by Loise Uugwanga and Talishi Werner

NAMIBIA’S lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender representatives want the government to address their concerns, including building alternative toilet facilities specifically for them.

The community representatives, known as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer plus (LGBTQ+), listed their other concerns such as discrimination for being different, and the threat of violence.

They implored the politicians who would win the upcoming national elections on 27 November to address the concerns from the LGBTQ+ community. However, some politicians contesting the upcoming national elections have already said they do not have a stance on LGBTQ+ concerns, while others consider it a private matter.

The chairperson of the Southern African Trans Forum, Deyoncè Naris, told the Namibia University of Technology (Nust) Echoes that she has been struggling to deal with verbal abuse such as name-calling and mocking when she uses public toilets.

Naris said she was at times denied access to public toilets because she is a transgender woman – a woman who was male at birth.

These behaviours and the lack of alternative toilet facilities, she stated, deprive them of their basic rights, and should be considered as serious discrimination as well as “an act of violence” against the LGBTQ+ community.

“Not being allowed to use a female toilet, which is my preferred toilet, is also a form of gender-based violence,” she argued.

Naris said legislators should thus redefine gender-based violence to include violence or discrimination against minority genders, adding that this was necessary because trans communities have always been excluded from mainstream anti-gender violence advocacy activities.

This is despite the fact that GBV is a human rights issue, and is not specific to the LGBTQ+ community.

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*This article was first published on 5 November 2019 through a partnership between The Namibian and the Namibia University of Science and Technology’s news service, Nust Echoes.

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