17 May 2017
International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia 2017:
Commemorating Families of LGBTI People.
In spite of the numerous gains made worldwide towards acceptance and non-discrimination towards people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, in most parts of Africa, these gains are yet to be felt. Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia still persist. States still have, within their laws, provisions that criminalize same-sex conduct. They still do not protect LGBTI people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Sections of the society still ostracise LGBTI people subjecting them to various forms of abuse including sexual violence and murder, physical violence and forced sterilizations, arbitrary arrests and forced anal testing.
As the world celebrates the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia focusing on families, we at Pan Africa ILGA acknowledge that there is indeed a need to focus on the role of families in the well-being of their LGBTI members. But we are saddened by what is happening in Africa today. We mourn with the family of Matisetso Alleta “Nonkie” Smous, a woman murdered for no other reason other than the fact that she loved another woman. We mourn with the family of Lerato Moloi who was raped and stoned to death because she dared to be different. These South African families and many others in the continent have suffered pain and loss at the hands of people who did not consider their children human.
“The importance of families cannot possibly be undermined in the development of a society. When a person in our family leaves, they create a hole. One that cannot be filled by anyone else. Let us remember the many African families that have senselessly lost a loved one. The South African government ought to do something about these deaths of innocent individuals. How long must people suffer over who they are and love? How many more must die before something is done?” Monica Tabengwa – PAI Executive Director
As we celebrate families. Pan Africa ILGA calls on you to think about the families that have lost their loved ones due to homophobia, biphobia or transphobia. We call upon you to think about the LGBTI individuals who cannot be with their families because those families do not accept them for who they are. We call upon you to be the family we all want to have. Because it is love that makes a family.
Kumkani Sivu Siwisa Anthony Oluoch