I HAVE A CONFESSION

By: @Tanlume Enyatseng

I HAVE A CONFESSION: I LOVE DORKS. And misfits. And weirdos.  All my crushes tend to be lanky, angst-y boys with great one-liners and a variety of mood disorders. Tortured geniuses are another weak spot for me. Show me a muscle-bound male model, and I will turn my head towards a bespectacled, skinny, and socially awkward boy instead. I’d take Clark Kent over Superman any day.

My first love was a total nerd. I was 14 years old and very impressed by his knowledge of conscious rap, his assortment of Bruce Lee memorabilia, and his extensive action-figure collection. The second guy that wasted my time had greasy, black dreads, a goatee and he possessed an unhealthy interest in biblical apocalypse theories. He could also quote lines from Home Alone at will.

As I got older, my friends were all into the good-looking jock types (you know, the ones who looked like they could lift you up with their one thumb), while I was swooning over boys who haunted the neighborhood bars of Gaborone west. My heart would leap into my mouth every time one of those effeminate, unassuming oddballs met my open-mouthed stare. My palms would break out in a sweat when one of them ventured timidly onto the dance floor, doing a self-conscious shuffle with his gangly limbs.

I tend to pine for boys who have the shy charm of Donald Glover, the wit of Woody Allen, and the looks of Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl (who, with his love of Rainer Maria Rilke and old Belgium films, won me over far more than blue-eyed jock Nate Archibald). After repeatedly watching 2001 cult classic Ghost World, I’ve come to the conclusion that I would definitely fall for Steve Buscemi in his role as hapless, obsessive, record-collecting loner Seymour. One of the most depressing geeks ever to light up the screen.

I prefer interesting conversation over toned biceps–there’s something very appealing about a man who can overcompensate in the brain department. And these guys don’t take you for granted: When you’re a little wimpy and dressed in a Microsoft T-shirt, you have to work harder at getting romantic attention. More especially in the increasingly image obsessed gay community. Looks alone won’t cut it, so perhaps their sweetness and computer literacy will. In the end, most of us just seem to want someone who can be self-deprecating, someone who knows his shit and isn’t hiding behind a clichéd macho front. Nerds are the lovable mavericks of an overbearingly masculine society that is driven by old-fashioned ideals. These Star Trek-loving, Spielberg-quoting, chunky spectacles-wearing guys are the true catches.

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Tanlume

LeGaBiBo Launches Book

On Friday, 23rd September, LeGaBiBo once again made history! The organisation launched its first edition of Dipolelo Tsa Rona booklet. The booklet is a collection of 10 LGBTI stories from across Botswana. The stories tell experiences of love, hate, coming out and hope. It also explores lived experiences of LGBTI persons in our communities.

The event was attended by the LGBTI community, LeGaBiBo friends and partners. The Deputy High Commissioner for the British High Commission to Botswana, H.E. Mr. Oliver Richards commended the work that LeGaBiBo has been doing in advancing LGBTI rights in Botswana. He we added that “to advance human rights is to seek to build a society where no one is left behind and to make space in that for difference. We are, after all, all different”.

The Dipolelo Tsa Rona can be obtained at the LeGaBiBo offices in Block 8, Gaborone. A soft copy can be downloaded here. We hope that you will enjoy the book, and do let us know what you think.

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Botswana Government Deports Pastor Anderson

Press Statement

To: All Media Houses

From: The Lesbians Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana – LEGABIBO

Date: 20 September 2016

RE: DEPORTATION OF PASTOR STEVEN ANDERSON

The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) accompanied by Reverend Dumi Mmualefe on the 15th of September 2016 submitted a petition signed by 2 317 people to the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Hon. Edwin Batshu requesting that Pastor Steven Anderson and his associate, Garret Kirchway not be allowed into Botswana to start a church in the country.

  1. The Honourable Minister Batshu gave us audience and accepted the contents of the petition.

 

  1. The Minister and his delegation informed us that they were aware of Pastor Anderson’s visit to Botswana.

 

  1. Batshu said that as an American citizen, Pastor Anderson does not require a VISA to enter Botswana but because of his history, the Pastor would be put on a VISA lease to ensure that Immigration officials are aware of his presence.

 

  1. He also assured us that measures would be put in place to ensure that Anderson’s movements and his teachings do not infringe existing laws that prohibit hate, discrimination and incitement of violence.

However, a few hours after the meeting, we learned that Pastor Anderson had arrived in the country. We alerted the Ministry of this new development and collaboratively monitored the location of his church, teachings, social media and the impact his messaging had on the people he reached.

On the 19th of September we received a report from an individual who attended his church service that he had been assaulted by the Pastor, who called him “a fag, a homosexual and with a mouth full of AIDS” and was forcefully and violently dragged out of the church, an incident that the Pastor later admitted on radio.

On the 20th September 2016 from 0600hrs to 0900hrs, Caine Youngman, Reverend Mampane and the Pastor went live on radio, on Breakfast with Reg on GABZ FM, to dialogue on his visit to Botswana, his supposed mission to “win souls” and rid our country of sin. During the interview, the Pastor:

  1. Stated that he has diagnosed that the biggest sin in Botswana is alcoholism and that our Pastors in Botswana have softened, calling them “a bunch of sissies” and do not preach against such ills.
  2. Condemned versions of the bible that are not King James version calling them “junk”.
  3. Publicly called Caine Youngman, LEGABIBO Advocacy Officer “a paedophile, a liar, he has sex with little boys and strangers and if you have not done it yet, you will do it in future”.
  4. Stated that homosexual persons cannot be saved and that our government should kill all homosexual persons.

Following these utterance, Pastor Anderson was escorted by Immigration officials out of the premises and we later learned that he had been declared a prohibited immigrant by the Botswana Government.

LEGABIBO is outraged by the insults hurled at Caine Youngman and the LGBT community in Botswana, and wish we could have prevented this from happening from the outset. We are also happy that the Government of Botswana took necessary action and deported the Pastor and in the process defended its citizens. We applaud the people of Botswana who have stood with us to protect, defend and promote human rights in our country.

For more information, contact LEGABIBO on +267 316 74 25

Steve

 

2016 International Day of Democracy- “Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

Press Statement
2016 International Day of Democracy- “Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
To: All Media Houses
From: The Lesbians Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana – LEGABIBO
Date: 13th August 2016

September 15th has been declared the International Day of Democracy. This year’s theme is “Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, acknowledging the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations, of which Botswana is a part of. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda lays out a plan to be carried out over 15 years aimed at addressing extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustices, and protecting the planet.
Core to the implementation process of the 2030 Agenda is emphasis on inclusion and involvement of the State, civil society and citizens. These are crucial democratic ideals and in line with the way the agenda was developed. This year’s theme is dedicated to Goal number 16 which aims to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. Its targets include reducing all forms of violence, promoting the rule of law and justice for all, developing effective institutions, participation in decision making at all levels and legal identity for all.
The LGBT community in Botswana would like to recognise the relevance of Goal 16 to our experiences of democracy and celebrate the positive efforts the Botswana Government has made at the early stages by legally recognising LEGABIBO as an LGBTI organisation in April 2016, enabling the LGBT community to exercise their democratic right to approach the courts and challenge prejudices and inequalities. The registration of LEGABIBO as a society the represents and advocates for the human rights of LGBT manifests freedom of association, expression and assembly.
A registered LEGABIBO affirms that Botswana is ready to include LGBTI in democratic and civil society spaces, which were often inaccessible without legal recognition. On behalf of LGBTI, LEGABIBO is now able to respond to inequalities and injustices; adress homophobic undertones that seek to execerbate gender inequalities and violence against LGBTI. LEGABIBO is also able to support public health by adressing inequalities in accessing health services which are perpetuated by stigma and discrimination in
health care facilities and the exclusion of LGBT in health policies and laws. Registration of LEGABIBO allows the LGBT movement to speak on behalf of, defend and protect the democratic rights of LGBTI who face discrimination.
In commemoration of the 2016 International Day of Democracy – September 15th, LEGABIBO plans to hand over the petition to the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs to lobby for the Minister to protect citizens against hatred, violence, and promote human rights and dignity by preventing Reverend Steven Anderson and his followers from spreading hatred against an already marginalised group.

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Contact LEGABIBO on:
T +267 316 74 25
F +267 316 74 65
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Botswana, Instagram

Now Botswana fights back against gay hate pastor Steven Anderson

LGBTI activists in Botswana have joined the fight to keep gay hate pastor Steven Anderson out of Africa.

Pastor Steven L Anderson

Anderson is set to visit Johannesburg for a one day missionary excursion on 18 September after which he plans to go to Botswana for a week to set up a branch of his extremist Arizona church.

South African activists have waged a spirited campaign against his visit, lobbying government to not allow him into the country and convincing the venues where he planned to stay, meet and preach to deny him access.

LGBT groups in Botswana have now embarked on their own campaign, with the launch of petition that aims to stop Anderson from “coming to Botswana to preach hate”.

They have accused him of not only promoting the murder of gay people but also preaching that women are second class citizens who should be subservient to men.

The petition urges the government of Botswana to deny him entry into the country, and calls for church leader “to firmly condemn religious fanatics who use the Bible as a weapon to kill, spread hatred and oppress women”.

The groups further call on the women’s movement “to assert their stance in the protection of women’s rights and their democratic right to equality, education and employment”.

Anderson has described AIDs as “the judgement of God” and stated that executing gay people would free the world from the epidemic.

Most recently, Anderson praised the Orlando massacre as “good news” because “there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world”.

The petition points out that this makes him a de facto supporter of terrorism as the government of Botswana condemned the massacre as an “…unprecedented terrorist attack”.

The preacher also believes that women should be “home keepers and not office keepers” and should not be allowed to vote.

“These assertions erase the achievements that the women’s movement in Botswana has made over the years,” say the LGBT groups.

Anderson seems determined to become the latest member in a nefarious club of American evangelists who in recent years have propagated their anti-LGBT views and lies in Africa, stirring up hatred and inspiring the enactment of repressive laws.

To show your support against Anderson’s African safari, sign the petition here

Article first published in Mambo.Online

Petition to Prevent Hate Preacher Steven Anderson from setting up church in Botswana.

Petition to Reject Pastor Anderson and Garret Kirchway from entering Botswana to set up church.

The Faithful Word Baptist Church which originates from Arizona, United States led by Pastor Seven Anderson (pictured below) assisted by evangelist Garret Kirchway is going to launch its ministry on the 25th September 2016 and afterwards setting up a church in Gaborone, Botswana.

Pastor Anderson is infamous of 4 things:

  1. In April 2016, Steven Anderson praised the mass shooting of 49 people in Orlando, Florida USA, stating that there are “50 less pedophiles in the world”. winningdemocrates.com/watch-conservative-christian-pastor-calls-for-executing-more-ga-people-after-orlando-mass-shooting/
  1. Pastor Steven Anderson has also attacked women asserting that women should not: work, lead in church; be independent; vote; read books of their choice and dress how they want, emphasizing that “men shouldn’t be under the tyranny of women”. Link at youtube.com/watch?v=nFaoOKk16lQ
  1. In his 2014 sermon, Steven Anderson called for the “execution of gay people by stoning” before Christmas Day.
  1. Steven Anderson also spoke strongly against the use of prescription medication, suggesting that it is wrong and referring to Medical Doctors as sorcerers (Baloi).

Steve

These are the messages that Pastor Anderson is bringing to Botswana. He approves of terrorism, the action that the Government of Botswana condemned in response to the Orlando Massacre calling the action “…unprecedented terrorist attack”. Clearly the Pastor has no respect for humanity and his messages go against our democratic ideals that promote Botho; peace, respect for humanity, protection from discrimination and inhumane treatment. Pastor Anderson is a threat to these cherished ideals.

Pastor Anderson’s messages attack and demean women, seeing women as second class citizens, unequal to men, discrediting them as holistic beings who are workers, academics and leaders. The Pastor refers to women as “home keepers and not office keepers” and sees women who work as having loose morals. These assertions erase the achievements that the women’s movement in Botswana has made over the years.

By calling for the killing of gay people, Pastor Andersons’ messages are homophobic and condone violence against fellow human beings and a group that is already marginalized.

In addition, Pastor Anderson’s rejection of modern medicine is likely to discourage people from accessing health services. In Botswana, in particular we are already struggling with adherence to ART, therefore this messaging will negatively impact on the efforts already made by Government and CSO to ensure provision and access to HIV treatment.

Following this, the Key Population Coalition in Botswana – (KPC – comprising LEGABIBO, BONELA, Rainbow Identity Association, Men for Health and Gender Justice, Pilot Matambo Center for Men’s Health) – are calling on the Government of Botswana, Civil Society, Human Rights Lawyers, Religious communities and Batswana to protect, promote and defend human rights by rejecting the divisive and violent teachings of Pastor Steven Anderson and denying him entry into Botswana.

We specifically call upon the Church leadership to firmly condemn religious fanatics who use the Bible as a weapon to kill, spread hatred and oppress women.  We further call on the women’s movement to assert their stance in the protection of women’s rights and their democratic right to equality, education and employment.

We ask individuals, organizations and civic leaders to sign this petition as agreement that Pastor Anderson and his protégé Garret Kirchway should not be allowed to come into Botswana to spread hatred, homophobia, violence and sexism.

Sign  here to help stop Pastor Anderson from setting up church in Botswana.

 

 

 

Towards an LGBTQ Africa

On Anti-Homophobia Day, Tashwill Esterhuizen examines the state of rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people on the African continent and argues that civil society can play a more meaningful role in changing governments’ conservative, sometimes oppressive, approach to the LGBT community.

It has been nearly three years since a young lesbian lady, Duduzile Zozo (26), a victim of “corrective rape”, was brutally murdered a mere 40 feet from her home in a neighbour’s yard in Gauteng’s East Rand.  Quite recently, community members in Malawi reportedly forced their way into the home of two men and ransacked it, because they suspected them of committing same-sex sexual practices. Meanwhile in Zambia, a young transgender woman was arrested for “impersonating” a woman.

These acts of violence and discrimination are merely some examples illustrating the lived reality of many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people throughout Africa. These men and women remain vulnerable to prejudice, homophobia, persecution and discrimination simply on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

Regrettably several African countries continue to criminalise intimacy between adult men and woman who love, care and are attracted to people of the same sex. While these criminal provisions do not extend to criminalising LGBT persons themselves or “homosexuality”, for that matter, the existence of these criminal provisions nevertheless perpetuate and promote stereotypes, increasing the vulnerability of the LGBT community.

Many African states justify the continued existence of the provisions that criminalise same-sex sexual intimacy on the premise that gay sexual expression is alien to their culture as it simply does not conform to the moral views of a particular section of society. These and similar sentiments show a lack of understanding, appreciation, respect and tolerance towards sexual diversity and expression and should be rejected outright.

LGBT persons form part of the rich diversity of any society. Any form of opinion or culture which degrades, humiliates and devalues gay men and lesbian women, purely because of their sexual expression, can never be a legitimate justification for the violation of their human dignity and privacy. As South African Constitutional Court Judge Laurie Ackermann, very eloquently held in National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality and Another V Minister of Justice and Others, the “enforcement of the private morals views of a section of community, which are based to a large extent on nothing more than prejudice, cannot qualify as a legitimate…purpose” to criminalise sexual intimacy between consenting adults.

Unfortunately, instead of taking measures to change social attitudes and to educate the public about issues such as tolerance towards sexual diversity, criminal provisions often form the basis upon which states deny LGBT activists the right to freely associate with other like-minded individuals and form organisations that protect their interests and advocate for the rights and aspirations of the LGBT community.

For several years LGBT activists in Botswana were denied their right to freely associate and form their organisation, Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) aimed at promoting the interests of the LGBT community.  It was through courage, persistence and the continuous assertion of their rights that on April 29, 2016, LEGABIBO was registered as the first organisation to publicly advocate for the rights of LGBT persons in Botswana.

The registration came after the Botswana Court of Appeal found that the government’s refusal for several years to register LEGABIBO was unlawful and violated the activists’ right to freely associate and participate in the democracy. It does not matter that the views of the organisation are unpopular or unacceptable amongst the majority.

It is worth noting that the Court of Appeal rejected the government of Botswana’s contention that registering LEGABIBO would disturb public peace and is contrary to public morality. In fact, and quite remarkably, the Court of Appeal recognized that Botswana is a “compassionate, just and caring nation” and that “members of the gay, lesbian and transgender community, although no doubt a small minority, and unacceptable to some on religious or other grounds, form part of the rich diversity of any nation and are fully entitled in Botswana, as in any other progressive state, to the constitutional protection of their dignity”.

The Court also found that there is a more tolerant and compassionate attitude towards previously taboo subjects (such as LGBT rights) and that attitudes in Botswana have somewhat softened towards LGBT rights.  Though public opinion should not form a basis upon which to deprive persons of their fundamental rights, it nevertheless indicates there has been a shift in societal attitudes towards LGBT rights. Importantly, the Botswana Court of Appeal’s decision is an important step towards further full recognition of LGBT rights throughout Africa. Moreover, it creates a meaningful space within which government and civil society can build towards acceptance of sexual diversity and decriminalisation of same-sex sexual intimacy.

While acknowledging that in every democratic society there will be dissenting views expressed by individuals or groups, which most often are nothing more than prejudice, and lack of understanding for diversity. Instead of conforming to and upholding prejudice, government and all members of society have a duty to take measures to “transform” those views and educate society in order to align it with the values of the constitution and international human rights instruments.

In particular, international and regional instruments oblige States to create a culture of understanding human rights within society. This includes respecting the rights of LGBT persons. In fact, both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter place an obligation and duty on states to ensure, through teaching and education, the promotion and respect for rights and freedoms. It also demands that States see to it that these freedoms and rights, as well as the corresponding obligations, and duties are understood by citizens.

Instead of criminalising gay and lesbian sexual expression, and claiming that it is repugnant and contrary to public morality, African states should take active and progressive steps to educate every segment of society about their constitutional and fundamental rights. It is important for people to realise that these rights are universal and apply to all citizens regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The Botswana Court of Appeal correctly observed that that “fundamental freedoms are enjoyed by every class of society, the rich, the poor, the disadvantaged, and even criminals and social outcasts…and to deny any person their humanity is to deny such a person their human dignity”.

Civil society and organisations such as LEGABIBO could play a crucial role in assisting African governments to foster a culture that protects human rights.  Indeed, civil society, especially those representing the interests of the LGBT community, can be an important ally and partner to assist African States in carrying out intensive sensitisation campaigns and education on LGBT and other human rights issues. By denying LGBT organisations registration and seeing civil society as an adversary, African governments are missing out on a crucial opportunity for collaboration and the chance to create an inclusive society. This kind of society encourages a culture of tolerance and respect for diversity while simultaneously upholding the obligations contained in regional and international instruments.

* Esterhuizen is a lawyer at the Southern African Litigation Centre which won LEGABIBO’s case in the Botswana Court of Appeal

Main Photo: Lawyers and members of LEGABIBO outside the Botswana Court of Appeal after their victory earlier this year.

This article was first published in The Con

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