The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV (BONELA) commends the unwavering of the assistant minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlhogile Tshireletso. Mma Tshireletso has over the years come out in favour of the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In a media article entitled “Tshireletso calls for acceptance of homosexuals” published by the Mmegi Newspaper dated 22 February 2016, she calls for an end to the discrimination of the LGBT in Botswana.
It is time that the Botswana community talks about issues surrounding lesbians and gays. She said that “Batswana are ready to talk about some of these things because we they want to be as tolerant society”. BONELA would like to reaffirm her words and as part of creating a tolerant society, BONELA has had a series of dialogues with key members of the society; these include political, religious and traditional leaders on issues that affect the LGBT society. It is key that they are involved as they help to influence public opinions. BONELA aims to continue to engage public leaders in the discussions surrounding LGBT with the aim of having more public leaders speak out for the Botswana LGBT community.
BONELA agrees that it is time for Batswana to talk about homosexuality to ensure that no one is left behind when it comes to policies and laws that affects Batswana including the LGBT community, especially in the health care where LGBT are prone to stigma and discrimination.
One should not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, just as much as one should not be discriminated against because of one’s religion, language and ethnic background. She said that under the Vision 2016 pillar of ‘A Moral and Tolerant Nation’, Batswana have indicated that by 2016, they do not want to feel discriminated against in terms of their freedom to choose what they want to do with their lives. BONELA also commends Rre Pius Mokgware for adding his support that one cannot be discriminated because of their sexual orientation.
BONELA would like to call on more leaders to add their voices in support of the LGBT in Botswana and encourage Batswana to practice tolerance and non stigma and discrimination towards the LGBTI.
Mr. Caine Youngman (BONELA LGBTI Advocacy Officer)
Tel: +267 393 25 16 / +267 72 36 25 54
Mr. Bradley Fortuin (BONELA LGBTI Communications Officer)
Tel: +267 393 25 16 / +267 72 45 08 25