An Open Letter to Daniel Kenosi

Dear Daniel Kenosi,

LEGABIBO and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community have noted with great concern your Facebook posts on LGBTI individuals dating as far back as 2013. We note about 11 Facebook posts that either out, blame, defame or bash LGBTI persons. The language in all these posts is harsh, abusive, derogatory, demeaning and mocking.

You have labelled the LGBTI persons as ‘digole’; deserving of rape and deserving of being bashed. You have also unashamedly and repeatedly outed transgender persons; calling them fake women and men.

You have also invaded the privacy of individuals by making public their most private and intimate pictures for all to see, and making it seem like LGBTI private lives and intimate moments are something to be disgusted about and frowned upon.

You have made yourself a messenger who exposes LGBTI people, a messenger who teaches the public that LGBTI are a disgrace, have no morals and should be shunned and rejected by the society. As the self-appointed educator of the general public on LGBTI issues, you have spread the wrong message that being gay is a life style, a fashion trend and a nasty habit.

You have also appointed yourself an expert of the legal context on LGBTI issues in Botswana, where you claim that; 1. homosexuality is illegal, 2. homosexuals are imprisoned, 3. homosexuals are deported, thereby depicting Botswana’s legal environment as harsh, unfriendly and intolerant.

You have taken advantage of our silence all these years and probably saw this as an acceptance of your malicious and sensationalized propaganda. This letter is intended to communicate to you that we are not amused by your unethical news reporting.

Firstly, you should know that these individuals that you are outing have families, so you may be having your little fun by outing them and entertaining your followers. But you should know Daniel Kenosi, you are hurting families, you are breaking homes. The impact on these individuals is rejection and being kicked out their homes – and it is all on you!

Secondly, putting people’s pictures in compromising intimate positions has lasting negative impact on their professional and social lives. Gay people too have jobs and professional lives to maintain, and publicizing their images on Facebook in their private moments is drawing attention away from their capabilities in the workplace. That Daniel Kenosi is outright malicious and crude.

Thirdly, the Constitution of Botswana protects ALL persons against discrimination, torture and inhuman treatment. So you saying that homosexuals are imprisoned is a fallacy. What this means is that you are feeding the public false information and twisting the information to serve your own wicked cause.  If you really want to contribute to the right to information for the general public, the correct information to tell your followers is that homosexuality in Botswana is not illegal. That Daniel Kenosi is being patriotic!

Fourthly, a public educator gets their facts right first before imparting information, we suggest that you get your facts right about transgender persons, get your facts rights about the legal environment in relation to LGBTI, get your facts right about the number of men who have with men (MSM) in Botswana.

In conclusion, we realize that you do not abide by the journalists’ code of ethics, you do not respect the institution of marriage, you are feeding on the vulnerability of the general community, you do not care about the impact that your homophobic statements have on LGBTI individuals and you are determined to fuel homophobia.

For this reason, we call on MISA to take action against your unethical reporting; we call on the LGBTI community to report these homophobic posts to Facebook; we call on all LGBTI who have been victimized to take action against you Daniel Kenosi. We call on ALL allies, friends and families of LGBTI persons to speak out against homophobia perpetuated by the likes of you Daniel Kenosi.

Report Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia to LEGABIBO at +267 316 74 25, and let your voice be heard by using the hashtags #StopHomophobia #NoHateBW

Download a copy here:

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Become a member now!

Download your LEGABIBO MEMBERSHIP FORM here!

You will be presented with new resources and many valuable opportunities that will help you. Membership Benefits include:
 Serving in the Executive committee  Access capacity enhancement programmes nationally, regionally and international  Opportunity to represent LEGABIBO in meetings and conferences.  Key player in CSO space nationally, regionally and internationally  Access to membership information packages and research documents.  Opportunity to be a human rights defender, champion and advocate for LGBTI issues  Given first priority in training and capacity strengthening  Opportunity for engagement and consultation on LGBTI issues  Given first priority on volunteer opportunities.  Member CBOs are partners in programmes, grants and advocacy.

Membership fees are only BWP 60.00 for individuals and BWP 100.00 for organisations.

Contact LEGABIBO on Tel: (+267) 393 2516 Fax: (+267) 3167425 Email: legabibo@legabibo.org Web: http://www.legabibo.org

or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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New Opportunities!

LEGABIBO is looking to recruit committed peer friendly navigators who will provide health services to members of our community.

Requirements:

  • Above the age of 18.
  • Male
  • Must be a member of our community.
  • Have experience working with Key Populations.
  • Have a wide social network.
  • Prepared to work after hours and during weekends.
  • Must be located anywhere in Botswana.

Show your interest by sending an updated CV, certified copy of Omang and relevant certificate(s) to shabbatships@gmail.com on or before 12 July 2017, or call +267 316 74 25 for further information. shutterstock_193803650_1.jpg

Job Vacancy

LEGABIBO is looking for temporary replacement for the position of Office Cleaner.

Applicants must hold a minimum qualification of BGSCE.

Please note that preference will be given to LEGABIBO members.

All applications must be hand delivered or emailed on or before 14 July 2017, 17:00 hrs.

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

Click here to find out more: Cleaner_JD

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Identifying Injustice: Decriminalization of Section 164

Are you wondering why YOU need to come to the table and engage in talks to repeal Section 164 of the Botswana Penal Code?

Botswana’s Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights and freedoms of every person in Botswana, which includes LGBTI persons.

Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is not a crime in Botswana. However, two provisions in the Penal code of 1964 criminalizes same-sex sexual practices. Section 164 (a) and (c) classifies sexual acts between same sex couples as ‘carnal knowledge against the order of nature’ to which the penalty is imprisonment not exceeding seven years. Section 167 of the Penal code also terms same-sex sexual practices as acts of gross indecency regardless of where it happens (private or public).

  1. Criminalization strips LGBT of their dignity to live holistic lives as human beings; it strips us of the dignity enshrined in the right to privacy.
  2. Criminalization works against working solutions to achieve HIV programming goals for Key Populations identified by WHO, UNAIDS and the Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness. The continued criminalization of consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex is an onerous legal barrier in the context of HIV, diminishing access to health and HIV related services for LGBT persons in Botswana.
  3. LGBTI risk being arrested and imprisoned, violent encounters, abuse of all forms, stigmatization because perpetrators have criminalizing laws on their side. It leads to victimization and societal marginalization of already vulnerable populations, including LGBT persons, women who sex with women (WSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM) by perpetuating stigma, violence, harassment, blackmail and discrimination.
  4. Stigmatization and marginalization of LGBT people go unpunished, thus reinforcing prejudice from the public and service providers.
  5. The shame and humiliation of LGBT experiences in the media, public spaces, homes, work places and school settings is supported and reinforced by criminalization.
  6. Criminalization impairs development and poverty reduction. It hinders homosexuals to be players and competitors in the economy and work spaces.
  7. Criminalization results in LGBT living in constant fear of arrest, harassment, detention, prosecution, blackmail, extortion and conviction and surveillance.
  8. Criminalization makes LGBT people outlaws leaving no space both in public and private where people can simply be themselves.
  9. Criminalization denies us freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment and freedom prosecution.
  10. Our equality before the law and equal protection of the law is infringed by Section 164 of the Botswana Penal Code.

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By: LEGABIBO

For more information, please contact LEGABIBO on +267 317 74 25.

Heterosexual Involvement is Crucial in the Discourse of Sexual Diversity

By: @Boemo Phirinyane

Over the past few decades, homosexuality has moved from the margins of society to the mainstream. Even though some homosexuals have not come out of the closet, the issue of homosexuality has. The right to existence and self-determination is crucial for any group. Throughout the course of human civilization, oppressed groups have been in a constant fight to gain independence and recognition, from the fall of slavery to the end of colonialism. Human rights groups have been lobbying for legislative reform by governments across the world to legally accept homosexuals. Perhaps in this struggle, we have come across as being antagonistic to the already existing and dominant narrative of heterosexuality, which by far is the universally accepted form of sexual orientation. In the direction the world is taking, it is now time for the heterosexual group to recognize that their involvement is the discourse of sexual liberation is crucial.

Where exactly should the focal point be?

The lack of a focal point has downplayed the essence of homosexuality and reduced it to bigoted opinions and myths that have allowed the oppression of the LGBTI group to persist. Obviously homosexuality involves sex, but sex is really just a small part of homosexuality. Certainly there is sexual attraction but the larger issue is the emotional need of the person seeking sexual experience from someone of the same gender. A person seeking a homosexual experience is often looking for love, affirmation and acceptance. These are legitimate desires any human being is entitled to but somehow we seem to have only reserved this to heterosexuals.

Just like any other struggle of acceptance there must be a focal point, for slavery to fall, the discourse had to move to ‘‘black people exist and deserve to be granted access to full human rights that their white counterparts were already enjoying’’. The focal point must always lie not on denying the existence of a group but on how well to integrate them into the greater society. At this point it’s no longer a valuable argument to try and deny the LGBTI their basic human rights because we are still trying to solve the equation of what triggers one to be gay. The question is and must be how well we defend individual rights and liberties in a modern society. From there on we can be able to integrate any minority group that seeks liberation and recognition because the old and corrosive narratives that oppress individuals for benefit of society no longer apply.

Beyond Legal Recognition, Social Acceptance Is Crucial

Though it is now becoming a moral and public policy issue, beyond the existence of a legal framework, the real driving force behind stimulation of acceptance solely lies in the society itself (in most cases those in the majority) as they hold the necessary political capital to ensure that people are receptive to change. They control be it institutions that shape public opinion and have massive influence, they are crucial in that regard.

 

LGBTI must be integrated into social structures if we are to form a more inclusive and progressive society, and the only way to do so must not and cannot be through a court order but social buy in. Social narratives that are shaped only through imposition of legislation often at times have catastrophic ramifications as they are met with resistance.

Societies across the world are now starting to see the need for inclusion as they realize that the opportunity cost of that is being cruel and inhumane. The pictures of gross abuse and violation coming out of Chechnya are not easy to ignore  as they question the heterosexuals to join the course not only in condemning but seeing the need to grant all the right to align with any sexuality of their choice.

That can be consolidated in the thoughts of Owen Jones ‘‘Being Gay is regarded as the most sinful corruption of manliness. The Chechen prosecutors may not flinch as they break bones because they see them as a mortal threat to their own sense of masculinity’’

Role of Religious Institutions in the Course

This is one thought that never crosses the mind of most people that a church has a crucial role to play in the course of sexual liberation and diversity. This is because as Owen Jones argues being gay is regarded as the most sinful corruption of manliness. The onslaught of coverage makes homosexuality seem merely like another lifestyle. The purpose of engaging the church and religious institutions is to wear down those who have moral and religious objections.

Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen argue that ‘‘while public opinion is one primary source of mainstream values, religious authority is another’’. In progressive and inclusive societies, many liberal churches and denominations have been more than willing to publicly support gay and homosexual rights. The Episcopal Church of USA, United Methodist and Evangelical Lutheran Church have been at the forefront of this worthy course. This has been able to advance the rights and social acceptance of homosexuals. It has successfully managed to muddy the moral waters of gender and sexual orientation.

In ending, the successful defense of basic human rights for everyone regardless of their religion, race, and gender might seem like a foregone conclusion, but it is one of the long standing struggles that those who are  privileged  to not be going through overlook especially in the context of sexual orientation. But the truth of the matter is, we are all not free until the LGBTI is because when it comes to human dignity, we can’t make any compromises.

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NOTE: This article was first published in the Botswana Guardian

PRESS RELEASE: 2017 IDAHOT

To: All Media Houses

From: The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana

Date: 11 May 2017

RE: 2017 International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia – IDAHOT

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia – IDAHOT, is one of the most important dates to mobilize communities to protect, promote and defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. The date was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990. It removed homosexuality as a formal psychiatric diagnosis in 1992. IDAHOT is commemorated every year on the 17th May across the world.

The theme for the 2017 IDAHOT focuses on FAMILY. The role of families in the well-being of their LGBTI family members and the respect of the rights of LGBTI families (rainbow families). We hope that this year’s theme will:

– Strengthen the visibility and voice of LGBTI parents.

– Strengthen the visibility and voice of Rainbow families that would advance the recognition and rights of LGBTI persons.

– Strengthen the visibility, voice and support for children and relatives of LGBTI persons and creating a socially inclusive and non-discriminatory society

– Reclaim “family values” such as Botho; to progressively understand the need for humanity towards addressing LGBTI rights issues and those around them.

The Botswana community is very family oriented and all traditional gatherings and celebrations involves families. Family contributes to the core fiber of our being and existence. They are our source of love, protection and comfort. It is where tradition, norms and values are passed on from one generation to the next.

For many LGBTI in Botswana, the same cannot be said about this sentiment. Being an LGBTI person is still an enormous battle – it is emotionally draining, physically straining and economically challenging and contributes to various inner and outward conflicts in the daily lives of those in these situations. Working with the LGBTI community over the years has revealed that the family still needs a lot of awareness and understanding on diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity and the challenges faced by the LGBTI community.

We encourage Batswana to recognise that families are different and interact with one another differently. We have blended families, extended families, single parent families and even same – sex families. It is important that we support, accept, love and protect our LGBTI family members and at the same time extend this very same support, acceptance, love and protection to the family members of LGBTI individuals. It is imperative that the rights and well-being of LGBTI are recognised and respected by the family and the society at large.

We celebrate and acknowledge the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, other family members and friends who have stood proud to be champions of LGBTI human rights and continue to pledge their support and love to us. Le kamoso!

For further information, please contact Bradley Fortuin on +267 316 74 25 or dblfortuin@gmail.com.

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