…the LGBTQ community
June is recognised as pride month, a month in which the LGBTQ community advocates to increase awareness against discrimination extended towards them on the basis of their sexual orientation.
LGBTQ in an initialism used by members of the community to describe themselves in a departure from the well- known phrase “gay” which is believed not to be inclusive of all members of the non-heterosexual community. The acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transsexual and Queer ( or people questioning their identity ) people.
While stigmatisation remains the order of the day for members of this community, the fall out seems to indicate an increase in suicide, depression, the use of illegal drugs and risky sex. But in a discovery that surprised us, stigma is a reality even in the community itself.
Speaking to an anonymous source earlier this week, The Lounge discovered that notably bi-sexual people are subjected to prejudice among the LGBTQ community and they are often described as going through “just a phase” or as people who are incapable of making a decision or worse they are described as “incapable of monogamy”.
While the LBGTQ community is becoming more visible in Namibia, as The Lounge we found it easy to interview a person who describe themselves as either gay or lesbian. Bi-sexuals seem to be few and far between. Comments abound about members being judgemental which is attributed to jealousy.
Bi-sexual people claim to be victims of double jeopardy as they are then forced to hide from both the heterosexual and LBGTQ community. According to our source “there is so much room for them to come out, but they do not come out because we all still need to be taught the importance of respect. Also we need to move away from certain cultural beliefs and ideas that we have about people and how they act before they can be accepted”.
The harsh treatment meted out by the LGBTQ community at times put on each other contributes to the discrimination.
“At times, this is unfortunate because people will do anything to get other people to like them. While we advocate for other people to accept us from the outside we should also learn to clean up our own LGBTQ community, because whether we like it or not hatred exists among us”.
Another vocal advocate for the LGBTQ community, Adriano Visagie also contributed the topic of discrimination.
“I do not see why any member of LGBTQ community should be treated differently whether the back lash comes from people of the LGBTQ community themselves or heterosexuals in general, because in the end we are all human”.
Visagie who is an actor, radio DJ and writer recently sought to engage audiences in a variety of shows across Windhoek, which he utilised to increase awareness on LGBTQ. One of the shows was entitled ‘Just Tina’ which took place last month at the Warehouse Theatre.
‘Just Tina’ is said to have been created for the sole purpose of giving attention to the LGBTQ community because many of them feel neglected. The main aim of the show was specifically aimed to raise awareness to benefit the LGBTQ group who find themselves at the hands of Gender Based Violence (GBV), a situation which is common among many of them.
A very passionate Visagie noted that discrimination against any person whether they black, white, Asian, bisexual, straight, gay, queer, transgender or lesbian is not acceptable in any form.
Visagie believed that people need to realise that humans have a choice and people should learn to respect the next person’s boundaries regardless of their sexual preferences.
“Whether someone chooses to be the way they want to be, people should learn to appreciate them and respect them.
Visagie noted that Namibians tend to be ignorant and intolerant as far as matter of LGBTQ people are concerned and make it a taboo without even giving the community an opportunity to be themselves.
“What I mean by this is that we see that there is a need to avail certain facilities such as toilets that can cater for LGBTQ, it is unfortunate that there aren’t any. Namibians are very sceptical about LGBTQ people’s way of life, but feel the need to be accepted for their own way of life.
I do not see the reason as to why LGBTQ people should be treated differently nor as to why they treat one another differently, because it ought not to be that way. We need to move away from the idea that anyone within the community is different, because the only thing that is different is that each group chooses a different partner to go to bed with”.
He further encouraged the LGBTQ community to move away from the labelling of people.
“I for one do not like the labelling of people in the community. We are all human and should be seen that way. Of course, it is okay to name them individually but it should not be defined as such.
We also need to start preaching to those who are not aware of what is really happening and also try to teach people that when it comes to LGBTQ community”.