Iranti-org, creating meaningful space for Queer Activism. Iranti-org is a queer human rights visual media organization based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Iranti-org works within a human rights framework as its foundational platform for raising issues on Gender, Identities and Sexuality. Read more about Iranti-org.
By Onalinna Moruakgomo, a media advocate on women and LGBTI rights and a member of the African Queer Media Makers Network. She is from Botswana and reported from court proceedings held on 15 January 2016 at the High Court of Appeal in Gaborone, Botswana.
Botswana. 22 January 2016
The Three Dikgosi monument in downtown Gabarone is a significant landmark, recognising the three Chiefs who played an important role in Botswana’s independence. Independence from the colonial masters included taking pride and retaining the culture and identity of the Batswana. This is the same symbol LEGABIBO strongly identifies with and is central to the belief that their ancestral leaders fought so that ALL citizens may enjoy the right to freedom of expression and association. All citizens include lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex persons of Botswana.
Supporters of the case outside the Court of Appeal
This freedom of association was affirmed when Judge Rannowane of the Botswana High Court made his findings and decision in November 2014 stating that the government of Botswana must permit LEGABIBO to register as an NGO. Denying them this right will be considered unconstitutional. The Attorney-General did not accept this ruling and prepared an appeal to overturn the court’s decision.
This case dates as far back as 2012 when the Director of Civil and National Registrations rejected LEGABIBO’s application on the basis that homosexuality is not recognised within the country’s consitution.
Inside the court
On 15 January 2016, the matter was heard at the High Court of Appeal in front of a five judge panel. The State retains the argument that by allowing LEGABIBO to register, it will erode the penal code’s powers on morality within the Botswana society. The judges are requesting the State to provide evidence that indicates that the registration of an LGBTI organisation that teaches its constituents sexual health rights will lead to the decimation of society’s moral codes. To date, the State has failed to provide such evidence.
An activist with a clear message
In addition, the judges have requested the State to provide proof on how the sections pertaining to rights of freedom of expression and association in the Botswana constitution excludes LEGABIBO?
LeGaBiBo members and their legal representatives
The court resumes on the 7 February 2016 when the final judgement is expected.
Passing your matric is a major highlight in every young learner in South Africa. Doubly so for Black learners in townships who face major social and economic challenges. For LGBTI learners, ‘coming out’ in South African public school often means exposing oneself to bullying and teacher prejudice. The education system is failing to support learners on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Motshidisi Pascalini Melamu, a 21 year old lesbian, excelled and passed her matric, but she was raped, mutilated and murdered before she could even learn of her victory. On 18 December 2015, her body was found in an open field in the Vaal region of Johannesburg. She had been missing for two days. Her face was burnt with acid and one eye had been gouged out. Her breasts had been cut. Her mother recognised her daugther in the mortuary from the tattoo on her leg.
Pascalina had been at a social gathering with a friend on 16 December. She went to the bathroom and never returned. Her friend was raped and narrowly escaped the same brutal death. The perpetrators were known to both victims.
The community of Evaton North took to the streets demanding the perpetrators are arrested. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
The community demand action from the police. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Vaal LGBTI and others took to the streets on 12 January. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Vaal LGBTI and others took to the streets on 12 January. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Lesbians. On 12 January 2016, the Vaal LGBTI marched to the Mafatsane Evaton Police Station and handed over a memorandum to the MEC for Public Safety in the Emufuleni local municipality demanding the perpetators be arrested. At the time of Pascalina’s murder, the case was handed to an investigating officer that was still on leave. No work was done on the case in his absence. The petition calls for SAPS to speed upits investigation on this and other cases and to ensure that arrests are made.
VAAL LGBTI is registered and struggles to receive support to run programmes that could assist in reducing homophobia and transphobia in the Vaal region. Annually they have organise a Vaal Pride and some fear that these attacks may occur as a result of visibility campaigns on LGBTI rights.
Iranti-org is documenting this case and will continue providing support to the Vaal LGBTI organisation in collaboration with other civil society organisations.
If you missed it or want to relive this historical day, here's a video about Africa Trans* Day of Visibility. On December 5, 2015 we celebrated African Trans* Visibility with panels, discussions, stalls and performances, all at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa.
History made: Photos from Africa Trans* Day of Visibility
South Africa, 5 December 2015
On the 5 December 2015, Iranti-org hosted its first Africa Trans* Visibility Day at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg, which brought together Transgender activists from Uganda, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, and Namibia. Panel discussions on Trans* rights, accessing healthcare, legal recognition, employment, safety and security, allowed participants to observe experiences of panellist's daily lives. The day visibilised transgender lives within Africa and celebrated freedom and ownership of their lives. The afternoon programme ended with musical performances and gatherings.
Photos by Dean Hutton
MCee Seo Mooketsi opened Africa Trans* Visibility Day with a beautiful poem.
African Trans* Visibility Day panel discussion moderated by Jabu Pereira with Shawn Mugisha from Uganda, Ricki Kgositau from Botswana, Tampose Mothopeng from Lesotho, and Jholerina Timbo from Namibia.
Shawn Mugisha spoke about transgender issues and the recent attacks against transgender persons within his home country, Uganda.
Ricki Kgositau from Gender Dynamix spoke about the case that she is pursuing in Botswana.
Reggie Maleme from Gay Umbrella said that we need to join together and activate for people in African states that have anti-homosexuality laws and that discriminate against transgender persons.
A screening of the short documentary "They want to see Me Dead" which focuses on the recent attacks towards transgender persons in Uganda.
Dr Anastacia Tomson held an 'Ask a Doctor' session.
The audience engaging during the morning sessions at Africa Trans* Visibility Day, Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.
Activate, a LGBTIQA students organisation at Wits University, had a stall at the Africa Trans* Visibility Day.
Iranti-org had a stall selling t-shirts, packers, pumps and vibrators on the day.
Khwezi Ndlela performed for the crowd at the African Trans* Visibility Day.
Stephanie Legari from GLOR entertained the crowd in the afternoon programme.
Sam Ndlovu from Zimbabwe performed a tribute song "Malume" in remembrance of the late Malume from Rock of Hope, Swaziland.
Snowy Mamba and friends posed for the camera.
Mosa Mahlangu enriched the crowd with his latest gospel hit song on the day.
Refilwe Mooketsi graced the event with a beautiful performance and had the crowd singing along.
Director of Iranti-org, Jabu Pereira, was excited on the success of the
first African Trans* Visibility Day Event.
Venue: Women's Jail, Constitution Hill Precinct, Johannesburg
South Africa, 19 November 2015
Between 20 November and 10 December several important dates that highlight trans* awareness across the region occur. The period includes Trans Day of Remembrance, Rainbow Identity Association's Trans Pride in Botswana, World AIDS Day and International Human Rights Day. These are all significant dates that impact on our gender identity and gender expression.
We demand that transgender persons across Africa are protected against violence, economic oppression and should enjoy full human rights - including the right to health care, and full legal protection. All countries in Africa are signatories to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
We call on you to stand with us and fight transphobia in all its forms. Join us on Africa Trans* Day of Visibility taking place on Saturday 5 December 2015 at the Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg!
Uganda, 27 November 2015 At least six Transgender Ugandans were attacked in one week in Kampala, Uganda in October 2015. Trans* activists, Williams Apako and Beyonce Karungi share their harrowing stories and give us a deeper insight into the precarious conditions that trans* persons live under in Uganda.
Uganda, 18 November 2015 As Uganda prepares for its national elections, it is evident that politicians have begun to use the "gay rights" card to instil fear in the nation.
This makes the situation very vulnerable for LGBTI persons and more specifically for Transgender Ugandans. In our interviews with Trans* persons, they consistently state, “We Transgender people are the face of the LGBTI movement." Gender expression and gender identity remain a major vulnerability to Trans* persons who become key targets of the public.
On 17 October 2015 two Trans activists were attacked in a bar in Kampala, Uganda. While hosting foreign guests, Apako Williams and Jay Mulucha were attacked and called out as being fake men and homosexuals. On the same weekend there were several other attacks on Transgender activists. One of the activists is Beyoncé Karungi, the Director of Transgender Equality Uganda (TEU).
THE ICD is the international classification of diseases is a document that is produced by the Word Health Organization.
The existing 10th edition of the ICD is currently being reviewed by the World Health Organization (WHO), presenting activists with an opportunity to advocate for change.
Iranti-org is committed to building a strong movement in the run-up to 2018, which is the release date of ICD 11. We are setting up subregional working groups on ICD, research and documentation. We want to make sure that African voices are heard in the revision process.
Iranti-org hosts ICD Conference with
Gender Dynamix and GATE
South Africa, 31 September 2015
Iranti-org in partnership with Gender Dynamix and GATE hosted a regional ICD (International Classification of Diseases) Conference from 27-30 September 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa with over 30 trans and intersex activists representing 12 countries across different regions in Africa.
The aim of the conference was to create a collaborative space for engagement on developing an African advocacy strategy on ICD revision through discussions, expert presentations and group work.
Participants in the ICD intersex workshop gather for a group portrait.
Iranti-org Regional Co-ordinator Joshua Sehoole introduces the ICD (International Classification of Diseases) Conference 2015 with welcome remarks and introductions. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Estian Smit opens up the conference on ICD Africa research, 28 September 2015. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Seoketsi Mooketsi from South Africa and Johlerina Timbo from Namibia listen attentively during Estian Smit's Presentation. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
The overall view of the participants listening to the presentation of one of the speakers, ICD Conference. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
A presentation about SOGI in International Classification of Diseases by Dr. Alex Muller, ICD Conference. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Ricki Kgositau of Gender Dynamix, Cape Town gives her input with reference to the presentation by Dr. Alex Muller. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Shireen Motara was the facilitator for the duration of the ICD Conference, September 2015. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Dr Simon Pickstone-Taylor had a session on Gender diversity in Childhood during the ICD Conference 2015. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Dr. Simon Pickstone-Taylor session was based on this Gender bread person. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Neo Musangi asks a question during one of the presentation sessions, ICD Conference 2015. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Iranti-org printed themed "STOP TRANSPHOBIA IN HEALTHCARE" for the ICD Conference 2015. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Director of Iranti-org Jabu Pereira stating his views on ICD research in Africa, ICD Conference 2015. Photo by: Gugu Mandla
Mauro Cabral of GATE(Global action for trans equality) presents on opportunities for engagements in the ICD Research within Africa, ICD Conference September 2015. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Sam Ndlovu from Sexual Rights Centre in conversation with Boglarka Fedorko from TGEU (Transgender Europe) who had a session monitoring needs assessment. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) organized yet another successful Soweto pride march.
This is a day for the LGBTI community to be seen and heard and for us to claim a safe public and political space. This year's 11th annual pride was in honour of the late lesbian women, Sizakele Sigasa and Salume Masooa, who were brutally murdered in Soweto, Meadowlands 2007.
The march takes to the streets of Soweto, Meadowlands Zone 2. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Left to right: Karabo Malope and Noxolo Stoff of IHAWU holding a powerful message. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Action Aid played a very important role in making sure that we were safe while reclaiming our space. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Posters reflect the various issues faced by the LGBTI community. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Comrade Virginia Magwaza leading the 11th annual Soweto Pride march. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
The ZwaKala meeting for Coordinators and Directors of Community Based Organsations (CBO) was facilitated by Dolar Vasani on Monday, 14 September 2015. The meeting brought together CBOs that are part of the ZwaKala prject from three provinces. Expectations were high as the participants, from Limpopo, Gauteng and North West, eloquently voiced their understanding of ZwaKala in their human rights work in their communities and the importance of the project within their organisations. The participants also detailed their challenges as organisations and the need to use ZwaKala as a means to improve their human rights knowledge and media skills.
Participants were vocal about the success of the meeting. One participant reflected, “The sessions were very important. I learnt a lot from people from different provinces about how they are addressing their challenges and successes.”
The issue of Trans* visibility was also raised as many felt that Trans* issues were isolated and left marginalised within their communities. It was agreed that Trans* voices will be included in the project as ZwaKala represents the entire umbrella and does not marginalise any group.
The meeting wrapped up with participants creating the space for engagement with Iranti-org and other organisations within the ZwaKala project, to work together and “rise up”.
Founder Directors of Zwakala
ZwaKala participants making action plans
Zwakala participants doing evaluation sheets
The next steps for the project is a capacity and media development plan which will categorise the level of capacity within each organisation and how ZwaKala can help capacitate these individuals and organisations. Below are additional comments from participants:
“The meeting was important because I’ve been able to learn how LGBTI groups could be strengthened in terms of undertaking advocacy effectively.”
“The meeting was valuable as it shows progress, passion and commitment.”
“Learning from other organisations and the Founder/Directors helped me recognise my own shortcomings.”
“I was given the opportunity to talk and to learn from fellow participants.”
Nairobi, 14 September 2015 I have been back in Nairobi for almost three years; my understanding of Nguni languages might be waning but I do hope I can start this with a name: Xolile; one who is/has been forgiven. I barely knew him by that name. I never called him Xolile. Most of us never did. Xolile became Malume and often called himself the ‘Gentle Giant’ and gentle he was.
There is always a lot to say when people die. The work of the eulogy is to list good deeds. It is to summarise a life. Given, there is a lot to say about Malume. He was a jolly good man. There are tributes flowing on Facebook from individuals who knew him for a long time and from others who only met him once or twice. There are organisations sending in messages from across Southern Africa and the entire region. Indeed what a loss!
But I choose to speak about pictures. Malume loved pictures. He took pictures all the time. He took pictures of himself, of fountains and of other people. Even people who met Malume once have pictures with him. As I go through Malume’s Facebook page I realize just how important it was for him to capture moments. How important it was for him to be honest. To feel and to express his moments of “feeling fabulous with…”. Malume smiled, he smiled a lot. He laughed too, heartily and often. Malume loved, and loved deeply. He spoke of love as a blessing. He spoke of people as blessings. He spoke about his partner a lot. Where that talk was is silence and while we mourn as a movement, as a people, someone is mourning Malume differently. Yes, Zethu Matebeni is right: “some things are not meant to be experienced alone. Mourning is one of them”. Malume’s wedding was going to be in Kenya, he told me in June 2015. That wedding won’t be. Perhaps this will be a wedding of a different kind. It will be a wedding of silent sobs and grief across the LGB & TI movement and individuals across the world. It will be a celebration of a life and a regret of a single death of a person who lived in, and with, so many souls. It will be an imagination of what Malume’s absence means individually and collectively.
Thank you Malume for sharing so many bits of you with us. Thank you for being you. And thank you for saying: “Emotional release comes at about the time it begins to dawn upon us how dreadful this loss is. Sometimes without warning there Wells up within us an uncontrollable urge to express our grief. It's a good thing to allow ourselves to express the emotions as we have tear glands right!” (August 19).
Without warning, there has welled up within us an uncontrollable urge to express our grief, but within that we find only good memories of you and sithi sixolele if we don’t laugh enough today. Uhambe kahle our Rock of Hope, comrade, leader, and friend.
South Africa, 11 September 2015
The Vaal LGBTI community celebrated their third annual Pride parade on Saturday, September 5, 2015. The event included a march through the streets of Boipatong, moving performances to commemorate the victims and survivors of hate crimes and an after-march gathering with entertainment at Boipatong stadium.
After the event, the 200 or so participants headed to an after party at Havana Club. The pride organisers had met with the manager of the club twice before the event. The manager had agreed that Vaal LGBT group could rent the venue exclusively for the evening. He promised to hire security and a DJ — costs that would be covered by a R20 cover charge at the gate. This was the first time that they used this venue. The owner of the club that they used in previous years had died so they had to find a new venue for this year's event.
When the LGBTI group arrived at the venue, however, they found that one of the bouncers was letting in men that they did not know. Once inside the venue, the group of men used homophobic slurs, threatened the Pride participants with knives and bottles and stole their cell phones and money. The pride organizers witnessed two cases of assault. One person was slapped and another one stabbed with a bottle. "The manager did not protect us even when we went to him for help. Instead of him helping us he let those guys do what they did to us," says Kegomodicoe Mocoancoeng about one of the organizers. The manager didn’t expel the men, but called the police who came much later and did not help much. They did not arrest anyone and did not try to expel the group of men.
According to Ajax Azania Sengwayo, the programme coordinator of Vaal LGBTI, the "organization is taking legal action against the owner of Havana and are trying to get information on people who were hurt at the venue". Vaal LGBTI needs more information to make their case to the police and have scheduled a meeting for Sunday to gather more facts on what happened and who was hurt.
Vaal LGBTI have consulted with the National Task Team (NTT), as well as the Rapid Response Team, and are waiting to hear back from them about what legal action can be taken. The Rapid Response Team was created to help victims of gender-orientation-based violations access the justice system.
Over 20 LGBTI activists from Gauteng, North West and Limpopo provinces will attend a meeting for Leaders on 14 September 2015 at the Iranti-org offices in Braamfontein.
The ZwaKala project, through this meeting, seeks to foster formal partnerships with LGBTI change agents in the three provinces. It also seeks to empower them to document and report on hate crimes in their community.
The meeting will look at the formalising structures and methodologies for these partnerships as well as creating a space for partners to achieve their own organisational and institutional goals.
The ZwaKala project is firmly committed to empowering and supporting human rights defenders to document and report on human rights violations and creating sustainable change within the LGBTI sector.
by Joshua Sehoole - Regional Human Rights Officer, Iranti-org
South Africa, 10 September 2015
During July and August 2015, Iranti-org and Pan Africa ILGA (PAI) hosted two Universal Periodic Review (UPR) workshops, in Swaziland (co-hosted by Rock of Hope and Gender Dynamix) and in Tanzania (co-hosted by Tanzania Trans Initiative).
The UPR is an instrument of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground of all 193 member states.
Under the UPR mechanism, the human rights situation of all UN Member States is reviewed every 4.5 years. The UPR is one of the key elements of the Council, which reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.
Each year, 42 States are reviewed during three working group sessions, usually held in January/February, May/June and October/November. The review includes three documents:
An official report from the State prepared report
A compilation of the State’s recent reviews by UN agencies
A “Shadow” report - information compiled by NGOs, National Human Rights Institutions and other relevant stakeholders.
Shadow reporting is an important tool for NGOs supporting LGBTI rights. It is an opportunity for civil society organisations to highlight issues not raised by their governments or point out where the government may be misleading the committee from the real situation.
Iranti-org co-hosted constituent consultations for participants from Swaziland and Tanzania to consolidate their knowledge regarding the UPR process and discuss local challenges that the community wanted reflected in the report.
Conversations also took place with human rights based NGOs on how they could mainstream issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in their reporting and in their work generally.
Post-submission workshops on strategies for follow-up will take place later in the year.
The Zwakala project, funded by the Delegation of the European Union, partners with community based organisations (CBO's) in Limpopo, Gauteng and North West to support increasing awareness of LGBTI persons and their lived experiences. This coming Saturday Iranti-org will be attending Vaal Pride in solidarity "Love knows no gender".
“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity”
Will you sponsor the Run for Iranti team? This Sunday 30 Aug we will run/walk the 10km race of the Mandela Day Marathon in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. We are raising funds for Iranti-Org, a visual media NGO in Johannesburg. Iranti-Org films stories of love and loss, joy and hurt, giving voice to lesbian and transgender persons who are increasingly marginalized and prosecuted across the African continent. You can make a donation via PayPal on www.iranti.org.za. Let’s get moving for equal rights for all.
Shelley Barry working with the Iranti-org media and documentation team
South Africa, Johannesburg, 27 August 2015
Iranti-org was honoured to have Shelley Barry, award-winning filmmaker, poet, lecturer and video trainer at our offices during August 2015. Shelley’s company, twospinningwheels productions aims to explore new languages in cinema and giving marginalised voices access to the craft of filmmaking. The company is dedicated to making the stories visible that the mainstream renders invisible. It achieves this by conducting film training and making films about people who will most likely not see their stories on the screen: women, people with disabilities, the LGBTQI sector, artists, children and elders.
Her brief at Iranti-org was to work with the Media and Documentation team, doing a training needs assessment, evaluating video footage, identifying content for a new short film and assisting them with crafting a story, scripting, production and how to shoot for the edit.
“Working with an organisation such as Iranti is completely in alignment of my vision for twospinningwheels productions. The work that Iranti does is vital to a democratic South Africa and for an egalitarian society. I applaud the fact that our experiences as the LGBTQI community are being documented via media, which has the capacity to have far reaching impact in this age of technology.”
Shelley has focused on working with the team on the production of a new video, highlighting the plight of trans and gender non-conforming learners in the South African education system.
“We have been working on gender inequality in South African schools. Over the past two years, Iranti-org has documented cases of lesbian being expelled, bullied and discriminated in schools. Shelley has been helping us with conceptualising the story, scriptwriting and drafting a documentary treatment to make a powerful story,“ says Gugu Mandla.
Iranti-org will launch this new film in September.
Njabulo Maseko presents on human rights violation on transgender persons at last year’s Transgender day of Remembrance November 2014,Constitution Hill, Johannesburg
Njabulo Maseko with Jabu Pereira of Iranti-org, Gloden Thani of the Department of Education and Neloufar Khan of Social Development on Transgender Day of Remembrance 20 November 2014.
Njabulo Maseko was part of the organising team with Transgender and Intersex Africa and Iranti-org for the preparation of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) event, Constitution Hill.
It was with great shock and sadness that Iranti-org learnt of the sudden passing of Thando Njabulo Maseko on 12 July 2015.
Iranti-org first heard of Njabulo’s work as a young activist while he was founder of the Emalahleni LGBTI group, and had the pleasure of working with him while he served in that role. He later became the advocacy officer at Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA) – a position he took up in September last year. Iranti-org and TIA organised the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) in 2014 and Njabulo was a key presence on this day. He made many contributions to the trans* movement in the country and helped it move forward. His work here will not soon be forgotten.
For those of us who had the privilege of calling him “friend” outside of work, we were humbled by his kindness and compassion to everyone around him. We’ll remember his jovial spirit and penchant for storytelling, and the effortless way in which he harmoniously weaved together his deep commitment to his culture and traditions, with his passion for human rights.
Our heartfelt condolences and support to TIA and his family during this difficult time. We will forever remember him as a poet, an activist, a colleague, a healer and a friend. He will be greatly missed.
With our heartfelt condolences,
The Iranti-org team
14 July 201
A hangout moment with Transgender activists at CFCS. Dalziel Leone, with Immanuela, Apako and Jabu
On Sunday 14 June 2015 we were all set for the journey, the East African Trans group. It was quite a chilly morning and took a lot of effort to be at the pick-up point at 6:30am. I had to be up by 3:00am, thanks to my annoying alarm, as I take two hours to get ready for such a trip. I still got there late.
The Nairobi group was ready, waiting for the bus to fill up. Those from Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi were picked up from the airport and taken directly to the venue, Naivasha, Rift Valley region. You could feel the excitement as laughter and giggles filled the air. Everyone wanted to talk to someone, even if it was just a random person passing by the vehicle.
By 12:00pm we are at the venue, checking into our rooms. The environment was serene and supportive. It was actually the best description of a safe space. ‘Free to be me’ could silently be felt among the people who had already arrived. For those coming from oppressive and strict countries, this was a once in a lifetime chance to freely express their gender in whichever way felt comfortable to them and gently emanate who they really were; instead of feeling caged inside by society’s dogma and bigotry.
By 3:00pm the East African Trans and Intersex Baseline Survey convened. A trans and intersex baseline survey had been commissioned to map out the landscape of trans and intersex organizing and funding in the East African region. This included ironing out organizing and funding disparities and informing organizing and funding in the region. During the session individuals were able to freely discuss their experiences and lived realities in the context of their respective countries.
For the first time trans men openly shared their challenges despite it being mentioned that they hardly opened up in such spaces. I wondered what caused this change during the session? Perhaps they were inspired to take up the challenge and prove people wrong; prove that they were able to transcend the societal norm that ‘men do not express their feelings and emotions’. Fears and worries were shared. Joys and sorrows were shared too. Emotions were let out. Even those who were silent when the session began felt safe enough to share their stories with the world. It took a lot of courage as for many this was the first time talking about feeling confined by themselves and what they go through beyond their own closed doors.
In the evening, we were literally behind our closed doors. Trans men gathered in one room, as did trans women. The night was liberating. Topics hardly discussed even among the community were now openly discussed. Information was shared, experiences were passed around, and advice was given. A show and tell session took place. This was a revelation to many, as eyes opened up to the reality of the journey being undertaken towards who they were. As people retired to bed that night, many more were sure of what to do, of who they were and what they wanted.
The following day the second group came in from all over Africa. Although feeling quite exhausted from the East African pre-conference, we immediately commenced the African trans and intersex pre-conference. Despite the fatigue, excitement was in the air. You could see it in everyone’s faces as they waited in anticipation for what the conference would deliver.
For the first time, UHAI made history by bringing a large number of African trans and intersex individuals in one space. The convening preceded the main conference: Changing Faces Changing Spaces (CFCS V). Approximately 50 individuals from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Cote d’vore, Senegal and more, attended the African trans and intersex pre-conference. The ladies showed their beauty while the gents responded admiringly. Every country had a chance to present their experiences and challenges. Tears were shed during the difficult stories just as often as laughter was shared during the wonderful moments and triumphs. You could feel the joy of individuals meeting, getting to know each other, networking and exchanging contacts and information.
The profound awareness that we were not alone seemed to enlighten and brighten the hearts of many. Clearly with various individuals the challenges might be different and the paths taken might have been travelled differently. But one thing stood out, one thing was clear about how our stories were all the same. We were all looking for acceptance and recognition with shreds of love and tenderness. We were striving every day to be who we were, to be the best we could be, hoping that the world would in turn be gentle on us.
Dalziel Leone is a trans man from Nairobi, Kenya. He is a member of Jinsiangu, a recent fellow of an OSEA fellowship and a documentations officer for Iranti-org.
‘Trans’ is an umbrella term that includes transgender, gender non-conforming and gender queer persons.
My name is Seoketsi Tshepo Mooketsi, an ambitious, Trans Activist and Feminist. I reside in a rural township named Schweizer-Reneke in the North West Province, which is surrounded by agricultural farms. There is also a lack of political will from local government in addressing issues such as sexism, homophobia, gender stereotypes as well as hate crimes and corrective rapes, which continue to escalate daily.
Violent, targeted attacks against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and transgender individuals remain a persistent problem in rural environments. Such individuals continue to experience multiple forms of discrimination, which increases their risk of HIV infection and difficulties in accessing and remaining on treatment. Residents of rural areas, in particular black women, are disproportionately represented amongst the poor and unemployed, a fact that is hardly dwelled upon in figuring the way forward. Patriarchy is everywhere; it thrives and is disturbingly normal in my town.
With that stated, I currently use Revlon make-up, which I adore to the fullest whilst I seek measures of using Mac make-up too. I wear a shoe sized seven to eight. Stilettos that are comfortable and balancing are essential. I use Beyoncé’s Heat perfume and a bit of Oh So Heavenly and Old Spice as substitutes after a long and dreadful day. I use a Samsung Tab and my old Blackberry of six years, which has been with me through the harshest times. I am a communications, sciences and anthropology student at a South African University.
This article serves as a liberating attempt within the transgender community at large to come to terms with and convey a positive and empowering period of my life. After some time spent with myself I realize how essential it is to thank the people who have always been present in my life. Although some of them have passed on, their teachings will forever remain in my heart. I would love to extend my gratitude to my late Grandmother Baintlahatse Maria Mooketsi who has always been remarkable in her teachings until she departed; my provider and redeemer, my mother Mojiemang Doris Mooketsi, whose strength and powerful insights on life continue to uplift, develop and educate me; my confidante and protector my big Sister Rehilwe Mooketsi: the woman is wonderfully made; my five-year-old niece who is an absolute bundle of peace, joy and happiness in my life and to all my friends that I continue to have and to those I have parted ways with. Indeed, I would not be where I am presently if it were not for your teachings, sacrifice and compassion that you have provided me with when I needed it the most. For this I will forever be grateful to the universe.
As a young transgender woman I experienced transphobia and discrimination on the basis of my gender and sexuality at a very young age. It started at home, at school, on the streets, in churches and in society. In this sense, I have chosen to live and breathe for the marginalised.
There have been improvements in the recent past, namely, that transgender women and men should have equal rights and entitlements to human, social, economic and cultural developments. They should have an equal voice in civil and political life. This does not mean that transgender men and women are the same but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities do not depend on whether they are born male or female.
I realize that I am indeed fortunate to be born during a period where the world holds great talks on gender and sexuality of LGBTIQ people. I realize that my calling is to take charge and play a role in our struggle for liberation and to interact with some of the greatest, like-minds and leaders presently. I am also thankful for my life’s lessons, which include the good and the bad choices I have made.
How I now view the world compared to five years ago is promising. I have transitioned in an era that has forced me to engage in a difficult dialogue with my own body. I am still struggling to understand what is expected of a transgender woman, or a man, and where one fits into such a complex period of transition. My image of myself is complex.
I have recently engaged in talks with different people who belong to the trans community, and one of the things I am learning from their social behavior and interactions is that in such a complicated society, religion and culture still bind us to embrace heteronormativity rather than transgenderism. I found out that in their lives too there was no bed of roses.
Every day is a new day for me, as I get in touch with my own traumas, which indirectly demand masculinity and femininity from me. I look helplessly at how power operates within the LGBTIQ community and I ask myself how one even goes about advocating for such a cause? Many trans women I encountered are still struggling to understand the fluency of sexuality in the rural areas be it from Ganyesa, Mahikeng, Schweizer-Reneke or Potchefstroom, not to mention politics within this. This raises an issue of concern, namely, why I do my activism? How does one support what is unknown?
I am glad that presently there are activists across the country and globally who, like me, are starting to learn about themselves, their bodies and its politics. There are preconceptions about transgender women, how we are labeled regarding our gender and sexuality and how we present it. I often come across people who question my sexuality. These are the most frequent questions I get: “What are you?” and “When did you realize it and how does it feel?” I then realize they are actually asking me whether I am a man or a woman, which organs I have in my pants and whether my curves or breasts are from being on hormonal therapy or whether I have had surgery performed. Even today there are times when I struggle to explain my gender role and what it entails as a trans woman of colour. But every day I find a peace within and I grow into a woman who is braver, more of a seeker and a fighter.
One of my biggest challenges is obtaining funding for the RuralGayLove movement I have created to assist trans men and women in rural areas since 2014. Using the pain I have endured, I decided to transform it into a movement that intends on mobilizing transgender programs and constituencies to support each other and understand that they have rights and responsibilities just like everyone else. The movement has built strategic partnerships and works to educate societies to reflect better on issues and struggles that transgender people face individually. I believe this is possible.
The movement believes advocacy on LGBTIQ issues in rural areas is not enough. As a young activist I believe we need to make it visible and delve deeper into issues that can refresh people’s attitudes toward trans people and their sexual orientation. I am an aspiring activist who pledges solidarity and peace with the poor, LGBTIQ, working class and marginalized groups. I believe in localising the issues and localising the debate in order to construct progressive solutions that will emancipate our communities regardless of geographical location. Education and knowledge will enable me to open channels of communication with my peers, parents, tribal authorities and similar decision-makers.
Homophobia, inequality and patriarchy in rural townships need to be stared in the eye. The #RuralGayLove movements mean a great deal to me. It means a lot for our future, which my community, especially the marginalized, is waiting for. I consciously identify myself as a proud and out transgender woman of colour as I’ve come to understand the political and sexual meaning of the term. I urge the world to make it possible for me and for those who reside in rural areas to help change lives. It is important at the moment because of the harsh realities we face as young trans women and men from rural areas. A tremendous number of youth lack skills, lack an understanding of their gender and sexuality. The time has arrived to take pride in - and take charge of - representing ourselves as Trans women and Trans men from the rural areas.
Seoketsi Tshepo Mooketsi is a Trans woman of Colour, she is the founder of RuralGayLove, and an undergraduate student at the University of the Free State and an intern at Iranti-org
Between 3-9 May 2015, LGBTI activists from seven countries gathered in Johannesburg for a 6-day intense training workshop on video advocacy and storytelling. This was co-hosted by Iranti-org and Witness, an organisation based in New York that uses video to document and advocate for human rights. This training followed the assessment undertaken in January 2015 and was the first formal activity under ZwaKala, Iranit-org’s EU funded project.
The very participative training was designed to capacitate LGBTI individuals and groups to use video to collect evidence and report on human rights violations. It sought to improve participants’ knowledge of video advocacy and storytelling for action.
Representatives came from CBOs and NGOs in South Africa (Gauteng, North West, Eastern Cape) as well as Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. “I really enjoyed the video advocacy training. It will help our group to create our own films, the way we want them and understand them. We are going to do our first advocacy video on Vaal Pride,” says Lindi Nhlapo, Coordinator of Vaal LGBTI.
For Leon from Jinsiangu, “The training will help me be a better documenter using media advocacy as my tool to create materials on transgender issues in Kenya.”
Johannesburg, 1 July 2015 In a globalized world, few marriages are still arranged for economic, social or political gain; and with it procreation, for the purpose of producing an heir, has ceased to be a primary function of matrimonial unions. Instead we choose our partners based on love and mutual attraction. We are moving beyond the notion of the family as institution, bound by blood and governed by social code, towards understanding the family as a negotiated relationship.Click here to read more and see more images in PDF form (1.5MB).
South Africa, 13 June 2015 Thirty-nine years ago, on June 16 1976, young learners from Soweto organised a national resistance campaign against apartheid. The racially segregated system meant that Black students were subjected to an inferior education system and Afrikaans was enforced as a language of instruction. Equally, young people witnessed how their families suffered under the apartheid system. June 16 1976 was the turning point against the apartheid state.
Now, we have a different generation of South African learners. They are called the post-Mandela kids, meaning that they were born in the 1990s or later. Despite being born into a democracy, young Lesbians, Gay men, Trans* and Intersex learners face immense obstacles in accessing challenges in their school environments. Often, schools enforce gender roles and stereotypes by instructing learners to wear school uniforms that are aligned to being female or male at birth. Young learners face immense stress caused by other learners,as well teachers who bully and harass them, based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Ignorance is rife at schools, and national government departments have not developed policies to reduce stigma and to ensure greater safety and privacy at schools.
This year, Iranti-org, along with LGBTI organisations within Gauteng, Limpopo and the North West, are speaking out against homophobia and transphobia at schools. They are all actively calling on the national education department to prioritise these issues at a national level.
Together with our partners, we have developed a series of poster messages that we aim to distribute at schools. Ongoing meetings are being held among learners and educators.
South Africa, 26 May 2015 On 20 May 2015, in the Potchestroom High Court, Judge Kruger, stated that Disebo's perpetrator showed no remorse to the heinous crime he committed. Sexual orientation must be protected and that hate crimes such as these can't be condoned within South Africa's democracy. Iranti-org followed this case from the beginning and advocated for a speedy trial and for the insertion of hate crime evidence into this investigation. We further ensured that Disebo's sexual orientation remained a key factor in this crime. The judge sentenced 'Boerke' to two life terms and 15 years for stealing Disebo's cellphone. Iranti-org will continue to work towards ending all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Hundreds of Daveyton residents enjoy the flash-mob.
Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
South Africa, 21 May 2015 Uthingo - The Rainbow held a successful flash mob and dance event at the Daveyton Mall on Sunday 17 May. The street theatre group, Joint Minds, performed 'Un-tag me', in-front of 100s of people outside the mall.
Our message was to inform the community "that being gay or lesbian is not a Western invention but a human reality, and we are born this way,” says Asanda Mfede from Uthingo.
Learners dressed in school uniforms performed a gumboot dance. Over 300 people attended the event which was an opportunity for young people to express who they are and what they want.
Joint Minds Street Theatre Group performing ‘Un-tag me’.
Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Gumboot dance: ‘’it’s a better way to make our voices heard’’ says their leader. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
School learners sent their messages to hundreds by dancing, reciting poetry and singing. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) and Action Aid attended the IDAHOT discussion after the flash mob . Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
On Monday 18 May, Emilia Potenza, the Chairperson of the Iranti-org Board signed the formal contract in the presence of Roeland van der Geer, the Ambassador of the EU Delegation to South Africa.
Iranti-org is one of three organisations in South Africa to have been awarded an EU grant under the Rule of Law, Human Rights and Migration portfolio. Prior to the lunch meeting,
Dolar Vasani from Iranti-org did a short presentation of the ZwaKala project. ZwaKala means to speak out. This 3-year initiative seeks to build the media documentation and reporting capacities of LGBTI community based organisations in three provinces - Gauteng, North West and Limpopo. In addition to receiving media making training, the CBOs will receive institutional support and will have access to internship opportunities in order to strengthen their technical knowledge and advocacy skills whilst advancing the rights of LGBTI persons in South Africa.
Emilia Potenza and Roeland van der Geer signing the agreement between Iranti-org and the EU.
VIDEO. Disebo 'Gift' Makau a young lesbian from Ventersdorp, North West province of SA was raped and murdered because of her sexual orientation. Iranti-org along with FEW, and LGBTI groups in the town has advocated for justice to served. This story is about the love and loss families and loved ones experience. When hate and violence against lesbians are increasing and in a place where tensions between freedom, human rights, poverty, hate and human dignity is embedded in the challenges we face in South Africa.
VIDEO. Young Lesbian, Gay and Transgender learners face discrimination at South African schools. They further face discrimination at their homes, in public space, and all this affects how young learners relate to wellness, self-esteem and safety. Iranti-org is hosting a national campaign addressing how school uniforms are used by teachers to enforce gender roles of female and males.
Disebo Makau, a 24 year old lesbian woman was brutally murdered in Ventersdorp, North West province in August 2014. Pule Stoffel Botlhokwane will stand trail at the Klerksdorp High Court from 18-22 May 2015. Click here to read the press release and click here to listen to the podcast.
On 23 April 2015, the “THE PEOPLE'S MARCH” against xenophobia took place in the city centre of Johannesburg. The march started at Pieter Roos Park in Hillbrow, and proceeded through the Johannesburg central business district, ending at the Mary Fitzgerald Square off in Newtown.
Man in chains, photograph by Iranti-org
The march was organised and supported by human rights organisations, LGBTI organisations, refugee organisations, government officials, trade unions, educational institutions and many more. People were out in their numbers in solidarity with foreign nationals to say “NO TO XENOPHOBIA”.
The march was attended by everyone who cared to show their solidarity against the attacks that has gripped many cities in South Africa over the past few weeks.
LGBTI organisations were visible in this march. They sang struggle songs, and held high placards and banners with messages such as: “STOP homophobia, xenophobia and transphobia” and “We stand against all forms of violence and discrimination happening to all human beings”. The queer community’s visibility at the march strongly linked the intersections of xenophobia and homophobia and transphobia.
Marches, carrying the Iranti-org poster. Photograph by Iranti-org
The Gauteng Premier, David Makhura condemned the attacks and said, “We are going to defeat xenophobia, like we defeated apartheid,” and, “Xenophobia is not going to succeed in this country,” he said. During the Premier’s speech, people chanted and sang in isiZulu, “Iagenda ka King Zwelithini asiyifuni, yabulala umAfrica" which translates as, “We don’t want King Zwelithini’s agenda; it killed an African.”
Martin Janyure from Zimbambwe, shared his views about the recent spate of attacks: “I really appreciate this engagement from South African people, who understand where we come from. However, I can’t bring back the lives of my brothers and sisters who were brutally murdered for nothing. I am in pain but thank you to those who are supporting us.”
At Mary Fitzgerald Square, officials relayed messages of condolences. The crowd continued chanting and singing, “We are against xenophobia; No to xenophobia; We are all brothers and sisters.”
Reverend Ketso Mbande from the South African Council of Churches said that, “looting and killing won’t solve any of our problems in this country; the church of justice sees all human beings as an image of God, and therefore if you discriminate or kill people, you are abolishing God himself,” said Mbande.
LGBTIAQ community wants hate crimes legislation for all maginalised groups and they are demanding it now. That’s the only way hate crimes can be regulated and be recorgnised as motivation for these killings said Kokeletso Legoete, Media and Advocacy Coordinator at Iranti-org.
A follow up March has been planned in May.
Article written by Dikeledi Sibanda is a media fellow based at Iranti-org and is currently studying media studies at Boston Media House.
Every person that speaks of Kayla Glover, described her as generous in her ability to be kind to people, loving towards her friends and her community and openly out regarding her sexual orientation. Iranti-org worked with Rock of Hope the LGBTI human rights organisation in Swaziland in documenting and reporting on the murder of Kayla Glover. This senseless murder speaks of the silence on hate crimes in Swaziland, and how sexual orientation and gender identity is not taken into account when investigating murders. This invisibility was evident, and we hope that our documentation and reporting honors the life of Kayla as a lesbian, loved and remembered by her community. We bring visibility to those who are deceased and we honor their memory, their visibility and their resilience. Rest in Peace, Kayla. Click on the image below to go to the gallery.
Please join us on 28 March for the meeting and on this important day and make your voices heard. THEME FOR THE DAY: SCHOOL UNIFORM. Please wear any school uniform as we celebrate our youth with diversity. Download the full invitation.
By Jabu Pereira, South Africa, 20 March 2015 Kaylo Glover murdered in Swaziland
Kaylo Glover a young lesbian from Nhlangano, Swaziland, stepped into a bar with her friends on the early hours of Sunday morning. She was killed by an enraged man who did not want to be in the presence of lesbians. He left the bar, fetched an axe from his car, returned and killed Kaylo. Kaylo was rushed to hospital and her killers followed them to the hospital and chased her friends with axe. Kaylo’s friend ran as she heard one of the guys shout “let’s finish off these dogs”. Neither the nurses nor the doctors could reach Kaylo in time, she bled to death.
This is the second LGBTI murder in Nhlangano. Just a few months ago, a gay man known as Themba was murdered.
Kaylo was 26-years-old. She was born and raised in Nhlangano. Proudly out and in a seven-month relationship, Kaylo was popular in her community. On the night that Kaylo went out to the night club in her town, she felt safe. She had always navigated the streets and was known for her kindness, warmth, and swag. Harassment did happen in Nhlangano but Kaylo often just shrugged off. On the night of March 15, her perpetrator was not going to have any lesbians socialising around him. He picked a fight, argued with them and later went to car to fetch an axe to finish off his utter expression of hate and anger.
When Kaylo’s mom spoke to Iranti-org, she was heartbroken. “I always walk with Kaylo, the guys always say horrible things and I tell her to ignore them. They killed her because she was a lesbian. She has never harmed anyone, or fought with anyone.”
The blank stares, the silence, the mourning and the state of shock is evident in the household. “It’s like I am dreaming, I keep thinking Kaylo will wake up and walk through this door,” says Kaylo’s girlfriend.
Iranti-org learned that in the previous month a gay man was murdered in Nhlangano.
“We don’t know what to make of these murders it is so disturbing and scary. Swaziland comprises mainly of traditional family structures, with extended families marked by a set of strong traditions and norms. Speaking about being lesbian, gay or transgender is very difficult and is often suppressed.
It is the usual silence of we know you exist, just don’t make a noise about it,” says Sane Mshengu, the director of Rock of Hope.
Swaziland is one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies where human rights are far off the radar and where freedom of expression or a critique of the monarchy or the judiciary can mean a prison sentence. In 2014, the editor of The Nation, Bheki Makhubu and human-rights lawyer Thulani Maseko were sentenced to jail for criticising the judiciary and the monarch.
It seems Kaylo’s death has broken the silence around hate crimes in Swaziland. It is bringing attention to the poor human-rights situation in this country, where the monarch is so incredibly rich and its citizens are poor and where LGBTI persons live hidden, framed as “the other”.
Rock of Hope is a beacon of activism in Swaziland, with its limited resources and volunteers, it seems that more support and attention needs to be made to Swaziland.
Swaziland is up for review at the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review. Rock of Hope, Iranti-org and Gender Dynamix along with other human-rights organisations will submit a shadow report on the human-rights situation in Swaziland.
As Kaylo’s family gather to try and make sense of this unnecessary act of hate that took her away, they believe that her identity as a lesbian must be remembered.
On the 12 March 2012 LEGABIBO was denied the right to register as an NGO. According to the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration, Botswana does not recognise homosexuals and that the objectives of the organisations are contrary to section7(2) of the law.
On 14 November 2014 LEGABIBO won the case. The judge ruled that they had the right to be registered. According to Anneke Meerkotter from the Southern African Litigation Centre, "This judgement was a historical one that would help other similar cases in Africa."
This week from #Quorum: In this stirring tribute, activist and media strategist Jabu Pereira talks about the intersections of racial and gender oppression in #SouthAfrica, and urges us to remember those who have fallen. Stand with me -- watch and share via quorum.thedailybeast.com. #humanrights #LGBT #equality
TDOR Report - To commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) 2014, Iranti-org and Transgender Intersex Africa (TIA) hosted a Social Dialogue on Transgender Learners in South African schools on 20 November 2014 at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. Click here for the activity report.
The police have also been slack in the gathering vital evidence, leaving beind the victim’s clothes, her underwear and the blanket that wrapped her body at the scene of the crime. We call upon all civil society organisations to join Iranti-org on 4 February when another mass action will be organised. Download the full press statement.
A photogallery on the Critically Queer exhibition curated by Jabu Pereira from Iranti-org, and the colloquium on the crisis in Africa, curated by Dr Zethu Matebeni from Huma, UCT. Neo Musangi performed at the Jammie Stairs at UCT. Their performance is titled, Killing The Dead.
Neo Musangi writes on the chalk board ‘Galatians I Corinthians’ at the beginning of their performance Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Neo peels a carrot during their silent Performance at the Jammie stairs, UCT Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Inking of the bible as they demonstrates as part of the performance. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Audience watch attentively to Neo Musangi’s silent Performance. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Global Transgender Research Advocacy Program (GTRAP) team attended Jack Harrison-Quintana and Amelie Zurn-Galansky, moved by Neo’s performance. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Neo Musangi engages with the audience at the end of their performance. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Selogadi Mamphane during her Chromotherapy performance at the Old Zoo the Queer in Africa Exhibition, Huma UCT. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Overview performance titled, Chromatherapy. Selogadi Mampane at the opening of Critically Queer exhibition, Huma,UCT. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Neo Musangi shows emotions by tearing apart the bible in their performance. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Sandra Ntebi and Unoma Azuah at Chromotherapy Performance, Huma UCT Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Neo Musangi and Jabu C. Pereira, co-founders of Iranti-org shared their experiences on arts and activism in Africa at the symposium, hosted by Huma,UCT Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
The opening of the exhibition of Critically Queer & book launch of Reclaiming Afrikan at Centre for African Studies Gallery, Huma UCT. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Members of the music group Umlilo pose before their performance. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Back view of a music performance by Umlilo Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Lead singer of Umlilo during they music performance. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
The panellist at the symposium engaging about the crisis in Africa on sexuality and gender identity. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Dr Zethu Matebeni and one Prof Gloria Wekker from Utrecht University engaged in a dialogue with the audience. Prof. Wekker provided some closing remarks. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
Dr Zethu Matebeni, facilitating the symposium: Queer in Africa: Confronting the Crisis, Huma, UCT. Photo by Kelebogile Ntladi
18 February 2014, Johannesburg
“I am intersexed, born, like most of the people born with bodies which are such that intersexuality has a significant impact on their lives, with ambiguous genitalia...," said Sally Gross. Read more...
Zimbabwean Transgender Activist, Ricky Nathanson, is Acquitted
Zimbabwe, 5 February 2014
Ricky Nathanson is a self-identified transwoman, she is an energetic businesswoman and a fierce activist against all forms of injustice in Zimbabwe. In mid-January, while attending a meeting at a prominent hotel, a Zanu PF youth leader threatened Ricky and tried to extort money from her, claiming that he would have her arrested for “being somebody she is not.” Read more...
Ricky Nathanson (Board Member of Sexual Rights Centre) left, and Mojalifa Mokoele (Programme Manager at SRC) waiting for the case to be heard at the Bulawayo Magistrate Court.
On the 22-26 January the Global Interfaith Network was launched in South Africa. Over 70 delegates from across the world gathered to dialogue on the intersections of religion, sexuality and gender identities. The committee comprises an amazing team of leaders representing a diverse range of regions and identities.
Iranti-org was a partner to the conference and we would like to share a synopsis of this important gathering with you. Please feel free to tweet and share this link widely.
"Beyond the usual challenges that any organization might face in raising money, trans* and intersex groups are particularly left adrift by the fact that few funders understand the nuances of their work or include trans* or intersex people in their giving priorities." Read more...
Binyavanga Wainaina's brilliant 6 part YouTube documentary calling out the BS behind “African” homophobia.
21 January 2014. Binyavanga Wainaina’s wonderful essay in six witty, moving, thoughtful, hilarious, essential, truthful parts - “We Must Free Our Imaginations", or as he called it on Twitter: @AfricasaCountry and Website: Africasacountry last night, “What I Have to Say About Being Gay”. There are too many highlights to quote all of them here (like the bit about “the politician” who promises to dig a well but chooses to fight lesbianism instead, and yes, he gets to Nigeria’s new homophobic law). Add your favorites to the comments. Share it widely, share it well.
President Museveni will Reject "Fascist" Anti-Gay Bill; Plans to Introduce New Legislation
Kampala, Uganda. 18 January 2014
A delegation from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) met with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni today at State House in Entebbe, Uganda, to discuss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Uganda's parliament on December 20, 2013. Last month Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote to the President to express their concern over the bill, requesting further discussion on the matter.
The delegation--comprised of Ms. Kennedy, Santiago A. Canton, Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights, and Wade McMullen, Staff Attorney for the RFK Center--expressed their grave concern over the legislation that would further criminalize homosexual conduct, censor freedom of expression, and ban civil society organizations working on LGBTI issues in Uganda. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who joined the conversation via telephone, similarly expressed his concern, stating that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was reminiscent of oppressive laws passed under apartheid in South Africa.
President Museveni pledged to reject the bill as currently drafted, calling the legislation "fascist." The President stated that he will consult with his party and plans to introduce a new piece of legislation aimed at protecting minors from being coerced into sexual activity.
The RFK Center reiterated that the government should focus on enforcing the Ugandan Penal Code provisions that already outlaw both opposite-sex and same-sex sexual abuse of minors. Should new legislation be introduced along the lines of the President's suggestion, the RFK Center strongly advised that any bill should only focus on strengthening current child protection measures, may not discriminate against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and must fully respect the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.
"I welcome President Museveni's decision to reject this hateful bill," said Archbishop Tutu. "It is time for our African brothers and sisters to move past the antiquated notion that someone could be a criminal for who they love."
In a March 2013 meeting at the President's personal residence in Rwakitura, President Museveni promised the RFK Center that he would not sign any bill that discriminates against any individual.
"I am pleased that President Museveni has upheld his promise to reject any piece of discriminatory legislation," said Ms. Kennedy. "While we are concerned with plans to move forward with a new bill, we urge the President to ensure it will not discriminate against LGBTI people nor imperil the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the country."
Iranti-org honors the memory of LGBTI activists in South Africa, Africa and the World, who like Mandela stand up each day and fight against homophobia and transphobia. Long live the spirit and legacy of Nelson Mandela, Simon Nkoli, David Kato, Duduzile Zozo, Eudy Simelane, FannAnn Eddy, Thapelo Makhutle, Vuyisa ‘’Norizana’’Dayisi and many, many more...
We thank Bev Ditsie, Mrs Nkoli, Mrs Zozo, Emilia Potenza, Zethu Matebeni, Pregs Govender, Ayanda Magoloza and Nhlahlan Moremi, Pearl and Pride Kaygee Mashaba for sharing their honest reflections on the passing of Mandela and his lasting legacy on our lives.
Invitation to the Annual Core Group
International Human Rights Day Event
New York City, 10 December 2013
Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) at the United Nations headquarters in New York City next week. The theme, panel make-up, title of the event, and much else have been subject to the usual back-and-forth for these types of events. Feel free to voice your favorite shortcoming here--chances are we share your thoughts on many of them, whether you believe in the efficacy or usefulness of UN advocacy generally, this is an opportunity to celebrate the notion of universal rights, and to support our three colleagues on the panel: Tumi Mkhuma, Hida Viloria, and Anastasia Smirnova.
Others - NAVI PILLAY High Commissioner for Human Rights, MARTINA NAVRATILOVA Tennis Legend, JASON COLLINS NBA Basketball Player, ITUMELENG “TUMI” THANDEKA MKHUMA Human Rights Activist from South Africa, ANASTASIA SMIRNOVA Human Rights Activist from Russia, HIDA VILORIA Human Rights Activist from the USA
Malta, 1 December 2013
Between 29 November and 1 December 2013, the Third International Intersex Forum, supported by ILGA and ILGA-Europe, took place in Valletta, Malta. This event brought together 34 activists representing 30 intersex organisations from all continents. The statement starts with, "We affirm that intersex people are real, and we exist in all regions and all countries around the world. Thus, intersex people must be supported to be the drivers of social, political and legislative changes that concern them," and goes on to set some several demands. Download the statement to read the demands.
Zimbabwe, 4 December 2013
GALZ Chairperson, Martha Tholanah summoned to appear In the Rotten Row Magistrate Court for running an 'unregistered' organisation, says Tonderai Bhatasara, member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Read the official GALZ Alert.
Some of the attendees, Thabinky Maqhubela (CAL), Georgina Adhiambo (Nyawek), Leigh van der Merwe (S.H.E), Juliet Mphande (Friends of Rainka)
Sweden, 28 November 2013
In October 2013, an amazing group of LGBTI leaders from all over the globe were selected by RFSL Sweden. Jabu Pereira was one of the leaders selected for a three-week intensive course aimed at developing leaders that can effectively lead, fundraise and be a visionary for change. Each leader was recognised and awarded a certificate for completing the programme. The group developed a global solidarity statement. The Rainbow Leaders will re-unite in 2014 in Cape Town for the final session of the programme.
Light a candle for TDOR... join and support the international transgender community today in commemorating those who’ve lost their lives to ignorance and hate
Johannesburg, 20 November 2013
"This day brings to our attention that transphobia is evident in both public and private spaces, and that systemic transphobia and gender-motivated killings are on the increase. We call on all human rights groups, the government, and our communities to protect all persons against violent attacks based on their gender identities. We will continue to gather evidence that aims to report on these violations, and we will seek justice for the victims and survivors of transphobic attacks.” Jabu C. Pereira, Director of Iranti-org.
Compiled by Ayanda Msiza, documenting and media officer at Iranti-org.
The 15th remembrance and mourning
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an internationally recognised commemoration for the trans community which takes place on 20 November of each year. Today marks it’s 15th year, and today we remember and mourn the people we have lost through hate, intolerance and violence. TDOR is not a single event in a single location, but an event commemorated the world over – it is an event created to recognise and draw attention to the growing problem of violence and abuse towards trans people.
Transgender Europe initiated a Trans Murder monitoring project in January 2008. In the last 12 months, 238 killings of trans people we reported. Since 2008 the murders of 1,374 trans people have been documented, a number not entirely representative since many cases go unreported or unrecognised as transphobic motivated attacks.
Transphobia must stop, and trans people must be allowed to live their lives as human beings. Many people will have contact with trans people throughout the course of their lives without realising it. Sadly, people cling to outdated stereotypes of what it is, or means, to be trans.
Iranti-org for the very first time is taking the initiative to work together with TDOR working groups to mourn and raise awareness of hate crimes against trans people. We are questioning our government to say: How many more people should die before they do something about these brutal killings of our brothers and sisters? For how long must we live in fear?
We urge everyone to light a candle on this day, set aside one minute of your precious time and remember those who have been laid to rest.
We have a page dedicated to the Transgender Day of Remebrance 2013, click the More link below.
ARC International, a partner of Iranti-org, is an important organisation in the area of LGBTI documentation and lobbying at the UN level. ARC International's directors, Kim Vance and John Fisher, visited the Iranti-org team at their offices to view a presentation on human rights documentation and the SOGI Resolution (Sexual Orientation Gender Identity). Read more...
Critically Queer challenged and explored, through visual arts and documentary forms, ways in which sexuality and gender don't conform to traditional norms, and the abuse faced by those non-conforming. The exhibition formsed a part of a larger festival at the University of Johannesburg called, THATSOGAY.
Mafikeng Pride took place on 14 September 2013 at the North West University. Mafikeng was a former homeland under apartheid, and has broken the shackles of oppression by organising LGBTIQ students on the campus and in the surrounding community. Kokeletso Legoete and Tumi Mkhuma from Iranti-org attended the festivities. Iranti-org is committed to building social movements and LGBTIQ visibility especially in rural communities.
Documentation by Kokeletso Legoete and Tumi Mkhuma from Iranti-org.
Navi Pillay - Highlights from First-Ever Ministerial Meeting on LGBT Rights at the UN
United Nations, 26 September 2013
Leaders from the UN's core group of countries working to end violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people met in New York for the first-ever ministerial meeting at the UN on LGBT rights. Here, Free & Equal -- the unprecedented UN public information campaign for LGBT equality -- captures strong statements by several attendees.
Jack "Judith" Halberstam "No Church in the Wild: Anarchy and Gaga Feminism" at
Cape Town, 19 August 2013
Prof Jack Halberstam was a guest at HUMA and the English Dept at UCT. Jack presented on 19th August, their work focused on the published works on Gaga Feminism, Female Masculinity and The Art of Failure.
“Critically Queer” celebrates sexuality, gender identity in Africa
Johannesburg, 10-17 September 2013
“CRITICALLY QUEER” is an exhibition coordinated by Iranti-org, a Lesbian, Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming human rights and visual media organization. This exhibition challenges and explores through visual arts and documentary forms, ways in which sexuality and gender don't conform to traditional norms, and the abuse faced by those non-conforming. This exhibition forms part of a larger festival at the University of Johannesburg called, THATSOGAY. Read more...
Civil Society Stand United Against Hate Speech In Malawi
22 January 2016. By Iranti-org, Blantyre
The decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions of Malawi to issue a discontinuance against the matter in which Msonda was charged for his Kill the Gays statement was of great concern to key leaders of civil society.
Welcome to the warm heart of Africa billboard with the face of honourable Peter Mutharika, president of Malawi. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Civil society leaders from the religious sector, youth and human rights sector met in Blantyre to collective decide that a judicial review is required to decided on the Director of Public Prosecutions decision. There remains a collective action by civil society to stop all forms of hate speech towards all vulnerable groups such as women, youth and the LGBTI community of Malawi.
Neighbourhood of Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city.
Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Organisations such as MANARELA, the Pentecostal Revive Church, YOCRIS, CEDEP and CHRR agreed to continue working on the Msonda case as a collective. Iranti-org agreed to support the advocacy initiative, by documenting and reporting on the LGBTI human rights situation in Malawi.
Left to right; Gift Trapence with Dunker Kamba from Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP). Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Left to right; Gift Trapence Director at CEDEP together with Timothy Mtambo Director at CHRR. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Bishop Joshua Jere, speaking against Kill The Gays Statement. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Bright Kampaunai, Youth and Children Rights Shield (YOCRIS). Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Left to right: MacDonald Sembereka, Bright Kampaunai, Gift Trapence, Jabulani Pereira, Timothy Mtambo and Bishop Johua Jere. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza
Iranti-Org, together with other interested NGOs such as Gender
Dynamix and GATE have been embarking on advocacy work around
increasing African engagement with the ICD revision process,
specifically in relation to Gender Incongruence in Adulthood and
Adolescence as well as Childhood.
From discussions that have taken place since the inception of our work
in this field, there have emerged several concerns around the approach
taken in the South African field testing process specifically. This
has culminated in the attached letter of concern co-authored and
co-signed by several individuals who were involved in the field
testing process (indicated by an asterisk), as well as those currently
invested in it.
Together with other organisations, Iranti-org looks forward to
meaningfully engaging with the WHO in addressing some of these
concerns in the run up to 2018 and exploring alternative options where
possible with regards to field testing in South Africa.
Anastacia Tomson is a medical doctor, activist and author. She has a history of working in primary healthcare, with a special interest in transgender health.
Her autobiography, detailing her own experiences and challenges seen through the lens of transition, is set for release in early 2016. Anastacia is a vocal feminist and advocate for social justice, with a passion for promoting awareness, education and understanding of trans issues.
Kristian Ranđelović, born in 1973 and based in Belgrade, Serbia. He is MA Editor for TV and film and psychodrama trainee.
As an activist, he served as a board member of ILGA Europe board from 2010-2012.
He is also board member of ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey, TGEU-Transgender Europe and OII Europe-Organisation Intersex International Europe.
In 2006 he started working with Gayten-LGBT, Center for LGBT Human Rights, where he has been systematically developing programs for trans individuals, including the first trans support group in the Balkans. He has also contributed to creation of trans programs in ex Yu region and he participated in the creation of the first trans site in ex Yugoslavia region (www.transserbia.org). His main areas of work are capacity building for trans individuals/organisations and psychological counseling for LGBT individuals.
Throughout this working period he has appeared in various media sharing his experiences and issues faced by trans persons.
Blantyre, Malawi, 21 January 2016
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of Malawi has urgently issued a notice of discontinuance in the case of The Republic and Kenneth Msonda. The DPP has used its legal powers to stop Kenneth Msonda from appearing in court for his Kill the Gays statements.
On January 2, Msonda posted the following comments on his facebook page “Government should come up clear on the issue of Gays and Lesbians. They are worse than dogs, sons and daughters of the evil one – Arresting them won’t address this problem because sooner or later they are being released on bail. The best way to deal with this problem is to KILL them!” Msonda at an interview with radio Joy reiterated these comments stating, “by releasing these people, it means Malawi is a lawless country. These people have no rights. The best way is to kill them.”
Msonda was charged by the Malawi Law Society, CEDEP and CHRR for breaking the law and for inciting hatred and violence. The court found sufficient reasons for Msonda to be appear and defend his claims. Msonda’s legal argument and affidavit sent to the court quotes biblical verses on why homosexuality should not be condoned and he argues that he has a right to freedom of expression and opinion.
Gift Trapence, Director of CEDEP. Photo by Ayanda Msiza
CEDEP Director, Gift Trapence and CHRR Director, Timothy Mtambo, both arrived in Blantyre to face Msonda in court. Their legal representative Soko was called this afternoon by the DPP’s office stating that they will stop this case from proceeding by issuing a notice of discontinuance. The constitution and the criminal procedure and evidence code gives the DPP powers to discontinue a matter. The reactions by both Directors are ones of shock and disbelief that the government would protect a politician from being legally accountable for inciting hatred and violence. “Msonda committed a criminal act and he should be held accountable for violating the laws of Malawi. The government’s action in stopping this case sends a wrong message to the nation. They are saying killing Gay people is fine. Interference such as this is dangerous in any democratic society. How then is the right to life guaranteed, if the incitement and promotion murder is protected by the state?” asks Trapence.
Hate speech cases are not new to the Malawi courts. In 2008, political leader Gwanda Chakwamba called on the public to attack the Lomwe people. The late President Bingu wa Mutharika is Lomwe. Chakwamba was arrested and appeared before the court. In addition the government has used laws to charge and arrest Journalists who criticize the President. The late Ralph Tenthani was charged for calling the President “a Big Kahuna.”
Creating a progressive nation? Photo by: Jabulani Pereira
Since the utterances of Msonda, a new movement called Youth with Vision placed an advert in several print newspapers calling on the public to support
Msonda’s legal case. They called upon the public to join Msonda at the court and to show their support against homosexuality and same-‐sex marriage. The newspapers published the banking details of the fund that is set up to support Msonda. “We want the Malawi Human Rights Commission to investigate as this contravenes the law of the country. Can a fund be set up to support someone who has called on others to kill gay people? Is a bank allowed to open such an account?” asks Trapence. Mtambo the Director of CHRR says, “killing of human beings has no basis in any society. There is no justification for what the DPP has done and we will not stop here. We have an obligation to ensure that all Malawians live in a free and safe society.”
YOCRIS, CAYO and FND are youth movements in Malawi. They have joined CEDEP and CHRR in the legal fight against Msonda. They will collectively discuss the next steps in reviewing the DPP’s decision and ensuring that Msonda is held accountable.
Jabulani Pereira is the Director of Iranti-‐org, a regional Transgender and Lesbian documentation and reporting organization. Iranti-‐org is based in Johannesburg.
by Vikar Singh, National Officer for Sexual and Reproductive Health including HIV/AIDS (NORA)
South Africa, 7 December 2015
5 December 2015 marked Africa’s first-ever Transgender Visibility Day. The initiative aims to fight Transphobia in all its forms and demands that transgender persons across Africa are protected against violence, economic oppression and should enjoy full human rights - including the right to healthcare and full legal protection.
The Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Health including HIV/AIDS (SCORA) has 5 main focus areas, which includes Sexuality and gender identity by committing to end stigma and discrimination in access to healthcare of LGBT+ individuals.
I recently caught up with Dr. Anastacia Tomson at the 7th African Population Conference in Pretoria, South Africa. She is a medical doctor, author, activist and a transgender woman.
Read more on the SAMSA website. South African Medical Students Association (SAMSA) is a national nonprofit organization of medical students from various medical schools working on a voluntary basis to create positive change in medicine.
I never wanted to become an activist, all I ever wanted was to reach out and support people that had similar experiences as mine, people that felt isolated and needed someone who understood what they were going through. This led me to joining NGOs that claimed to support intersex people, I don’t remember many intersex people being supported but in the end I was caught up with policy meetings, legislation consultations, movement politics and eventually we all forgot about the people we were trying to serve. I had to leave and here I am constantly dealing with the guilt of “leaving the movement”. Read more...
Malume is Xolile Mabuza's preferred name. He is his chosen gender pronoun. A proud Transgender rights activist and an overall human rights activist sadly passed away on the 13th September 2015. He was the founder and director of Rock of Hope and LGBTI human rights organisation in Swaziland. Iranti-org produced this tribute along with friends of Malume. there were just so many tributes we not able to add them all, but we hope this tribute honors his memory and the love he had for each of us. RIP Malume, you are sorely missed.
Iranti-org, Gender Dynamix, SIPD and GATE will host a workshop on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), in Johannesburg from 26-30 September 2015. This training is an integral part of our work to amplify African voices around revising ICD 10.
South Africa, 10 September 2015
The ICD is the international diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes. Maintained by the World Health Organization (WHO), the health care classification system provides diagnostic codes for categorising diseases, including symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or disease. The ICD is revised periodically and is currently in its tenth version. ICD-10, as it is known was developed in 1992, and ICD-11 is planned for 2017. Currently transgender and intersex identities are pathologised in ICD 10.
During the convening, activists from different parts of Africa will have the opportunity to:
Increase their knowledge about ICD 10 and learn about the revision process
Improve their understanding of current global advocacy goals
Gain an understanding of human rights considerations around access to healthcare
Develop a strategy for operationalising the African ICD advocacy campaign
This workshop is part of a boarder effort to ensure African voices are heard and there are on-going processes to build the capacity of African activists around the ICD process.
somewhere in Manzini and Mbabane the sun rises. without you.kuthwe us’Ezwilini.
birds continue to chirp in Nairobi’s arboretum. this morning the
construction workers cat-called me. maybe my face hasn’t registered
grief. who cares that i am in mourning?
(but who am i to mourn you?)
did the stars hide in mourning last night?
did your neighbor’s dog stop barking?
did the rooster not crow this morning?
did the tellers at Shoprite close/ this morning?
shall your being be respected on the day they bury you?
lovers kiss each other in the dark. forbidden. mouths that never
uttered your name.
malume; you who suffered from— and died of – death.
On 30 Aug 2015, nine walk/runners completed the 10km Mandela Day Marathon #MDM2015 race in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. They crossed the finish line at the Mandela Monument well within the two hour cut-off time. Join us as we continue to raise funds for Iranti-Org, a visual media NGO that advances the rights of transgender and lesbian individuals and organizations in Africa.
Register for another race and get people to make a donation to Iranti-Org. Email us your confirmed registration and we send you a #RunForIranti T-shirt. Like our Facebook page to receive updates, training tips and funds raised, and post news and photos of your group. For more info contact Monique Salomon at Korumo - firstname.lastname@example.org, +27 83 301 2936 or Gugu Mandla at Iranti-org – email@example.com , +27 74 6489371
You can make donations via PayPal on Iranti-org's home page using the reference: Run+Full name of runner/walker
Electronic Funds Transfer
Bank: First National Bank
Current account: 62417019602
Branch code: 253305
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ
Please email us proof of payment so we can track your donation.
Korumo Run/Walk for Change
Korumo is a coaching practice that exists to inspire people and organizations to live the life they long for. Korumo Run/Walk for Change is our fundraising arm to leverage resources for a just cause while promoting a healthy lifestyle. We haven chosen Iranti-org as our just cause for 2015. Through photography, audio, and film, Iranti-Org gives voice to people who, due to their gender identity and sexual orientation, are marginalized and prosecuted in countries across the African continent. In this video Jabu Chen Pereira, executive director of Iranti-org, tells why their work is worth your support. We want to raise ZAR 50 000 (US$ 4 000). All funds raised go directly to Iranti-org.
In her forthcoming solo exhibition, TESTIMONY, the first in South Africa and on the continent, Adejoke Tugbiyele speaks to her personal experience and the lived and imagined experiences of all Nigerians, regardless of gender and sexual orientation. She takes as her motivation the fact that many Nigerians and other Africans cannot survive each day without dreaming of being elsewhere – somewhere far away. A percentage of proceeds from the exhibition TESTIMONY will go towards supporting the educational mission of Iranti-Org. Read more...
National Women’s Day is a public holiday every year on 9 August. The day commemorates the 1956 march of over 20,000 women to the Union Building in Pretoria, in protest against the “Pass laws” that required women to carry passbooks at all times, restricting their movement and being subjected to police violence and intimidation if found without it.
Since 1994, August has been known as Women’s Month highlighting the ongoin plight women face today in South Africa. We asked a diverse group of women what 9 August means to them. Here are their voices:
Natasha Francis Feminist Activist
“I personally do not celebrate it as I feel that a month dedicated to the plight of women and their successes in fighting patriarchy, is condescending to their lived realities.” The single mum raising kids while living with an abusive husband and the young lesbian, who stands her ground against discrimination daily, deserve more than a month to be recognised. Their struggle for equality, dignity and the right to life happens every day of the year.
“I think an important question that one must ask when talking about Women’s day/month is: What is the actual impact of the day? And how is this impact realised every day of the year?”
Gugu Mandla Photographer at Iranti-org
“As a young, black professional woman, I have always had to prove to people that women can also be good photographers and can succeed. Women’s Day is a time for celebration for all women and a time for young girls to take pride in whom they are and who they want to become.
“We are also claiming back women’s power in this male dominated world.” We should celebrate Women’s month by taking charge of the opportunities we have available to us and become future leaders of our communities and South Africa.”
Matshidiso Mofokeng Spokesperson for Tisa Tshereletso
“I don’t celebrate Women’s month, it is not relevant anymore. I don’t see any cause to celebrate because of the vulnerability and the increase of violence happening to women.
"Women are still facing issues such as hate crimes, secondary victimisation from government service providers and the justice system continues to fail us.
“Our institutions are operating in an oppressive and patriarchal way towards women.” Women’s month should be an everyday thing whereby we are addressing issues to improve lives of all women."
Prudence Sedumedi Coordinator of the Gay Umbrella Potchefstroom
“Women’s day for me means that, women should be free to celebrate who they are and stand up for their rights and against violence and abuse of any form.” I celebrate women’s month because I can relate to issues that affect us as women.”
Akhona Ntsaluba HIV/AIDS Activist
“It is sad that though we know why we should be celebrating this day, I have lost interest or should I say, I have lost the meaning, especially when looking at women’s struggles today as well as mine. We are supposed to be celebrating, in light of the sacrifices that women have fought for change and our freedom, yet today we still have to struggle. Women suffer rejection, rape, murder and hate. It is worse for lesbians, bisexual or transgender women. Even though the constitution is supposed to be protecting these women, we still experience atrocities in our communities and the society at large, even in churches! What is there to celebrate when I cannot rejoice and exercise my rights fully?"
Nandi Msizane Human Rights Defender
“Women’s Month is a time to remember that South Africa’s liberation is not owed to the men whose name’s we often see in the narrative given to the world. Sadly, it has no longer the story of those women’s valour but just now another day off work for the majority of South Africans. We need to get to a point where we teach and share with young women about feminism and what coming together to stand for a cause.”
Kokeletso Legaote Gender Coordinator at ESSET
“Women’s month means to me same as any other historic dates, that which their importance have gone all in vain. This includes lesbian women, transgender and queer women. However, when we talk about women’s issues we only speak of heterosexual women. I do not celebrate this day. I am seen as a woman trying to be a man by my community, so the day does not have much significance for me. If South Africa is going to speak about women, yet being selective and exclusive, what’s the use of me celebrating such? Maybe by the time all women are included in women’s programmes, then I will see the significance of the month, and also, if we are going to celebrate women. Lets do it always, everyday.
"Contesting views regarding womens’ day has created the need for one to interrogate what the symbolism of this day actually is a need for all women. Most women feel that it’s a day of empowerment, a symbol of women rising above their circumstances whereas others feel it disempowers’ women and further reinforces the second-class status of women in South Africa. Ultimately the opinions of women about the day do not detract from the overall acknowledgment of the day - Women’s Day."
South Africa, 22 July 2015
The trial of Thembelihle Sokhela, a lesbian woman from Daveyton, finally goes to the Pretoria High Court. The case of Thembelihle’s murder will commence at the Pretoria High Court from Monday 27 to Friday 31 July. Thembelihle Sokhela, a 28-year old lesbian woman from Daveyton was murdered on 14 September 2014. She was found wrapped in a blanket and thrown behind her perpetrator’s bed. Read more...
Iranti-org started in 2012 with one camera and a big vision. To date we have reported on over 40 stories and are on the road to becoming a truly African Lesbian and Trans* organisation that combines documentation, reporting and direct action.
South Africa, 21 July 2015
Over the past three years, we have given opportunities to countless activists in South Africa and on the African continent to do media documentation.
Johannesburg, 25 May 2015
Iranti-org becomes the first African organisation to become an official member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). WPATH is an organisation devoted to the understanding and treatment of gender dysphoria and is most known for its periodic publication of the Standards of Care (SOC) for the health of trans* people. Read the full press statement…
South Africa, 21 May 2014
On Wednesday 20 May 2015, at the Potchesfstoom High Court, North West Province, Judge Kruger sentenced Pule Stoffel Botlhokwane two life terms and fifteen years for robbery. He was charged for: (i) Murder, (ii) Rape, and (iii) Robbery Click here to read the full press release.
Iranti-org is one of three organisations in South Africa to receive funding from the European Delegation in South Africa. ZwaKala, meaning speak out/rise up is a three-year programme that seeks to strengthen the capacities of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to document and report on human rights’ violations towards LGTBI persons in three provinces.
The recent revelations by Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s star Bruce Jenner that he has decided to become a woman has created a spotlight on gender identity across the world. Gender DynamiX was interviewed on Expresso SABC
Leigh Ann van der Merwe is the Director of the Social Health Empowerment forum better know as SHE. Transgender awareness became an interest for the South African media when Bruce Jenner in the US came out. Leigh Ann is interviewed on this and speaks about the struggles we face in South Africa as trans* person. This is a podcast from that interview. Listen to the interview on Sound Cloud.
The Iranti-org media team will be heading to Ventersdorp this week to monitor and lobby the judicial system on the case of Disebo Gift Makau. Disebo Gift Makau, a 24 year-old lesbian was found half naked and strangled on 15 August 2014. She had a wire around her neck with an open hosepipe pushed down her throat. Her case is another example of a hate crime, which the Rapid Response Team, has failed to attend to. Iranti-org and the LGBTI community from the North West Province (Gay and Lesbians of Rustenburg, Gay Umbrella from Mafikeng, groups from Ventersdorp, Klerksdorp and Potchestroom) have organised a mass action outside the Ventersdorp Magistrate Court from 9am on Thursday 29 January 2015.
Jabu Pereira, Director of Iranti-org and Board Member of Pan Africa ILGA (PAI) will be attending the first PAI Strategic Planning Session in downtown Johannesburg. Board members come from different African countries (Botswana, Kenya, Egypt, Uganda, Nigeria etc.) as well as the ILGA World Director from the Secretariat in Geneva.
Iranti-org will be represented at the launch of the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act, No. 49 of 2003 Briefing Paper, jointly written by Gender DynamiX and the Legal Resources Centre. This event will take place on 29 January at the Double Tree Hotel in Woodstock, Cape Town.
Over 80 candidates have applied for post of Programme Manager at Iranti-org. Shortlisting will commence this week.
Johannesburg, 12 January 2015
On Tuesday 13 January 2015 at 09h00, Thembelihle Sokhela’s case returns to the Benoni Magistrate’s Court, after being postponed on at least five occasions. The court is located at 29 Harpur Avenue, Benoni.
Thembelihle, a 28-year old lesbian woman from Daveyton was murdered on 14 September 2014. She was found wrapped in a blanket and thrown behind her perpetrator’s bed. Download the full press statement.
As the country formally returns back to work, the team at Iranti-org has been working hard to receive a visit from Witness.org. Bukeni Waruzi is the Senior Program Manager for Africa and the Middle East and will be visiting community groups and holding meetings with various LGBTI groups. The purpose of his visit is to collaborate with Iranti-org and partners on strengthening the use of video in strategic documentation and advocacy.
British musician, Peter Gabriel founded Witness in 1992. It is an international human rights organization that uses video to expose human rights abuses around the world and to advocate for change. To date, Witness has provided 10,000 activists and over 200 human rights organizations across the world with strategic tools and resources, building skills to use video.
On Tuesday 13 January, Bukeni will join the Iranti-org media and documentation team to the Benoni High Court to hear the case of Thembelihle ‘Lihle’ Sokhela (see press release), a 28 year old lesbian from Daveyton, killed in September 2014. Iranti-org and CBOs from various locations in Johannesburg have planned a mass action outside the court, demanding a fair and speedy trial of this hate crime. After this, Bukeni will have the opportunity to visit some of the lesbian groups in Daveyton and the Vaal.
On Wednesday 14 January, the team will travel to Potchestroom to meet with LGBTI groups in North West province. Here, he will hear more about the case of Disebo ‘Gift’ Makau, a black lesbian who was gruesomely murdered in Ventersdorp in August 2014. At the meeting, Iranti-org will facilitate a discussion on the advocacy for this case, scheduled for 29 January 2015 at the Potchestroom High Court.
On Thursday and Friday, Bukeni will host an assessment meeting with representatives from the various organisations. This will also be a planning process for the 10-day training course, scheduled at a future date in 2015.
23 December 2014
Over the past months and in some cases years I have engaged with some of you regarding my transition, all my fears, my concerns related to my feminism and conflicted, and never wanting to be embodied in any particular binary of being male or female, I still hold true to this.
I thought I should put out what’s foremost in my mind and in someway, do what I know best, that is to document stories and to join my story along with many, in what Ann Cvetkovich calls the Archive of Feelings. In my recent talk at the Quorum platform, I spoke of the trauma of the absence of histories that link our pasts and our present.
I hope that my construction of a FAQ narrative is more a constructed conversation with myself but also the many questions I have been asked over the past months and years. I only hope FAQ is not construed as a factual listing but rather a probing set of questions and answers I am engaging in.
I am also very aware that I have friends who walked this journey with me, for a long time and are as ahead as I am, and there are others who are only engaging with my transition in this present moment, either way, I ask you to be patient with me and I will similarly be patient with you as you become part of my gender identity and gender expression. I am aware that there are some who clearly won’t accept transgender persons, I am sorry that you will exit my life at this stage, feel free to engage and to express your feelings in this safe space.
New York, 4 December 2014
"Quorum: Global LGBT Voices" at the New York Public Library, featuring talks and panels highlighting the struggles and triumphs of LGBT people worldwide.
The Daily Beast, in collaboration with nine leading international human rights organisations, will host an unprecedented gathering of leading LGBT activists from around the world.
The event, entitled "Quorum: Global LGBT Voices," will take place at the New York Public Library on Wednesday, December 10, designated Human Rights Day by the United Nations. Download the full press statement.
Recently, Fray Intermedia and Iranti-org partnered in the first-ever training between community radio and print journalists and LGBTI activists looking at developing reporting guidelines for journalists.
This workshop was held in Johannesburg, and it was evident that journalists lacked the correct language and context related to violations experiences by Lesbians, Gay men and Transgender persons. Intersex was also tackled and it was agreed that journalists require tools on SOGI language and a deeper understanding of the issues.
The workshop developed a poster that has been distributed to all media houses, we aim to create more awareness among journalists. We believe that journalists have a responsibility to report responsibly and accurately on LGBTI concerns.
Harare, 7 November 2014
GALZ condemns the brutal attack of Journalist Itai Dzamara and nine other
demonstrators following their Occupy Africa Unity Square demonstration in
Harare on Thursday and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights projects lawyer Kennedy Masiye who was also severely assaulted by police officers at Africa Unity Square while representing the protestors. It is deplorable that Zimbabwe continues on this path of routinely beating protestors.
SATURDAY 8 Nov, Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA) to host an event at Con-Hill, Johannesburg to raise awareness about intersex issues - Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM), unnecessary hormonal treatment and many others.
For more information contact:
Admin and Communications Officer
Transgender and Intersex Africa
Statement on the position of Johannesburg People's Pride (JPP)
South Africa, 7 November 2014
All decisions are made by full consensus, all ideas are debated and discussed with equal measure, all our short-falls are exposed, accounted for, and ways forward that are responsive to these are proposed and decided on by all of us who form the collective and who are committed to making the space work. In the last year we have struggled with capacity and have therefore fallen short as your committee to these ideals. Read the full press statement...
LEGABIBO repetitioning the Botswana courts 14 October
Botswana, 9 October 2014
The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana, LEGABIBO are back in court on 14 October 2014, to petition the court for registration based on the fundamental rights enshrined in the Consititution of Botswana. Please attend, and find out more...
Transwoman goes on hunger strike as Home Affairs fails her
South Africa, 9 October 2014
Nadia Swanepoel started trying to change her gender and name according to the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act 49 of 2003 (Act 49) three years ago. Because of the endemic discrimination inherent within the administrative process at Home Affairs; Nadia has not received a new identity document reflecting her new name and gender identity. Home Affairs has lost her application documents several times which has required her to reapply for the same process.
Read the press statement by Gender DynamiX. Read the full press statement
Today, 26 August 2014, SA along with 24 other states voted in favour of the resolution. The resolution calls on the UN High Commissoner on Human Rights to update the report on violence based on SOGI and to report on good practice.
Mr President, on behalf of the Republic of South Africa, by H.E. Abdul Samad Minty, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations and other International Organisations at Geneva...I thank you.
Top UN human rights body condemns violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
Geneva, 26 September 2014
The United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on combatting violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (L.27/Rev.1), adopted today, Is a critically important achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 25 human rights groups said today. The resolution follows a resolution adopted three years ago in June 2011, when the Council passed the first ever UN resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
As we celebrate Heritage Day in South Africa, we call on the South African government to vote YES at the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council on the SOGI Resolution. Violence and hatred towards LGBTI persons across the world is growing and this leads to many reports and unreported deaths. Often these attacks are carried out with impunity by political leaders, the police and civilians.
Voting YES for this resolution will assist the UN Human Rights Commissoner to report on violence on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The resolution also calls upon the High Commissioner to report on good practice. Why would SA vote against reporting, when violence is such a major priority within SA? Why would SA be afraid of reporting on good practice when it is working towards, creating national human rights approaches towards violence and LGBTI rights. SA must remain a leading example on human rights and hold its mandate within this space.
Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to update the Report A/HRC/19/41 with a view to share existing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination, to present it at the twenty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council, and to report thereon to the Council every two years. Read the full request.
SOGI resolution at UN HRC 27
Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to share existing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination.
South Africa, 16 August 2014 BREAKING NEWS: Lesbian is brutally killed in Ventersdorp. The perpetrator has been arrested. "Continued silence from the State about hate crimes has to stop. The Hate Crimes Task Team needs to upscale its work." says Jabu Pereira, Iranti-org.
Read the entire press release.
The Declaration addresses WHO ICD-11 proposals for a pathologising diagnosis for gender diversity in childhood, and calls upon WHO to discard the current Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood diagnosis and refrain from replacing it with any new pathologising diagnosis, including the proposed Gender Incongruence of Childhood (GIC) diagnosis. The Cape Town Declaration, developed during and in the period immediately after the recent Trans* Health, Advocacy & Research Conference (30 May – 2 June 2014, Cape Town, South Africa).
Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa’s statements as reported in the Sunday Mail,
30 March 2014 perpetuate hate and wrong perceptions about LGBTI people. Manipulating the authority of the church tofight political battles is the most blatant sin and that he prays for a day when the question of one’s sexuality will become irrelevant and discrimination against lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people will be relegated to the same heap containing slavery, racism (including anti-Semitism), sexism and discrimination against socially marginalized groups and people. Read the complete press statement about Makandiwa's remarks by Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ).
LEGABIBO members designing placards in preparation for the court case.
Photo by Gugu Mandla
Botswana. The LEGABIBO organization demands to be registered as an association group and not a group that promotes homosexuality or same-sex relationships. On 12 March 2012, their registration application was rejected by the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration of Botswana. Read more...
New York City, 19 March 2014
19 March 2014, 14:30-16:00, Boss Room, Church Centre United Nations #CCUN, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York City
Sponsors: American Jewish World Service, Urgent Action Fund, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Mama Cash, Open Society Foundations and Red Umbrella Fund. Download invite to Sex Work is Work event at United Nations Plaza.
The Gay and Lesbian Network is hosting a hate crimes exhibition which is taking place from 7 February - 7 March 2014 at the KwaZulu Natal Museum, 237 Jabu Ndlovu Street, Pietermaritzburg. The purpose of the exhibition is to provide a space to educate and create awareness about hate crimes. The exhibition would also encourage individuals and communities to take the initiative to report such incidents should they experience or witness it.
The exhibition comprises panels of personal stories and testimonies, photographs, campaign posters, videos, fact sheets and a hate crime resource booklet. There will also be a number of events which would be part of the exhibition and includes:
Hate crime against lesbians: Reclaiming the L-Word
Dr Alleyn Diesel editor of Reclaiming the L-Word
Dr Heidi van Rooyen
Kokeletso Legoete - Media and Advocacy Coordinator from Iranti-org
Poetry by Londeka Ngubane Date: 27 February @ 10am Venue: KZN Museum, Pringle Hall, 237 Jabu Ndlovu Street, Pietermaritzburg
Interfaith discussion of religion and sexuality, from a Muslim and Christian perspective. Guests include:
Imam Mushin Henricks from The Inner Circle, Cape Town
Professor Gerald West from University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Date: 3 March @ 10am Venue: KZN Museum, Ingede Hall, 237 Jabu Ndlovu Street, Pietermaritzburg
Dr Kapya Kaoma writes about the Anti-Homosexuality Law (previously known as “Kill the Gays” bill), that the version passed in December had eliminated the death penalty but maintained a punishment of life imprisonment for “aggravated” homosexuality—namely, having sex with a person who is under 18 years old or disabled, or instances in which the “offender” is HIV positive. The penalty also holds for “serial offenders”— people who have been previously convicted for the crime of homosexuality. Kaoma goes on to highlight the issues and suggest that Museveni is hedging and trying to please too many people. Read more...
Binyavanga Wainaina, Kenyan author, journalist and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. His first book was a response to anti-gay laws passed in Africa. He has been given the Young Global Leader award, that is given to people who have the potential to contributing to changing the world. He has written for many publications around the world, lectured and indulged his love of food collecting 13 000 recipes and becoming an expert on African cuisine. Read more about Wainaina.
Binyavanga Wainaina writes about the mistakes everyone makes when writing about Africa. Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’, ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’, ‘Big’, ‘Sky’, ‘Shadow’, ‘Drum’, ‘Sun’ or ‘Bygone’. Also useful are words such as ‘Guerrillas’, ‘Timeless’, ‘Primordial’ and ‘Tribal’. Note that ‘People’ means Africans who are not black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans. Read more...
Binyavanga Wainaina writes about coming out to his mother. 'Nobody, nobody, ever in my life has heard this. Never, mum. I did not trust you, mum. And. I. Pulled air hard and balled it down into my navel, and let it out slow and firm, clean and without bumps out of my mouth, loud and clear over a shoulder, into her ear.
"We would like to first of all thank the Ministry of Social Justice Empowerment for taking up the issue of trans people in the country. We would also like to appreciate the steps taken by the ministry to address the concerns of our trans communities." Read more...
"We condemn the arrest of Ricky Nathanson, a transgender person, who remained in police custody for two days. The premise of the arrest was that Ricky had used the ‘Ladies’ toilet. Can it possibly be justified to arrest someone for such a reason under the new Constitution when no offence exists and when no harm occurred?" Read more...
“I urge our leaders to draw from the lessons of the past, but also to heed current realities. And to look ahead to what the future is calling forth – because this new development agenda will affect the lives of millions of our people at a very critical time for Africa.
I encourage leaders to take a strong stand for fundamental human rights, and advance the trajectory for basic freedoms.
This means pushing for three priorities that lie at the heart of sustainable development: the empowerment of women and gender equality; the rights and empowerment of adolescents and youth; and the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all people."
“Even before this Act was signed into law, consensual same sex relationships were already criminalized in Nigeria – violating rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination, both of which are protected by the Nigerian Constitution, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria has ratified,” the High Commissioner said.
International community response guidelines
"Faced with this sudden turn of events, we are aware that there are many suggestions and plans as to what to do and in what way to respond on the part of our international partners and allies. The following are therefore substantiveguideline points for international response on the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill."
Disebo Makau, a 24 year old lesbian woman was brutally murdered in Ventersdorp, North West province in August 2014. Pule Stoffel Botlhokwane will stand trail at the Klerksdorp High Court from 18-22 May 2015. Click to listen to the podcast.
Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti-Same Sex Laws feels it is a shame that President Goodluck Jonathan appended his signature to such a draconian, irresponsible and undemocratic bill, thereby criminalizing an innocent section of Nigerian populace. It is unfortunate that a supposedly democratic nation would actively seek to criminalize a section of its population whom has not caused harm to anyone. Read more.
The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) is commemorated globally and annually on the 17th of May. This year’s commemorations are celebrated under the theme “Freedom to Express”. The day is set aside to raise awareness on LGBTIQ issues and rights, to create a platform for dialogue on lives of LGBTIQ and how homophobia and transphobia affects the lives of the LGBTIQ. IDAHOT also aims to celebrate the struggles and milestones LGBTIQ individuals and human rights organizations have had over the years in making human rights agenda priority. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity remains issues of contention and division tools in many countries. Today The Botswana Network On Ethics, Law and HIV/ AIDS (BONELA), Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) and Rainbow Identity Association (RIA) wishes to highlight political, social, economic and structural barriers facing the LGBTIQs in Botswana and worldwide.
Botswana is considered by many to be a conservative and Christian state. This has however hindered a lot of human rights advancements including sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Homophobic and transphobic attacks happen in Botswana.
The Penal Code of Botswana and other governing laws and policies make it difficult for LGBTIQs to express themselves in the way they feel. Attacks on the LGBTIQs and LEGABIBO continue to spring from various members of this community. Most of the homophobia seem to be based on religious believes.
IDAHOT 2014 activities aim to address issues of Homophobia and Transphobia in Botswana, giving the LGBTI the platform to talk about issues and problems they face daily with the hope to create a conducive and enabling environment to dialogue with the relevant stakeholders and the public at large.
The three organisations and their partners will be commemorating IDAHOT through various activities spread through three days. Day one of the commemorations will start with a press conference and followed by a panel discussion under the theme “ Is Botswana a Homo-transphobic Country, Perspective from affected communities).
The second day will be a night of spoken word against Homophobia and Transphobia on the 16th of May (from 1800hrs) at Thapong Arts Centre (opposite Village Clinic) at Village, Gaborone. It is at this space that the LGBTIQs will express themselves artistically through poem recitals, song, dance and storytelling. The last day will be celebrated by having a power march from Game City Supermall to Kgale Hill at 0800am. Once at the hill, a candlelight vigil will be conducted and multi-lingual prayers will be recited by different attendants. The festivities will continue from 1400hrs with an Expression show held at Somarelo Tikologo Ecological Park.
These three partners strongly believe that human rights are innate and are not selective. Every member of our community is entitled to a dignified and respected existence on this earth. LGBTIQs are not outcast of those rights and should be treated as such.
BONELA, LEGABIBO & Rainbow Identity Association calls upon all Civil Society Organisations, Non- Governmental Organisations, the government and the entire republic of Botswana to join forces in advocating for equality, non- discrimination at health settings and access to prevention, treatment, care and support of all regardless of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Most importantly, we are all asked to stand up against injustices. “Fatshe leno la rona”, a re tsheleng ka kagiso.
Jabu Pereira, founder and director of Iranti-org, was born in Port Elizabeth South Africa. Jabu now resides in Johannesburg and is a photographer, videographer, curator, researcher, activist and a leader in human rights.
Nigeria, 22 January 2014. Recently, president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan signed into law a ban on same-sex marriage, even as another bill, which many Nigerians believe would curb corrupt practices in the oil and gas industry, suffered setback after setback in the Parliament. The result: Nothing has been done to end corruption involving the single most important source of funds for the Nigerian government, but horror stories of gay-bashing by law enforcement officers have already become rife. Read more at the New York Times - Blindness at the Top by Victor Ehikhamenor
The University of Cape Town, in collaboration with Triangle Project, has been working with a group of 15 young women who identify as lesbian or bisexual from Zonwabele LGBTI Organisation in Mbekweni, Paarl. The aim of this project is to use photography as an empowering method through which lesbian and bisexual youth can tell their stories and express their joys, challenges and aspirations.
The young women, between the ages of 14-18, were trained in photography and tasked with documenting different aspects of their lives as lesbian and bisexual youth.
This exhibition is the culmination of their project, and will take place at the Mbekweni Community Hall, Mbekweni, Paarl on Saturday 16 August.
The programme will begin at 13:00 with an opening address, a short performance by some of the young women in the group, a poetry reading, and a speech by one of the participants about her story and her experience of taking part in the project. There will then be time until 16:00 to look at participants' photographs and stories. Some of the themes that the exhibition highlights include experiences of homophobia in school and in the community, dreams and aspirations, ‘coming out’ stories, living in poverty, and how they navigate their everyday lives as lesbian and bisexual teenagers.
The exhibition, hosted during Women's Month, celebrates the stories of young lesbian and bisexual women whose voices are not typically included in debates about gender equality and women's rights. Through their images and stories, this group is powerfully claiming their space in their community, raising the issues that are important to them and broadening the narrow way in which the category "women" is often defined.
Triangle Project is a human rights organisation advocating for the rights and wellbeing of LGBTI persons by working towards a society free of discrimination, prejudice, victimisation, heterosexist violence and the oppression of gender and sexual minorities. More information at www.thetriangleproject.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 17 May 2014, The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) is being held in more than 120 countries around the world, Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA) joins many other organisations in the country in commemorating the day. The day seeks to raise awareness on the continuous homophobia and transphobia against LGBTI individuals by communities, states and service providers. On the day we will pay homage to those who lost their lives to hate crimes, injustice, rejection, exclusion and discrimination and raise awareness on LGBTI rights. The IDAHOT 2014 global theme is “freedom of expression”.
Director of Iranti-org, Jabu Pereira, goes in-depth about IDAHOT.
Photo by: Lebo Ntladi
Iranti-org in partnership with several LGBTI organisations such Transgender Intersex Africa (TIA), Vutha LGBTI in the Vaal region and Uthingo-Daveyton, were hosted by Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Constitution Hill’s Public Programme Officer and author of Black Bull, Ancestors and Me was the perfect partner as he provided the best site of conscience for hosting IDAHOT. It was held at the Old Fort Prison, where anti-apartheid activists were detained for their activism.
I'm so glad to hear the workshop went well and that it brought good resources to the participants. I really look forward to collaborating again in future trainings. I'm hoping to be able to lead the Septemeber RFSL media training and build off of your work last week.
We just launched the video with you on our site.
Everyone is thrilled with it and I am very grateful that you could share Iranti-org's perspective and story as part of this launch video.
Jabu Pereira, human rights activist, calls India out on their shameful recriminalization of homosexuality as Mandela lies in state in South Africa. Shame falls on the India Supreme Court on international human rights day. As the grey skies covered Joburg and the rain fell over the city we mourned the loss of a great human leader and as India’s President paid his respects to Nelson Mandela, its Supreme Court just re-criminalized same-sex relationships. Read more...
In November ARC was invited by Pan-African ILGA to join part of their meeting in South Africa to co-facilitate a session with ILGA on the development and history of SOGI issues at the UN, along with providing a progress report and contributing to a group discussion on the SOGI resolution.
While in Johannesburg, ARC was also happy in engage in a session of sharing and learning with the documentation team at Iranti-org. Exciting opportunities for future collaboration were discussed... stay tuned!
Cape Town, 27 November 2013
In 2011 Andile Ngcoza raped Millicent Gaika, a lesbian, to force her to have a baby so that she would recognise her role as a woman. Ngcoza showed no remorse in court and has a slew of previous convictions, including rape and anal rape. Free Gender, a lesbian advocacy group, supported Gaika throughout the trial. Read more at the Cape Times.
GATE joins today a new commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
We note with deep concern and rejection that trans* women continue to be, one of the most constant but invisible targets of gendered violence that strikes with particular virulence, especially against trans* sex workers, trans* women in prison or other detention facilities, trans* women of color, trans* women in areas of armed conflict, occupation or natural disasters, trans* women from indigenous populations, refugees and migrants, trans* women with HIV and human rights defenders.
Neo Musangi writes on the Transgender Day of Remembrance activities in Nairobi. "The speech from Njugush starts with an exercise on acceptance and acts of love. Njugush, is a transman in his forties, a board member at TEA and a member of the Intersex, Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming group, Jinsiangu. Njugush asks all trans persons at this meeting to stand up, followed by the accompanying family members. He then asks the family members to walk up to their trans child, brother, sister, niece, nephew or cousin, hug them and acknowledge them for opening up regarding their transgender identities." Read more....
Zambia. Juliet Mphande, the Director of Friends of RAINKA, an LGBTI human rights organisation based in Lusaka, Zambia. Juliet sits on various human rights and corporate policy making bodies notably: The Global forum for Civil Society through the US Embassy, the Bi-lateral initiative on Human Rights and the African Association of Communication Directors to mention but a few. Mphande blogs and is a human rights, environment, media and peace advocate. Read more...
Zambia. Chalwe Charles Mwansa holds a law degree from the Zambia Open University and has sound knowledge of human rights which he uses to develop and implement advocacy and training programs for the LGBT advocacy organization, Friends of RAINKA, where he works as the Advocacy and Policy Officer. Read more...
Many a times in LGBTI movements we become so “accustomed” to the training and workshops provided by different stakeholders, that sometimes we fail to take the privileges and opportunities provided through these sessions seriously.
"Mr O" as he is affectionately known to many who love and appreciate his sense of humor, character and work ethic. Mr O identifies 100% as city boy having been born in the center of the capital city of Botswana, Gaborone. Read more...
We are back - the 20th Out In Africa Gay & Lesbian Film Festival’s 2013 final edition takes place in Johannesburg at Nu Metro Hyde Park and in Cape Townat both Nu Metro and Cinema Nouveau V&AC Waterfront from 18-27 October. For film trailers, workshops and all other info, check out our website on www.oia.co.za. Bookings will open on Monday, 30 September.
OIA will be opened in Jozi on Wednesday 16 October by Justice Edwin Cameron. The Opening Night speaker in CT, on Thursday 17 October, is still to be confirmed.
Read more about the festival and the live performances...
Neo Musangi speaks about Audrey Mbugua. Audrey Mbugua is not new to gender identity controversies and the corridors of justice. She has been in the Kenyan news for a while now. A few years back she was suing the then Minister for Health, Prof. Anyang' Nyong'o because the biggest government hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital denied her request for gender re-assignment surgery. No one would do it. It was not right, they argued. The doctors hands were tied, as they say. Tied by what/who exactly? Please ask me another. I do not know. Audrey, being Audrey, is back. With more viciousness. She is more annoying now. Read more...
GATE - Global Action for Trans* Equality and American Jewish World Service are inviting all trans* and intersex groups, projects and organizations to participate in a survey on funding situation for trans* and intersex groups around the world.
Satya Rai Nagpaul thanks Angelina Jolie for coming out, "I mean about your mastectomy. You have no idea what this can mean for a transman like me who went through the exact same procedure as yours; well almost!" Read more...
I am still in pain regarding the Westgate Mall attacks. Yesterday I almost couldn't breathe. Today I am anxious. Very anxious. The pain has become almost tangible. It is all over. By the time I got news of Kofi Awoonor's death, I was already tweeting in verse. These are my tweets now compiled into a short poem. This is for you Prof. Awoonor and all the souls that have crossed over to the other side in these attacks. May the ancestors hug you all in the right places! Read more about Neo Musangi's thoughts about the Westgate Mall attacks....
World's leading LGBT activists to speak in
4 December 2014, New York
The Daily Beast to host "Quorum: Global LGBT Voices" at the
New York Public Library, featuring talks and panels highlighting the struggles and triumphs of
LGBT people worldwide
The Daily Beast, in collaboration with nine leading international human rights organizations, will host an unprecedented gathering of leading LGBT activists from around the world. The event, entitled "Quorum: Global LGBT Voices," will take place at the New York Public Library on Wednesday, December 10, designated Human Rights Day by the United Nations.
Continuing its strong commitment to covering the global movement for LGBT equality, the live-journalism event will feature non-Western LGBT activists sharing compelling stories about their struggles and successes. The event will generate a series of video talks, interviews, and presentations, which will be available online at The Daily Beast beginning in January 2015.
The event is sponsored by Delta Air Lines, HBO, and the New York Public Library, and organized in collaboration with The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, American Jewish World Service, All Out, GLAAD, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), The International LGBT Association Europe (ILGA-Europe), 76Crimes.com, and Muslims for Progressive Values.
"Quorum" features a who's-who of LGBT activists and artists from around the world, including Adebisi Alimi (Nigeria), Anastasia Smirnova (Russia), Maurice Tomlinson (Jamaica), Meena Seshu (India), Alice Nkom (Cameroon), Nisha Ayub (Malaysia), Kenita Placide (St. Lucia), Parvez Sharma (A Jihad for Love), Xiaogang Wei (China), and Jabu Pereira (South Africa), as well as several activists whose names are being withheld for security reasons.
"The Daily Beast is committed to covering those engaged in the global fight for gay rights," said John Avlon, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Managing Director of The Daily Beast. "We want to help amplify their voices and deepen our audience's understanding of one of the defining civil rights movements of our time."
"In the West, the fight for gay rights has seen enormous progress," said Mike Dyer, Chief Product and Strategy Officer, Co-Managing Director of The Daily Beast, and founder of Quorum, "but it's essential to now expand the story and hear from the people building a global movement for full LGBT participation in society. Connecting these struggles is what Quorum is all about."
About The Daily Beast
The Daily Beast delivers award-winning original reporting and sharp opinion from big personalities in the arenas of politics, pop-culture, world news and more. Fiercely independent and armed with irreverent intelligence, The Daily Beast now reaches more than 20 million readers per month. John Avlon is Editor-in-Chief and Mike Dyer is Chief Product and Strategy Officer. The Daily Beast is based in New York and is an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI).
Quorum is an invitation-only event, taking place from 10am to 6pm on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at the New York Public Library. Press passes are available by contacting Carmen de Jesus, Carmen.deJesus@thedailybeast.com
THURS 20 Nov, 9:00-13:00
Social Dialogue - Iranti.org and Transgender Intersex Africa (TIA) at Con-Hill, Johannesburg
South Africa, 20 November 2014
Transgender and gender non-conforming learners in South Africa are
experiencing discrimination and find themselves being ridiculed, taunted
and shamed, often by those in positions of power. In response to and
addressing the issues of the trans* learners in schools, TIA and Iranti-org
are hosting a national social dialogue on the issues affecting these pupils.
THURS 20 Nov, 9:00-13:00
Social Dialogue - Iranti.org and Transgender Intersex Africa (TIA) at Con-Hill, Johannesburg
South Africa, 20 November 2014
Transgender and gender non-conforming learners in South Africa are
experiencing discrimination and find themselves being ridiculed, taunted
and shamed, often by those in positions of power. In response to and
addressing the issues of the trans* learners in schools, TIA and Iranti-org
are hosting a national social dialogue on the issues affecting these pupils.
After a 24 hour journey to Mexico city and a 2 hour road trip without my luggage, I had felt rather stressed and jet-lagged and wondered if the universe was sending me a message.
ILGA LAC’s amazing women leaders, Gloria Careaga and Josefina Valencia Toledano invited 20 feminist leaders from across the world to a women’s leadership training programme. The programme focused on various aspect of leadership, such as self-awareness and self-care, our human rights challenges on legal and policy issues, advocacy at the UN level, media training and Leadership coaching.
Each morning, the group did yoga and meditation
I soon forgot about the loss of my luggage and the jet-lag. Once I set foot on Quinta el Zopilote, the message from the universe was clear – It’s time to detach from materiality, but rather I ought to spend my time with some deep reflection, relaxation and being fully present in the space with all the amazing women I arrived with. Quinta el Zopilote is a retreat centre, it has several meditation rooms, beautiful gardens with delicious fruit trees. It also has a Temazcal, an indigenous space, built into the ground similar as a sauna. Our host Patricia led the traditional ceremony. We learned how to prepare the fire for the Temazcal. Over several hours we honored our ancestors, we shared the pains we wish to leave behind, and the visions we will take foreword. To be in such a space, brought us all closer to what we understood as decolonising our bodies.
Prepping the fire for the Temazcal
Our facilitators were Lame Olebogile, PAI, Nori Spauwen, CoC Netherlands, Jabu Pereira, Iranti-org and Maria Sjodin from IGLHRC and trainer on the RFSL Global Rainbow leaders program.
Our group comprised of amazing women from Peru, China, Jamaica, South Africa, Botswana, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Netherlands, Mongolia, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Strong bonds were formed and deeper friendship and solidarity. The one essential love we all had was towards the women in the kitchen and prepared the most delicious home cooked food.
On our last day we managed to sneak in some local market shopping at the town of Cuernavaca. We left this beautiful town, ready to engage at the world ILGA Conference.
At the market, sugar in the form of skeletons are sold. beautfiul acknowledgement of the dead.
Full of smiles and laughter, a great week at the women’s leadership training.
This morning amidst all the long queues at the Roodepoort office of the Department of Home Affairs, was Nadia Lally Swanepoel, waiting at counter 8.
Nadia could end her liquid and hunger strike, and just like any capable bureaucrat should have done years ago, was to change Nadia’s gender identity on the system. Now she has a new identity, one that affords her the right to live her life fully and to enjoy the basic human right to human dignity.
Iranti-org was there to celebrate this moment with Nadia. We salute Zane Dangor, the advisor to Minister Bathabile Dlamini; and the spokesperson of the Department of Home Affairs, Mayihlome Tshwete who stood by Nadia as the process was completed. We salute the staff at the Roodepoort Department, who ensured that all is done.
Collectively, Gender Dynamix, S.H.E and TIA along with Iranti-org has called for an urgent meeting with the Department of Home Affairs to address the backlog of applications, and to address the transphobic bureaucrats who continue to block progress.
Nadia Swanepoel at counter 8 with the DHA official completing the forms and chatting with Mayihlome Tshwete the spokesperson of the Department of Home Affairs.
Nadia Swanepoel and Jabu Pereira, waiting for all the paperwork to be completed.
And so justice is service, change of documentation has taken place.
NADIA SWANEPOEL consults with Jabu Pereira
Nadia Swanepoel consulting with
Jabu Pereira from Iranti-org
Johannesburg, 9 October 2014
Nadia Swanepoel holds her resilience on her 5th day of her hunger and liquid strike.
NADIA SWANEPOEL HUNGER STRIKE AND VICTORY
Nadia Swanepoel on why she went on a hunger strike
Johannesburg, 9 October 2014
Nadia Swanepoel, a transgender woman, has gone on a hunger strike until Home Affairs issues her a valid ID recognising that she is not a man. She has been unable to get a job as a result of this.
When will government speak out against Hate Crimes?
South Africa, 22 September 2014
by Dolar Vasani and Kokeletso Legoete
Protest demonstration in front of the Ventersdorp court for Disebo Gift Makau’s case. Photo by Gugu Mandla
The accused’s mother in the murder of Lihle Sokela in Daveyton speaks to Iranti-org. Photo by Gugu Mandla
The official crime statistics report released on 19 September by the South African Police Service for the period April 2013 to March 2014 reveals a substantial increase in almost all categories of crime. The same report shows that there was a slight decrease in the total sexual offences. A drop of 5.6% was reported showing a decline from 66,387 last year to the current figure of 62,649.
It is against this backdrop, on 17 September we heard of yet another black lesbian being raped and suffocated. She was found dead in the perpetrators bedroom in Daveyton in the East Rand of Johannesburg. Thembelihle ‘Lihle’ Sokhela, a 28 year old lesbian was last seen a few days earlier. The alleged perpetrator, Thabo Molefe, aged 45years turned himself in at the Daveyton Police.
It is unclear how Lihle ended up in his bedroom. Thabo will remain in police custody throughout the court procedures. According to his mother, Thabo, has a history of violence and had been physically abusing her. “I do not want him in my house anymore; they should keep him locked in there. I am also scared of him” said Thabo’s mother. Thabo’s bail application depends on him finding another address, as his mother does not want him in her house.
In August 2011 the Department of Justice appointed the National Task Team (NTT) in order to address the issue of hate crimes against LGBT people. The NTT later established National Rapid Response Team to fast track the numerous unsolved criminal cases as a matter of urgency. On 29 April 2014, under a grand fanfare, the then Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr J.T Radebe, MP launched the National Intervention Strategy at the Women’s Gaol, Constitutional Hill. The NTT has been notably silent on the latest spate of gruensome murders witnessed in South Africa.
Less than one month ago, Disebo ‘Gift’ Makau was strangled to death with a wire in Ventersdorp in the North West province. A black lesbian, open to her family about her sexuality, Gift was found naked in a yard opposite her house with a hose pipe shoved down her throat and the water tap left running open. The perpetrator will appear in court on 6 October.
These horrendous violations come at a time when South Africa has an opportunity to vote ‘Yes’, to a UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities (SOGI). The resolution proposed by Chile, Uruguay and Brazil, proposes the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reports bi-annually on good practice and developments in addressing violence on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. “It is really worrying that South Africa has not engaged on this resolution, given that it was the lead country along with Brazil to propose SOGI back in 2011. South Africa voting Yes for this resolution, will be an affirmation of solidarity of many peoples across regions who do not have legal and constitutional protections like we have in South Africa”, says Jabu Pereira, Director of Iranti-org. In response, Iranti-org, has sent an open-letter to the Minister of International Relations, Justice and Social Development to vote in favour of this resolution.
As many civil society organisations prepare and plan a visit to Soweto pride this Saturday, we urge people to have a moment of silence and remember Duduzile Zozo, Thapelo Makhutle, Sasha Lee Gordon, Andritha Morifi, Sanna Supa and many others who lost their lives based on who they chose to love. Lilhe will be laid to rest in Daveyton on Sunday 28 September.
Sexual rights, reproductive justice, and the links between human rights and development
See below an excellent speech by South Africa's Minister for Social Development at an event on SRHR at the margins of the UN General Assembly. She discusses sexual rights, reproductive justice, and the links between human rights and development.
Address by Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, MP, on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly on the commission on population and development on harnessing the demographic dividend and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health in Africa, at the UN Headquarters in New York.
19 Sep 2014
Chairperson, Ambassador Mamabolo;
Your Excellency President Chissano;
Dr Babatunde Osotimehin;
Dr Bience Gawanas;
I also wish to acknowledge the presence of my Special Advisor, Mr Zane Dangor, and colleagues from the South African government: Mr Thokozani Magwaza, Deputy Director General for Social Security; Ms Lumka Oliphant, Chief Director for Communications; Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Director for Multilateral Relations in Social Development; and Mr Jacques van Zuydam, Chief Director for the National Population Unit and Facilitator of the negotiations that produced the Addis Ababa Declaration.
Colleagues, diplomats, senior officials of United Nations Agencies, representatives of civil society organisations, and distinguished participants; It is a great pleasure to participate in this panel, which includes Africa’s top leadership when it comes to population matters. To my fellow panelists, I want to acknowledge the huge role that you are playing in putting Africa’s population matters on the global agenda, whilst at the same time giving direction and leadership to the continent on the issues that affect all of us, but especially our women, children, older persons, persons with disabilities, and the youth.
As South Africa's Minister of Social Development, I should perhaps start with the stance our government takes in relation to population and development. The South African Population Policy, in accordance with the South African Constitution and guided by the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD), emphasises the attainment of sustainable development and places people at the centre of that development.
Development is seen as a process of enlarging people’s capabilities and ensuring that they enjoy long, healthy and creative lives. This is based on an approach that fundamental human rights and sustainable development cannot be separated if we are to improve the lives of people.
The phrase ‘population and development’ is very important for us, as it marks a sharp departure from the ‘population control’ policies of the apartheid government. Population control policies under apartheid penetrated all aspects of life. Black South Africans enjoyed no freedom of movement, and no reproductive choice. Access to abortion was illegal. Black women were subjected to enforced long term contraception regimes, often without their knowledge, while the social assistance system supported elements of the reproductive choices of white women through supporting their children.
Heterosexual relationships between members of different race groups were illegal and so-called offenders were hunted down and prosecuted. And off course, no freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity existed. In fact, the brutality of the apartheid regime against persons of lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender, queer and intersex orientation or identity was so severe that, when we attained our freedom, we ensured that this would never happen again in our society, and we entrenched freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in our constitution alongside all other protections.
This background is very important for us when we reflect on the Addis Ababa Declaration and what it says about sexual and reproductive health and rights. Sexual and reproductive health and rights can, of course, never be divorced from the pursuit of gender equality and equity, and the full empowerment of women. Sexual and reproductive health and rights is at the centre of gender relations, as much as the full realisation of Sexual and reproductive health and rights cannot be achieved in the absence of gender equality and equity.
It is, therefore, important for us that the Addis Ababa Declaration builds on the existing provisions of the African Union to recognise and promote these rights. It commits us to harmonise our national legislation with all the relevant international instruments on gender equality and women’s empowerment and the protection of children, particularly to support and protect the girl child.
For us, the Declaration’s commitments to “adopt and protect the human rights of all individuals, without distinction of any kind” and to “prevent and punish any kind of hate crimes without distinction of any kind, and take active steps to protect all persons from discrimination, stigmatisation and violence” marks a firm recognition of what we struggled for against apartheid, and may I say, colonialism across our continent. The Declaration goes further, with a commitment to “enact and enforce laws and policies … to respect and protect sexual and reproductive health and rights of all individuals.”
Sadly, many countries could only agree to these very progressive commitments on a condition, namely that the commitment is subject to being “in accordance with national laws and policies”, or “within the national political and legal framework.” I want to emphasise the word “sadly” - how committed can one be to the rights of individuals if you still seek to do so within existing laws and policies? And, let's remember these conservative policies and laws were in many instances imposed on us by our colonisers to deny women, children and sexual minorities the freedom to privately choose and live their sexual and reproductive lives.
Having said this, we obviously must make work of changing the laws and policies that hamper any individual’s right to choose. But Chairperson, let me hasten to add that the notion of “choice” carries an assumption that options are available and that our broader social and economic systems actually work in support of the ability to choose. In this regard, feminists and/or gender activists and particularly blacks across the world are beginning to refer to reproductive justice as a concept that best explains the realities of poor and marginalised women in many parts of the world, including in Africa. By referring to reproductive justice, these activists are not negating choice, which itself had to be struggled for by women. They are saying that real choices can only be made when women are empowered politically, socially, culturally and economically.
The Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice suggests that reproductive justice exists when all people have the social, political and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about their gender, bodies and sexualities. Real choice, therefore occurs when it includes the rights for women to have children, for the state to support pregnant mothers who have chosen to keep their children, the rights to decent maternity and parental leave, the right to Child Care and Early Childhood Development services for the children and social assistance for children and their care-givers as part of a comprehensive approach to reproductive justice. If one reads the Addis Ababa Declaration, it contains all the elements that will lay the basis for African women to have access to reproductive justice.
The Addis Ababa Declaration makes provision for the overall social, economic and cultural development for all Africans, in particular women, adolescents and children.
Indeed, it is within this framework of reproductive justice that we should initiate a discussion on what we have achieved as a continent, and what we still need to do. For example, in terms of sexual and reproductive health and rights services, we also, have to invest more to improve access to modern means of contraception as well as comprehensive sexuality education.
In my own country we shall, in line with a broader approach to reproductive justice, provide maternal support for expecting mothers as part of the 1 000 days campaign. The campaign seeks to contribute to reduce maternal and child mortalities through improving access to nutrition for expectant mothers and new-born children. This will also include universalising access to Early Childhood Development Services up to four years. These services will complement the current extensive role of out of our Child Support Grant, which also contributes to improved mother and child well-being.
The kinds of services that improve the economic well-being of poorer women can in fact give them a real ‘choice’ in whether they may want to continue or terminate a pregnancy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In Africa we are not doing well in terms of the substantive economic emancipation of women. Women continue to be marginalised by the mainstream economy. It is for this reason that efforts to transform the economy, including land reform, more inclusive economic empowerment and other equity measures cannot be divorced from all sexual and reproductive rights, including abortion rights and services, as part of a comprehensive and more radical approach to reproductive justice.
Without sexual and reproductive rights and access to services as part of the broader women’s struggles for economic equality, social justice and violence against women, what we call ‘choice’ may just become an elitist individualised response to reproductive rights which would still be mainly, for the middle class and the rich.
The Addis Ababa Declaration makes a set of very important connections between rights, development and services. For me, this is where its progressive contribution to population and development in Africa lies. For the first time, we have a Declaration on population matters in Africa that recognises that we must not choose between rights and development, but that the one cannot be achieved without the other.
I must point out that often we as African delegations to the UN make this rather false distinction between rights and development, as if one excludes the other. We further tend to grant way too much power and prestige unto the West when we state that human rights are western impositions. This is not true. The international human rights instruments all stem from essentially western excesses starting with the Peace of Westphalia Treaty in the 1600s that ended 30 years of war and bloodshed in Europe. This was followed by the Charter of the United Nations that emerged from the two World Wars that were fought primarily amongst western countries. The other major human rights treaties and instruments also emerged as responses to western colonialism, western racism and the global oppression of women. Let’s not forget, that it was through global solidarity based struggles against the denial of fundamental human rights in South Africa that apartheid is today a crime against humanity under international law.
Human rights are therefore essentially products of southern, including African struggles against all forms of oppression. It is therefore not surprising that the Latin American countries are leading the world in advocating for the rights of all people without distinction of any kind. It is time that we as Africans lend our collective support to our Latin comrades as it is through empowering our people that we will also win the fight for the right to development and for equality between countries. Let’s take this opportunity to stop trading off the rights of our own people in the belief that it strengthens our fight for a more equal and just world.
I believe that the Addis Declaration provides a good starting point for us to do this. There are missing elements for us in the Addis Declaration, which we shall pursue in our national capacity. But collectively we should strive to use the Addis Declaration as our minimum platform for achieving a better Africa and a better world.
Chairperson and distinguished participants, we have spent a large part of the past year re-committing ourselves to the ICPD Programme of Action. That was important. But we cannot remain stuck in the battle to retain the Programme of Action for the next twenty years – we must build on it, so that next time we don’t spend time debating whether we need it, but rather to reflect on the progress that has been made with extending reproductive justice to all of Africa’s women and other marginalised groups.
Justice must prevail for Disebo Gift Makau and the LGBTI community of Ventersdorp
by Jabu Pereira
South Africa, 24 August 2014
The marquee is down, the crowds of mourners have retreated back to their homes, and yet there is an eery presence in this tiny town. It is a presence of fear and uncertainty about the future, and the acceptance of loss. Gift will no longer walk the streets in her queer, gender-bending clothing. Popularly known as Owen to the soccer team, she will no longer arrive for football practice and matches.
There is no silence in this town. The accused in this case, known as Burkie, meaning whitey, because of his light skin, belongs to the SVAs, a gang of men that have robbed and caused turmoil in this community. There are two additional rival gangs the SVKs and the HLs. Iranti-org team felt this fear as the SVKs attempted to intimidate us, grabbing their crotches, rubbing it and staring at us without fear. We received a message, and we know that the attacks on Lesbians, Gay and Transgender persons are not over, in fact, the attacks have just begun to surface.
Our work has only begun in Ventersdorp, we must return to ensure that as a collective, we can build a vibrant LGBTI movement in Ventersdorp, that security measures are put in place, that government must work with the community to ensure effective services such as visible policing, effective lighting at night and youth programmes that build positive self-esteem.
Male, female, trans or intersex…
Forget the physical and focus on my soul
Most people too often will turn their backs,
And do nothing to try to stop these attacks.
When violence is committed against another
Male, female, trans or intersex…
Forget the physical and focus on my soul
Every day is a struggle to just stay alive.
And the thought of all of this is too chilling,
As the human race, we're just trying to survive
Male, female, trans or intersex…
Forget the physical and focus on my soul
Hatred is blinding and they aren't seeing
Why should it matter what gender you prefer to kiss?
There's no reason to cause harm to another being
Male, female, trans or intersex…
Forget the physical and focus on my soul
Too many people don't want to understand
But someone being different isn't always the cause
Some will attack others even without any flaws
Male, female, trans or intersex…
Forget the physical and focus on my soul
Wouldn't all violence be considered a hate crime?
Many close their mouths and become mute like walls
Something's going on… This thing is all wrong.
Male, female, trans or intersex…
Forget the physical and focus on my soul
And even if the person that left us is gone
They will always be known for the things that they did wrong
How can being who you are be so wrong?
Male, female, trans or intersex…
Forget the physical and focus on my soul
We undermine these misconstrued minds
And hold vigils hoping we can go back in time
I cannot promise that your heart will be at ease after today…
Male, female, trans or intersex…
Forget the physical and focus on my soul
If God is the ultimate good, why do cold blooded men rape and kill our sisters?
If God is real, I write for him to answer
There’s only so much I can do with my human powers
Cheryl Clarke and E. Frances White
Feminist Scholars Reader Seminar
Johannesburg, 12 August 2014
Group picture: An amazing feminist gathering. From L-R. Back Row. Dineo Bopape, Ellen Eisenman, Jabu Pereira, Lame Olebogile, Nxy McClean, Gugu Mandla, Vanessa Agard-Jones, Kaykay Legoete, Cheryl Clarke, guest from ISS, Kate Muwoki. Front row: Fran White, Myesha Jenkins, Zikhona Gqozo, Lindeka Qampi, Lindokuhle, Zanele Muholi and Tanya Pretorius. A seminar on Black Queer Feminism and the Art of Change hosted by Iranti-org. Photo by: Zanele Muholi
Zethu Matebeni of UCT speaks at the
12th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture
Cape Town, 12 Aug 2014
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet joined UCT Chancellor Mrs Graça Machel and distinguished panelists to participate in a Gender-in-Dialogue event in UCT's Jameson Hall on 10 August as part of the 12th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture Dialogue Series. Live streamed from the UCT homepage, the lively discussion featured influential thought-leaders, including Mbuyiselo Botha, Nomboniso Gasa and Zethu Matebeni. The event was chaired by Jane Bennet of the African Gender Institute. The event was facilitated by Yaliwe Clarke.
Audience commentary and engagement at the 12th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture Dialogue Series
Duduzile Zozo's community and family disappointed about court's postponement
Johannesburg, 9 July 2014
On 29 June 2014, Duduzile Zozo's memorial evoked much emotion, a year after she was murdered. Iranti-org in partnership with IHAWU and FEW along with Lesbian activists from the eastern region of Johannesburg convened at the site where Duduzile Zozo was murdered on 30 June 2013. Thuziwe Zozo and her family felt a sense of comfort that the Lesbian community have not forgotten Duduzile. There is much more frustration from the community pertaining to the lack of details on why the magistrate's court decided to postpone the case to October 2014.
Zambia, 3 July 2014
On July 3, a court in Kapiri Mposhi, in Zambia, acquitted Philip Mubiana and James Mwape. They had been held in jail for almost fourteen months, charged with homosexual sex under Zambia’s sodomy law, which carries a sentence of up to fourteen years. The presiding judge didn’t comment on the justice of the law itself; he only found that there was no substantive evidence against the accused, who were arrested on hearsay and suspicion, reportedly turned in by family members.
The triumph for the two is mixed; with their faces and names published all over Zambian media, their lives in the country are wrecked. Still, the court’s decision reflects the strength and persistence of Zambian LGBT campaigners. It brings back memories for me, vivid and piercing. I first visited Zambia sixteen years ago, in 1998, when the country was in the midst of a huge collective frenzy about the dangers of “homosexuality.” With every public figure from university professors to the President himself taking turns deploring the incursion of perversion, it seemed unlikely that there would ever be a Zambian LGBT movement, much less a court victory to celebrate. What happened back then holds lessons not just for Zambia, but for other movements today. Some indulgence in my own memories of sodomy in Zambia may thus be justified.
LGBTI activists, women’s rights groups and the broader community gathered at the site where Duduzile Zozo was brutally murdered on the 30 June 2013. IHAWU in partnership with FEW and Iranti-org commemorated the life of Duduzile. Her family, joined the commemoration and her mom in particular, Ms Thuziwe Zozo remains a strong advocate for justice. See more pictures and read the full story...
The commemoration will take place at Thintwa Street in Thokoza, next to Zion Christian Church (ZCC), 29 June at 12:00 pm.
27 June 2014, Johannesburg
by Kokeletso Legoete, Iranti-org
Duduzile was laid to rest (13 July 2013). Photo by Gugu Mandla, Iranti-org
The 30th June 2014 marks a full year of Duduzile Zozo’s death. Duduzile Zozo’s body was found across her home in Thokoza on the morning of 30 June 2013 in a neighbours’ yard. Dudu was laid to rest on 13 July 2013. Four months later her perpetrator was arrested and detained at the Palm Ridge prison.
Duduzile’s parents during the funeral (13 July 2013). Photo by Gugu Mandla
Duduzile’s court case began on 21 October 2013, shortly after Lesley Motleleng’s was arrested. The accused later applied for bail, of which the proposed amount he would have paid was estimated to a R1000. However, he was denied bail, with supporting evidence brought forth by the investigating officer on the case, Captain Mbeka.
Duduzile’s trial was set to begin from 26 May 2014 and run until 13 June 2014; the trial was postponed on 26 May. The trial was postponed due to the reason that the magistrate in charge of the case has other ‘important’ cases at the moment. The trial is now set to run from 27 October 2014.
Lesley Lekgoa Motleleng, Duduzile’s murderer, at Palm Ridge court. Photo by Tumi Mkhuma
IHAWU; an LGBTI community-based organization based in Katlehong, in the east of Johannesburg. On 29 June IHAWU will host a memorial service in remembrance of Duduzile Zozo in partnership with Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), Iranti-org and other LGBTI organizations. The commemoration will take place at Thintwa Street in Thokoza, next to Zion Christian Church (ZCC), at 12:00 pm.
Duduzile’s trial will recommence on 27 October 2014. It is sad how this case has been delayed, with multiple postponements. It is, however, incredible to find her mother patient enough for the law to take its course. “These things take time, we should be patient. I only pray that justice be served,” said Thuziwe Zozo, Duduzile's mother. May justice be served for Duduzile.
Lesley Motleleng being guided to sign forms for his trial.
Photo by Kokeletso Legoete
Duduzile Zozo’s murder case made its first appearance in court on 21 October 2013. Zozo’s mother suspected Lesley Motleleng, the police followed her lead and he was arrested. Motleleng later applied for bail. His bail application was denied on the 26 January, supported by evidence brought forth by Captain Johannes Mbeka, the investigating officer.
According to Captain Mbeka's testimony, it appears that Zozo's body was violated before her death. "The postmortem proves that a foreign object was forced into Zozo’s vagina before she died," said Captain Mbeka.
Captain Mbeka presented his evidence and provided reasons why Motleleng should not be granted bail. “The accused lied when he was asked whether he had committed any kind of crimes before. The fact is, he has been arrested in the past for housebreaking and theft. Secondly, Motleleng has been suicidal ever since his arrest, his uncles and friends stated under written oath. Therefore, granting him bail may lead to him killing himself.”
The investigating officer further explained that Motleleng’s release will not only be putting him at risk of the community killing him out of anger, but also will endanger the lives of the family he where he lives. Captain Mbeka concluded by saying that "If Motleleng is released on bail, it would not be in the interest of justice."
LGBTI activists gathered at Palm Ridge Court, singing songs of struggle.
Photo by Kokeletso Legoete
LGBTI activists from different sections of Katlehong and Thokoza, in the east of Johannesburg have been gathering at Palm Ridge Court in solidarity with Zozo's family. They were saddened and angered by a proposed bail of R1000. He was, however, denied bail.
Lesley Motleleng has been detained at the Palm Ridge Prison ever since his arrest and will now be moved to Johannesburg prison where his lawyer can visit him and get his statements. The trial will be run from 26 May to 13 June 2014.
Global Trans Research and Advocacy Training Programme (GTRAP)
United States, 28 June 2014
"Injustice at Every Turn," was a study originally undertaken by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality. It documents discrimination of Transgender and gender non-conforming (T-GNC) people in the US. It surveyed 6,450 T-GNC individuals from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The second phase of this work involved the GTRAP team comprising of Jaime Grant, Jack Harrison-Quintana and Ignacio Rivera, traveling globally, connecting with activists, advocates and researchers that are interested in tools to construct their own culturally-specific trans/intersex study that supports their lives and work.
On the 3-4 June 2014, GTRAP in partnership with Iranti-org, S.H.E and GDX convened an Africa wide training programme. This media report shares some of the perspectives from the GTRAP team and the participating partners from the African region.
South African LGBTI voices against homophobia and transphobia
Johannesburg, 21 June 2014
South Africa joined 120 countries on 17 May in voicing our right to our right to freedom of expression. This event was held at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. It brought together LGBTI organisations in the city. The programme focused on the intersections between SOGI and our right to religious and cultural freedom.
Ugandan LGBTI activist speaks out about the horrors in her country
Uganda, 11 June 2014
by Kokeletso Legoete
Nabagesera, Ugandan human rights activist. Photo by Ayanda Msiza
Iranti-org recently had the privilege to talk to activist, Kasha Nebagasere about the conditions in Uganda for LGTBI people and about the anti-homosexuality act (#AHB), signed by President Yoweri Museveni on 24 February 2014.
Nebagasere and many other LGBTI persons’ lives have been under siege since the signing of the anti-gay bill in February. Her work as an activist is now perceived as illegal, prohibiting her from doing her work. Just recently, while she was out of her country, her landlord evicted her from her home.
“Landlords are required to report people perceived to be LGBT in their houses and if I stay, it is seen as 'promoting homosexuality'. Landlords are in danger if they rent rooms in their houses to people perceived to be gay,” Nebagasere says.
Anyone who talks positively about LGBTI issues could face seven years in jail, as this is perceived as promoting homosexuality.
The offices of her organization have also been closed and their materials destroyed. The environment has changed because of the new law. It is impossible for an LGBTI person or suspected LGBT persons, to find jobs and places to live. “Some (landlords) are doing this genuinely fearing jail for hosting LGBTI people but others are actually agree with homophobia and justifying it by evicting people. It is a two-way punishment,” Nebagasere explains.
People are being neglected and disowned by their families, leading to an increase in the number of attempted suicides. Recently a 17-year old boy died two weeks after being admitted to hospital following a failed suicide. LGBTI people have been taken and kept in torture houses, raped, beaten up and humiliated. Illegal arrests have also been taking place, where people are taken out of their homes at midnight and arrested.
People are also being forced to go for HIV testing and anal testing, to find out if they have been practicing homosexual acts. “My life has always been on the edge, but now there is actual danger and I fear for my life. People feel they can do anything to us because the government is on their side. They feel they can attack us as the government is saying ‘get rid of homosexuals’," Nebagasere says.
The media is not making it easier. In fact it has made the situation worse by printing names of people suspected or perceived to be gay in newspapers. A radio station has been suspended for hosting LGBTI people.
Despite all the doom and gloom, Nebagasere can see some positives coming from these problems. “Our voices are being heard around the world. With all the pressure, maybe one day we may see homosexuality being decriminalized in Uganda. We are already petitioning the penal code and we have also filed a petition in the South African court of to fight this.”
Nebagasere pleads with every LGBTI person and organisation in the world to stand in solidarity with the Ugandan LGBTI community, “We really need support from our partners in the country, in the region and also internationally. We need various kinds of help: for example, money to bail people out of jail or support for court cases. We also ask people out there who are from the LGBTI community, please to get in touch with us. Don’t be alone and don’t feel alone. We are here. We cannot solve every problem we are faced with, but we can be in it together, so that people don’t feel that they’re being abandoned.”
It takes bravery and courage for Nebagasere to speak out. She is in grave danger of being arrested. Regardless of the negative impact, Nebagasere believes that through solidarity and support, it is possible to work towards a positive outcome.
Events • Transhealth, Advocacy and Research Conference
Profile focus: Liesl Theron, founder of GDX
Cape Town, 4 June 2014. Liesl Theron is one of the founders of Gender Dynamix (GDX), a transgender organisation in SA. GDX remains a resilient trans organisation. Liesl leaves GDX after 10 years of service. Sbu Kheswa is the newly appointed GDX Director.
Events •Transhealth, Advocacy and Research Conference
DAY 3 SWEAT programme on support and advocacy for the rights of trans sex workers in SA, at the Transgender & Health, Advocacy and Research Conference
Cape Town, 4 June 2014. The 2nd Transhealth Conference in SA created space for trans women to speak out about the right to work and to be protected. Sex work remains criminalised in SA. SWEAT is a leading human rights and advocacy organisation, which mobilise and create activst spaces for sex workers.
Events • Transhealth, Advocacy and Research Conference
DAY 2 Building Global Solidarity among Transwomen at the Transgender & Health, Advocacy and Research Conference
Cape Town, 3 June 2014
Focused on building a transfeminist movement regionally and globally. The 2nd Transhealth, Advocacy and Research Conference is taking place in Cape Town, 31 May-2nd June. The focus of the conference is on looking at past discriminatory practices and finding new approaches for change at a policy, legal and wellness level.
Botswana, 3 June 2014
Dr Unity Dow is the legal representative for LEGABIBO and LGBTI human rights and advocacy organisation from Botswana. LEGABIBO has been denied the right to legally register as an association. This clip documents LEGABIBO's ongoing challenge with the State.
Events • Transhealth, Advocacy and Research Conference
DAY 1 Transgender & Health, Advocacy and Research Conference
Cape Town, 1 June 2014
The 2nd Transhealth, Advocacy and Research Conference is taking place in Cape Town, 31 May-2nd June. The focus of the conference is on looking at past discriminatory practices and finding new approaches for change at a policy, legal and wellness level.
On 17 May 2014 we will come together as a global community to partake in collective actions on LGBTI Rights and our right to Freedom of Expression. I would like to share with you a story produced by Iranti-org, This video forms part of our national action. We have invited a panel to engage with the media piece which speaks to various challenges related to our freedom of expression in SA. We have in a complex way brought together key issues related to gender expression, sexual orientation, culture and religion and it's embodiment in what we generally term LGBTI Rights. We expect our audience at tomorrow's event to engage on the various issues raised.
On behalf of the Iranti-org team we urge you to do one action to stop homophobia and transphobia.
Cape Town, 1 May. This series of discussions, exhibition and performances seeks to address the current wave of anti-homosexuality backlash and laws in the continent. The events will take place at the upper campus of the University of Cape Town, as part of Africa Month celebrations, as well as various parts of the city.
Southern African Media Makers Network training workshop by Iranti-org
Johannesburg, 17 April 2014
On 10-14 February 2014, Iranti-org hosted a Southern African Media Makers Network training workshop in Johannesburg. LGBTI activists spent a week in training learning about media and the importance of amplifying our voices in all spaces. The Network hopes to generate a series of stories from organisations across the continent.
Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana
takes its government to court
Ratanang Mosweu (in a grey suit) briefing about the case background before they headed to court. Photo taken by Gugu Mandla
Botswana, 18 March 2014
By Legoete Kokeletso
On tuesday morning LEGABIBO case took to court. Represented by Botswana’s Unity Dow;a human rights activist and a legal judge. Tuesday morning the LEGABIBO members and supporters had a breakfast briefing at the Lansmore hotel. Heads of arguments and the case background/history were presented to the group in preparation and information sharing concerning the case the organization has filed against the state.
LEGABIBO was denied registration on the 12th of March 2012, because according to the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration, Botswana constitution does not recognise homosexuals and that the objectives of the organization are contrary to section 7(2) of the Societies Act.
The heads of argument to the registration of the organization are based on violation of various rights of the Lesbians, Gays and bisexuals of Botswana that are deeply -rooted in the Botswana Constitution.
Rights violated are:
Section 13 which provides for the protection of freedom of assembly and association;
Section 12 which provides for the protection of freedom of expression;
Section 15 which provides for protection from discrimination;
Section 5 which provides for the right to personal liberty;
Section 7 which provides for the protection from inhuman treatment.
After the case background briefing, a session of poster presentation took place shortly before the group headed to court. The organization members had dedicated a day to making posters that expressed their right and opinions regarding the state’s refusal to register an organization where they can freely associate and share ideas. The intention was to march to court prior to the court proceeding, however they were denied permit to march. That did not stop them from spreading in groups and walking to the high court with their placards raised high.
Dr. Unity Dow, LEGABIBO legal representative preparing herself to present the case in court. Photo by Ayanda Msiza
Dr. Unity Dow took approximately three(3) hours addressing the background of the case, with reference to the Botswana constitution, outlaying the heads of argument as to why the organization needs to be legally registered.
“This is a case about the right to organise, the right to assemble the right to a platform. If you don’t give them a chance to convince, you may still not agree at the end of the day, but I think democracy demands that every group have a right or an opportunity to try to convince...whether or not people agree with me or agree with the state, I think this is very important. My clients wants to be registered...” Dr. Dow said to Iranti-org.
The courtroom was filled with LGBTI people from across Botswana to support the organization. All dressed in red T-shirts with advocacy message “Free to organize. It’s our right". Dr. Dow was stunned by the attendance and support of the gay community in court “I was impressed by how many people came to court. I know is not that easy to come out and say I am gay, so I am impressed by the gay community that came to court today. Because the world is run by those who show up, and they showed up today”
Advocate Moatlhodi Marumo who stood in as the case opponent argued that the courts are not responsible for making the laws of the country, and that LEGABIBO should understand it as the decision of parliament. Instead of probably opposing the case and defending the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration’s reaction to the organization, his argument was based on the approach that the organization took in addressing their issue.
He expressed that the applicants were wrong to file a case to court without consulting other stakeholders of the decision makers on why LEGABIBO cannot be registered. Seemingly unprepared or uninformed of the case, little did he attempt to defend his argument.
Bachizi Kwele, a young gay man who came to offer support to LEGABIBO was very excited and eager to hear what the government has to say regarding the case, “ this is a step in history for us to achieve a huge mandate. It was mandatory for me to be here, to show support, to get my voice heard because for me to be recognized I have to step up and say, hey, i am here and i want to be recognized”.
Freedom of association is a fundamental human right for every group that shares the same interest and seek to engage in issues that affect them. Iranti-org is fully in support of the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana and we will report on this case till the very end. The date for judgment is to be announced in time by the judge.
EFF vows to represent ‘LGBTI’ despite its manifesto being invisible on the matter
Advocate Dali Mpofu, the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Gauteng premier candidate addressing his speech on ‘LGBTI’ issues.
South Africa, 1 April 2014
By Kokeletso Legoete
Johannesburg. EFF held a minority group’s seminar, addressing ‘LGBTI’ and people with disability issues. The seminar was held at Braamfontein, Johannesburg at a hotel’s conference room. Advocate Dali Mpofu, the keynote speaker at the seminar addressed the EFF’s interests in working with the minority groups by emphasizing their commitment to protecting everyone’s constitutional rights and engaging in activities that would protect the LGBTI community.
It is shocking and paradoxical when the party’s president, Julius Malema, made a negative public remark about intersex people during the Caster Semenya’s gender-questioning havoc. Malema expressed in public that there is no such thing as a hermaphrodite in Pedi, that there is only a woman or a man, therefore nobody should impose their imperialism on him. When Mpofu was asked about this, he replied “Do not judge the EFF based on anything else, judge the EFF based on its policy.”
As people arrived at the seminar, they were handed the EFF’s election manifesto that listed LGBTI as Social Welfare Services, why this? No one knows. There was no description as to how LGBTI people fit in within the party’s manifesto, although Mpofu had a handwritten manifesto that nobody else had that actually provided details about their role within the LGBTI community. When he was asked about this, he told that “EFF is continuously amending and improving sections in its manifesto pertaining to the LGBTI community.”
It is not surprising to hear that these kinds of seminars will be taking place from time to time as it is election period. All political parties support LGBTI people little or not at all and would claim their support to only very small crowds.
However, we still hope they will keep their promises, do their jobs and protect human rights for ALL
Traditional Values & Cultural Practices Not at the expense of women and LGBT people!
New York, 14 March 2014
Commission on the Status of Women, session 58, cross-regional panel
Some states and other actors are increasingly claiming that ”traditional values” should take precedence over universal human rights for all. In addition ”cultural practices” are used to limit the rights and freedom of women who do not given any say in the issues surrounding their right to live.
All women and in particular lesbian and bisexual women and trans people are particularly targeted by these so-called ”traditional values”.
This cross-regional panel explores the discourse around ”traditional values” and harmful cultural practices. In focus are the strategies used to fight back against the patriarchal structures aiming to limit the freedom and rights of women on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity,
gender expression and sexuality.
Manny de Guerre: Founder and organizer of the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival based in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She has carried out extensive research in Russia concerning the importance of the arts and culture in terms of its social, political and psychological significance.
Victor Mukasa: One of the first out and open activists in Uganda. Has been involved in important legal cases and been one of the most outspoken and important voices in Uganda. The influence that Victor has had on the movement can not be underestimated.
Maria Fontanelle: Media and advocacy officer for United and Strong, the sole LGBTQI advocacy group in her island home of Saint Lucia(Caribbean). Maria Fontenelle brings more than fifteen years of media experience to LGBTI activism. She has also collaborated with local, regional and international partners on HIV AIDS and human rights.
Sheherezade Kara: Communications and Advocacy Manager for ARC International, working to advance human rights relating to sexual orientation and gender identity at the international level. Prior to joining ARC, Sheherezade worked as an associate in the advocacy and programmes department of Human Rights Watch in Geneva, contributing to the advocacy of the organisation at the UN Human Rights Council.
Angie Umbac: President of the Rainbow Rights Project, a NGO of lawyers and gender rights activists that provides a legal and policy thinktank for the Filipino LGBT community. She heads the Philippine research team for violence against lesbians, bisexuals, and trans women in Asia, a five-country regional project with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
Supported by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL)
LATIN AMERICA: Stigmatization, discrimination and violence against lesbians, bisexual women and transgender people
New York City, 16 March 2014
by Jabu Pereira
The seminar was held on 11 March 2014 as part of the CSW Parrallel Events. The panel spoke about violence experienced by LBT persons in Chile, Colombia, St. Lucia and Venezuela. Violence experienced by LBT remains invisible and unacknowledged. This panel was organised by IGLHRC, Rompiendo el Silencio, Colombia: Universidad de los Andes, Director of Programa de Acción por la Igualdad y la Inclusión Social (PAIIS), St. Lucia, United and Strong Inc., and ILGA.
IGLHRC, in collaboration with its partners, Rainbow Rights Project in the Phillipines and LBTI Activists from Sri Lanka, hosted a parrallel event at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 58th session. The panel discussion looked at violence through the lens of LBT people in Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia and Japan. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cannot be achieved when significant populations of women are denied the right to bodily autonomy, which includes the rights of lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender women.
This panel took place on the 10 March 2014. IGLHRC and its partners will release the findings in May 2014.
Iranti-org documented the seminar and reported on this in collaboration with United and Strong, St Lucia and RFSL SOGI news. for more information on the study please contact email@example.com.
10-21 March, New York City, United Nations Headquarters
The main theme for the session is: ”Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls”
Jabu C. Pereira, Maria Fontenelle and Mathilda Piehl (reporting team)
Maria Fontenelle is the media and advocacy officer for United and Strong, the sole LGBTQI advocacy group in her island home of Saint Lucia (Caribbean). Maria brings more than fifteen years of media experience to LGBTI activism. She has also collaborated with local, regional and international partners on HIV AIDS and human rights.
Mathilda Piehl has ten years experience in reporting on LGBT issues from Sweden. She has been working at an international level in human rights and is currently editing soginews.com.
Jabu C. Pereira is the Executive Director of Iranti-org, an African-based LBTI human rights documentation and reporting organisation. Jabu has extensive experience in advocating on various human rights issues; in particular women’s rights and LBTI rights.
Please join us Thursday (tomorrow, March 13) at 5:30 for a conversation with Astraea and grantee partners Jabulani Pereira from Iranti-org and Kenita Placide from United & Strong, followed by a chance to relax, eat and hangout with local activists and the community from 6:30 on. More info and RSVP...
Ugandan doctor, Paul Semugoma, offered
21 February 2014. Johannesburg
Dr. Paul Semugoma is a Ugandan medical doctor and prominent advocate for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and communities.
On Monday 17 February 2014, while returning from a business trip in Zimbabwe, he was arrested and detained at O.R. Tambo International Airport. At that time, immigration officials informed Dr. Semugoma that his visa application had been unsuccessful and that he faced imminent deportation to Uganda. On Tuesday, 19 February, immigration officials presented a one-way ticket to Entebbe, Uganda for Dr. Semugoma, and tried to force him on the plane despite a court order by the South Gauteng High Court demanding his release.
Last week, my intersex good friend Sally Gross from South Africa passed away in her apartment. Sally Gross is a senior intersex activist and also the founder and director of Intersex South Africa. Read more...
Arrest of Samuel Ganafa for allegedly infecting
Disan Twesiga with HIV
15 November 2013, Uganda
Samuel Ganafa, The Executive Director of Spectrum Uganda Initiatives and Board Chairperson of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), was arrested on 12 November 2013. Three of his houseguests were also arrested, Joseph Kayizi, Kasali Brian and Michael Katongole and his nephew, Brian Kasirye. Disan Twesiga alleges that Samuel Ganafa knowingly infected him with HIV. Read the full statement by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Spectrum Uganda and the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law.
13 November 2013, Zambia
Iranti-org met with Juliet Mphande, the Director of Friends of RAINKA, an LGBTI human rights organisation based in Lusaka, Zambia. Jabu C. Pereira, the Director of Iranti-org, asked Juliet about the current threats facing LGBTI activists in Zambia. In October a homophobic blog in Zambia reported that LGBTI activists were in Sweden, soliticing money for the promotion of homosexuality. This was factually incorrect and clearly aimed at getting the activists arrested under the Zambian penal code.
Over the months we witnessed the increased arrests of LGBTI activists, including Paul Kasonkomona who was charged under section 178(g) of the Zambian Penal Code which provides that “every person who in any public place solicits for immoral purposes” is deemed an idle and disorderly person, and liable to imprisonment for one month or a fine.
We urge you to support and highlight the struggles in Zambia, and help work towards a decriminalised state where the recognition of sexual orientation and gender identity is recognised as a human right.
Pride galleries and events from around
12 November 2013, South Africa
Over the past year, South Africa's LGBTI landscape has seen an increasing number of Pride celebrations, from rural towns in Mafikeng to urban centres like Joburg. In addition, this year Pretoria held its first Pride. The Prides reflect the context we embrace on a daily basis in South Africa. Racial inequalities, class struggles, women-centred agendas and LGBTI-focused agendas, in priviledged suburbs and poor neighbourhoods. No surprise that in 2013, in Johannesburg, the schism created by these issues was revealed in the Joburg People's Pride and the Joburg Sandton Pride events.
6 November 2013 Zambia, Times of Zambia: The derailment of effective strides taken against HIV in Zambia is likely unless we can remove the stigma on men having sex with men, says first lady, Christine Kaseba.
31 October 2013 Zambia, Civicus. More than 100 groups call on Zambian President to halt NGO law that gives government officials too much discretion to interfere with their independence and activities and breaches international best-practice frameworks.
6 October 2013 Zambia, SALC Bloggers: The October arrest of Zambian human rights activist, Paul Kasonkomona, in terms of the Zambian Penal Code (every person who in any public place solicits for immoral purposes, is deemed an idle and disorderly person and liable to imprisonment for one month or a fine). The unnamed arresting detective had seen little of a TV program on which Kasonkomona appeared pleading for decriminalization of same-sex sex practices in the interests of HIV prevention. Nonetheless the detective concluded that Kasonkomona statement that it is not wrong to be homosexual, amounted to soliciting for immoral purposes.
6 September 2013 Zambia, SALC Bloggers: The May arrest of two Zambians charged in terms of the Zamibian Penal Code (that those having carnal knowledge of each other against the order of nature should be imprisoned between fifteen years and life imprisonment) has led to ongoing harassment by fellow inmates at the remand facility and little viable evidence being led by the Zambian State judicial body.
Sunila Abeysekera, Human Rights Activist in Sri Lanka, Dies at 61
13 September 2013
Sri Lanka. Sunila Abeysekera, a prominent human rights advocate who sought to bring the world’s attention to myriad acts of violence in her country, Sri Lanka, despite threats against her own life, died of cancer on Monday in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital. She was 61.
Her death was announced by Human Rights Watch. Until recently she had lived in the Netherlands because of the latest round of threats against her. Abeysekera, a single mother and a lesbian, was also a champion of women’s rights throughout South Asia, working for reproductive rights and economic parity and to end violence against women. Read more at New York Times...
Pic by Patricia Williams, Article by Margalit Fox for New York Times
Germany to become first European state to allow
‘third gender’ birth certificates
Germany, 17 August 2013
German parents will no longer be legally obliged to register their newborn child as male or female, and will instead be officially allowed to assign the baby a “third gender” if the sex cannot be clearly identified at birth. The new law will come into force on November 1. Read more...
Historic Ruling Confirms LGBTI Rights as Internationally Recognized
United States, 14 August 2013
Springfield, MA – Today, in a first-of-its kind case brought by a Ugandan LGBTI advocacy organization against a prominent U.S. anti-gay extremist, a federal judge ruled that persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a crime against humanity and that the fundamental human rights of LGBTI people are protected under international law. The ruling means that the case brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), a Uganda-based coalition of LGBTI rights and advocacy groups, can move forward over defendant Scott Lively’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. Read more...
Media Innovations for Queer and Transgender Social Change Approaches with Dr Jian Chen. Iranti-org will host Dr Jian Chen, an assistant Professor of English from the Ohio State University. They/He is an independent curator, a media and art activist. Chen’s work explores the technological and social conditions that shape today’s Transgender, Queer, and gender non-conforming media; Highlighting strategies used in transnational, diasporic, and inter-racial American media work. Check out the trailer for The New Black. Read the invite before you download the invite and programme and share it widely!
Queering Gaga Feminism
Cape Town, 19 August 2013
Dr Jack “Judith” Halberstams’ theory workshop “No Church in the Wild: Anarchy and Gaga Feminism” hosted by the LGBTI Program at the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA) at the University of Cape Town. Iranti-org will be attending. HUMA through the direction of Dr Zethu Matebeni has led innovative seminars on Queer Theory, Sexuality and Gender Identities. Iranti-org’s team is keen to learn more about Gaga Feminism, Queerness and its relation to sexual and gender variant identities in South Africa. Download the full invite, read all about the event and share...
UNITE to end violence against women - United nations
Global, 22 July 2013
Voices of Survivors’ tells the stories of survivors of violence against women in their own words. They speak of the impact violence had upon them, and how they have found the resources to move forward in their lives. Their stories remind us why taking a stand to prevent violence against women and girls is critical. More on the UN website.
Duduzile Zozo was 26 years old. She lived in Tokoza, east of Johannesburg. Her body was found on 30 June 2013 in her neighbour's yard, her pants was pulled down to her ankles, a toilet brush was forced into her vagina. She was beaten with a concrete brick and clearly suffered as she died. Read our plea for action. Below is a media file we prepared to give context to the situation.
Patricia Mashigo murdered, still no investigation
South Africa, 26 June 2013
Iranti-org is documenting the death of Patricia Mashigo, a lesbian mother murdered on 21 April 2013 in Daveyton, Johannesburg. The SA Police Services have not yet investigated the case. Instead, the police had stopped Iranti-org from documenting the case and created bureaucratic obstacles.
We are working with the LGBTI community in Daveyton. We are are holding community workshops on media advocacy training and ways of documenting violence. Produced by the Iranti-org staff, Jabu Pereira, Kelebogile Nltadi, Selogadi Mampane, Zikhona Gqozo and Ayanda Msiza. See complete story...
If you have any thoughts or views on how we can take our advocacy further we would love to hear from you.