Homophobia, transphobia still prevalent in Namibia

19 May 2020 | Local News

CHELVA WELLS

WINDHOEK



Homophobia and transphobia are still prevalent in Namibia as the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community face constant onslaughts of prejudice and oppression.

Namibians need to start being honest with themselves by admitting that the country is still an extremely homophobic nation.

This according to LGBT human rights-based organisation Out-Right Namibia's advocacy and communications officer, Ndiilo Nthengwe. In an interview with Nampa on Monday, she said that admission demands that Namibians have a national baptism of some sort for radical introspection and reform to occur “so that they can realise as a nation that we all deserve to live freely and safely”.



More than one fight

“We are fighting for land right now. We are fighting corruption right now, as if all these problems are isolated from the community's collective experiences from our government, and as if all these problems exist on a timeline with deadlines,” she said.

Nthengwe further said the significance of this year's theme 'Breaking the Silence' for the International Day against Homophobia, which is celebrated annually on 17 March, puts emphasis on why it is important to address the stigma and discrimination faced.

“Breaking the silence in this respect means confronting stigma through institutional advocacy to uproot these attitudes. Breaking the silence within all relational dynamics to amplify the voices of victims and movements within the community across the globe remains important and necessary,” she said.



Leading movement

Nthengwe said as the leading LGBT+ movement in the country, their role is seminal for future milestones they aim to reach that centre around the challenges the community faces.

This is why they constantly engage partners and stakeholders on the importance of visibility and celebration of the community, she said.

“Currently we are partnered with stakeholders to ensure that community members are referred to the right and safe institutions to access health and legal services.

“We have a legal committee that advises and deals with any forms of human rights cases and, in addition, we offer counselling sessions to victims of institutional and domestic violence, amongst other services,” she said.

Out-Right Namibia has established branches across the country with regional coordinating counsellors who respond to health and advocacy-related services in the Khomas, Erongo, //Karas and Oshana regions.

-NAMPA

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