguing for LGBTI rights seen as Westernised/ pandering to Western donors 2.Little research on the topic- much of the existing research shows high levels of intolerance to LGBTI people on the basis of culture and religion, particularly compared to tolerance to other discriminated groups (site AfriBarometer research) 3.Umunthu workshops project- turning this on its head by using Umunthu, a pan African philosophical concept of humanity, combined with reflection on personal experiences of stigma and discrimination, to engage people in conversations about LGBTI people and our locally embedded ideologies that have governed Africans for generations. 4.In this paper, we will present findings from the research we have been doing alongside our Umunthu workshops. So far, this research has indicated promising positive shifts in attitudes towards LGBTI people amongst workshop participants. 5.African culture and philosophy is diverse, evolving and subject to interpretation. It is possible to use African belief systems- specifically those focusing on interdependence and tolerance- to invoke reflection and encourage greater tolerance of LGBTI people. Confrontational approaches can lead to a backlash which entrenches people more firmly in their beliefs. We consider that this more reflective approach has great potential in challenging discrimination and violence against LGBTI people. 6.Creative participatory approaches that take the participants down to their own familiar values and ideologies, that facilitate exploration of underlying basis of discrimination, could be the most effective way of impacting on popular thinking and achieve positive shift of attitude towards LGBTI people.
Rodger Phiri .Art and Global Health Center Africal . email@example.com
Hellen Todd . Art and Global Health Center Africa . Helen@aghcafrica.com
Based on a theoretical foundation in the gender camp as a social construction, we analyze the consequences of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act in a local context and global in the light of fundamental rights and their instruments for defense of this population. Knowing that as a result of the approval of this law, it is essential that the LGBTI population will be pressed and particularly at risk and need protection. Support this, it will be found by means of refuge, asylum and migration in search of better living conditions and respect. Thus, we will address the issue of refugees in view of its large amplitude in the African setting, particularly in East Africa, in the face of great repression LGBTIphobia that Uganda is transmitting. Data provided by the UNHCR (Agency UN Refugee) and other service providers in Kenya, a country of great demand for LGBTI population, indicate that at least 400 LGBTI Ugandans have sought safety and asylum there between January 2014 and February 2015. It is worth noting that Kenya also has many tools for the persecution of this minority population, however it is the space where the UNHCR will work to provide support, financial and social to Ugandans that here asilam through “camps” that are socially harmful and repressive for this population at risk, because if they turn away from him, these people may be arrested or deported. Soon, through analysis of case-by-case we will explain forms of remedy these problems that are happening in the context of forced migration, in order to reduce the frustration of these refugees, improving service quality and primarily the protection and their rights assurance. Thus defend freedom of expression , and the ability to expose the social construction individual that acquired during their formation.
Icaro Taynan C S Pereira . University Federal of Rio Grande do Norte . firstname.lastname@example.org
Devido à discriminação e ao preconceito ainda presentes na sociedade, a população LGBT na africa enfrenta iniquidades e vulnerabilidades de emprego ou seja, as pessoas que são excluídas da sociedade por algum motivo. A fim de promover melhorias na situação de emprego dessa população, com isso sendo necessárias ações para promover a igualdade de oportunidades, além de combater o preconceito e a discriminação.
NGALULA LORENZO FREDDY . Centro de Apoio ao Trabalho CATe . email@example.com