LGBTI Workshop Ends At Ongwediva

A THREE-DAY workshop on the rights of lesbians and gays organised by OutRight Namibia ended yesterday at Ongwediva.

The workshop was attended by gays and lesbians from Ongwediva, Oshakati, Ondangwa, Onethindi and Okatana in Oshana region as well as from Oshikuku in Omusati region.

OutRight Namibia (ORN) director Linda Baumann said ORN, which is aocating for the rights of the lesbians, gays, bisexual transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community, had decided to embark on workshops in several regions to meet lesbians and gays and educate them about their rights.

Part of the education is that lesbians and gays should know that they do not need acceptance from political parties, churches, traditional authorities and communities but rather tolerance and love.

Baumann said lesbians and gays are usually not welcome in Namibia’s cultures and traditions. She said they are “hated by politicians” and are refused basic services such as health and education. She added that they do not get help at police stations when they report crimes against them either.

“People are laughing at them when they go to hospitals for treatment. In some cases, they are refused treatment, or they get treatment after either the nurses or some doctors have laughed at them or have called others to come and see lesbians and gays.

“This has now gone on for a long time. We were born like that. We have the right to be lesbians and gays. We have decided to come out and to protect our rights given to us by the Constitution of Namibia,” Baumann said.

She said many were stunned to hear about their rights and that another meeting would be held in August when training with public health workers as well as law reinforcement agencies is expected to be done.

“We want health workers and the police to be friendly to us and give us the service we want from them. We are also planning to have community dialogue on homosexuality and how to have a community full of love and tolerance,” Baumann said.

She said ORN is not asking for any acceptance but rather tolerance of the diversity of the Namibian communities because they are not applying for any job or position. Baumann described the newly formed party, the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) which is against homosexuality, as a Boys’ Tea Club.

She said the party’s leaders do not understand the Bill of Rights.

“For NEFF to establish its agenda against homosexuality, it is clear that they are not here to uplift the livelihood of all Namibians. They have first to register and build membership, endorse their manifesto and then come out publicly.

Now they are just a “Boys’ Tea Club,” Baumann said.

Source : The Namibian