On the 17th May 2020, LEGABIBO will join the global community to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia – IDAHOBIT. “IDAHOBIT was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender, intersex, queer – LGBTIQ people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics”. “The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder”.
LEGABIBO has commemorated IDAHOBIT since 2011 with both the LGBTIQ community and the general Botswana community. The commemorations called for educating the public on sexual and gender diversity and inclusion at all levels. This year, we intend to do the same by reaching out to more area of Botswana and Batswana in general. This year’s theme is “Breaking the Silence”. This comes at a moment where Botswana has made gains in promoting human rights and inclusion of LGBTIQ. LEGABIBO commends the Government of Botswana, partners, and allies in following a steady trajectory in protecting the rights of sexual and gender minority persons and promoting inclusion for all.
It is essential to note that even with the progress made, many LGBTIQ individuals continue to face stigma and discrimination, violence, and exclusion. For many of us, we have found ourselves having to hide our sexuality, gender identity and our varying sex characteristics to both our families and communities in general. Due to the stigma and discrimination we face from our families and the general community, we tend to wander through life feeling ashamed of who we are and dying in silence. For LGBTIQ in Botswana the subject of equal justice and protection by the law cannot be understated. Without inclusive structural and institutional support, many sexual minorities in Botswana are less likely to seek out health, legal, social, economic, or other public services to which they are entitled to. That results in compromised public health, civil liberties, safety, and security to mention a few.
IDAHOBIT reminds us to speak up and break the silence that we face on daily basis. It encourages us to occupy space that is rightfully ours and represent our communities because our voices, our stories, our lived realities matter! By all coming together with partners and allies, our “noise” will be so loud that all LGBTIQ persons all over the world who cannot speak up for themselves or others will hear the sound of hope and solidarity.
The LGBTIQ community seeks to call upon the Government of Botswana, law authorities, health care workers, human rights organisations, private institutions, community leaders and the public to ensure the inclusion and protection of LGBTIQ person. Furthermore, the community calls for active representation to defend the rights and wellbeing of the LGBTIQ community as well as provision of safe and inclusive spaces.
For further information, please contact Matlhogonolo Samsam on +267 76 035 162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.