kopano Venue

Walter Sisulu Square Walter Sisulu Square Source: sahistory.org.za Album kopano Venue Walter Sisulu Square Walter Sisulu Square Source: tourismupdate.co.za Album kopano...
Out in Africa

Out in Africa

2014 unfortunately saw the last Out in Africa gay and lesbian film festival in South Africa – even with support from the Other Foundation. As a result of the changing arts and media environment and shifting patterns of community support for the festival, Out in Africa has had to adapt its strategies to achieve its mission. The Other Foundation therefore supported Out in Africa to be resilient in this changing environment. In addition to supporting the 2014 film festival, the Foundation supported Out in Africa to produce the first ever full-length feature film on gay and lesbian life in South Africa. While You Were Not Looking tells the story of a cross section of Cape Town based queers, with themes on lost love, same-sex marriage and adoption, mixed-race relationships and the pursuit of happiness in post apartheid South Africa. It’s already made the official 2015 selection of two international film festivals – the 18. Pink Apple Film Festival and the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. With the help of a R500,000 grant from the Foundation, the film was completed in 2015 and two main Out in Africa film festival events were held in 2014 – in Johannesburg in May and in Cape Town in November. In addition, eight satellite screenings were held in South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho. Click here to watch the trailer of While You Were Not...
Intersex in Botswana

Intersex in Botswana

Being intersex probably has the most far-reaching gender-related impact on a person – yet is least spoken about amongst human rights activists focused on gender identity and sexual orientation. With a R10,000 grant from the Other Foundation, Skipper Mogapi explored the attitudes, beliefs, knowledge gaps, and secrecy that surrounds intersex issues in Botswana. Engaging with healthcare providers and intersex people, Skipper tried to unpack the stigma, discrimination and psychological trauma suffered by intersex people and their parents. His research reflected on participants’ responses against the broad social expectation that individuals are either male or female and that there are only two sexes and two genders that populate the world – rather than intersex being a natural variant that is part of human diversity. “I heard stories of powerlessness, violation, reclamation and personal empowerment,” says Skipper. “Interview after interview, participants shared stories of feeling scrutinized and sexualized by medical professionals; of being treated as oddities and freaks; of lacking control over their own bodies and of the resulting shame and secrecy of such experiences,” he says. Likening infant sex assignment surgery to female genital mutilation, Skipper affirms that the human rights of children enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are particularly relevant to the practice of genital surgery on intersex infants. Relating six case studies of intersex people in Botswana, the research concludes that an educational initiative is needed to inform medical professionals and parents about intersex issues. The research also recommends the introduction of clear regulations that require informed consent from parents before any surgery is done on intersex...
Building Lesbian Resilience

Building Lesbian Resilience

In Namibia, as in many parts of Africa, young lesbians navigate intersecting racial, cultural, gendered, sexual, religious and professional identities. Being caught up in this nexus, particularly when it reflects several layers of oppression can be a disempowering experience. Organisations such as Women’s Leadership Centre (WLC) in Namibia have worked tirelessly in the last 10 years to help young lesbians build resilience to deep-seated patriarchal ideas and develop the inner wealth of self-awareness and confidence. These efforts help to build a strong feminist, lesbian voice in a continent struggling with a rise in fundamentalism that threatens to erode hard-won human rights gains. WLC has used its visibility in the women’s sector to host feminist forums in Windhoek with lesbians from neighbouring towns. The participation of young lesbians builds next generation activism for human rights related to sexual orientation and gender identities. Although WLC works with lesbian women from various small towns and villages across Namibia, it also reaches young rural women living under customary law as well as young San women in indigenous communities, uniting them in their understanding of how patriarchal ideas shape homophobia as much as gender stereotypes. Creative interventions such as writing, dance and photography are used. Through training in community photography young lesbians express themselves, their communities and their sexuality in positive and empowering ways. One result of these efforts has been the travelling photo exhibition “Creating ourselves in our own image”. Some of these images (along with related texts) have been translated into a photo book that has been widely distributed, including to policy makers. WLC has long been a player in the feminist...

Building from a Social Base

Churches play a big part in shaping people’s beliefs, moral judgements, and actions and church leaders are the ones responsible for how all this plays out. The KwaZulu-Natal Council of Churches (KZNCC) recognizes this responsibility and the difference it can make in changing social attitudes. It has sent out fieldworkers to the far-flung corners of the province to hold community dialogues about sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity, and spirituality. In creating these safe spaces, social trust is built, allowing community groups to discuss issues which they otherwise would not have had a chance to reflect on together. Over 3,000 families and 12,000 people have participated in the dialogues which involves gay and lesbian people talking about their experiences of living in such communities. For the communities in Impendle, Pietermaritzburg, Escort, Watersmeet, Edendale and Colenso it has meant a huge growth in awareness about sexual and reproductive health rights, gender based violence and an integrated spirituality. Young people have been supported to use drama to reach other youth with a message of inclusion. Theologians have been engaged in research that is helping to change the church’s narrative about sexuality, shifting it away from prejudice and exclusion to a more affirming love of all people. Bible study groups have allowed for reflection among church leaders and congregants about homosexuality. And a directory of caring pastors has been developed so people can find accepting church ministers in communities across the region. On the strength of this rich experience, the KZNCC has worked with gay and lesbian groups in KwaZulu-Natal to engage the provincial government and parliament to defend the safety, promote the...
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