Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lesbian Pride in Soweto..................

Lesbian Pride on Full Display in Soweto
Lesbians marched through the streets of the Soweto township in South Africa for Soweto Pride Day in an environment where they are often victims of sexual violence, IOLNews reports.

Thousands of black lesbians were due to take to the streets of Soweto today to celebrate their sexuality and humanity at the annual Soweto Pride Day.

Soweto Pride, which was initiated in 2004 by the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), aims to promote tolerance of sexual diversity in the township.

The event will also commemorate and honour Soweto’s fallen victims and survivors of crimes motivated by prejudice – including migrants facing xenophobic violence and other minority groups that are stigmatised and discriminated against.

Soweto Pride is held every year on the Saturday closest to Heritage Day, and includes a lively protest march from the streets of Zone Two Meadowlands and through the residential and business areas of Soweto.

A political programme at the end-point is followed by a cultural programme to celebrate the struggles and victories of black lesbians, as the broader women’s movement and as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Community, religious and political leaders have been invited to denounce hate crimes in their speeches at the event. These were to be followed by various activities, including an exhibition and voluntary counselling and testing.

Soweto Pride is also an occasion for the lesbian community to continue to create a political and social space for its visibility and to amplify its voice.

According to FEW’s programme co-ordinator, Phindi Malaza, the event is an opportunity for the broader community to express its solidarity and support of lesbians.

“The goal of Soweto Pride is to ensure that lesbians residing in the township no longer fall victim to homophobic attacks or any other crime. We want lesbians to feel safe and protected during this day and beyond,” says Malaza.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

UPR Kenya United Nations Human Right Council Geneva

UPR Kenya United Nations Human Right Council Geneva

15th Session of the Human Rights Council
Item 6: Universal Periodic Review – Statement by
Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD)

Mr. President,

ACPD with Minority Women in Action, the Coalition of African Lesbians and Pan Africa ILGA, wishes to stress the following points in relation to the Universal Periodic Review of Kenya:

We welcome the State’s support on various recommendations including the promise to review national laws to fully uphold the principle of non-discrimination, eradicate the use of torture and ill-treatment by public officials and take effective measures to safeguard the work of human rights defenders. We also recall the State’s ratification of various international and regional human rights instruments including the protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the rights of women in Africa.

However, we express disappointment that the Kenyan government has rejected recommendations to take measures to provide for the protection and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. The criminalization of consensual same-sex conduct encoded in Sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code fuels stigma, discrimination and violence against sexual minorities. Human rights are universal, inalienable and inherent. These principles apply to all citizens of Kenya including lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex Kenyans.

The importance of human rights was emphasized by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in a high-level panel at the current session of the Human Rights Council who said:

“No doubt deeply rooted cultural sensitivities can be aroused when we talk about sexual orientation. Social attitudes run deep and take time to change. But cultural considerations should not stand in the way of basic human rights.”

LGBTI Kenyans are repeatedly discriminated against and continue to face threats and violence as well as torture, ill-treatment and harassment at the hands of public authorities simply because of who we are and who we love. We regret the silence of the State in the face of these violations, such as in the highly publicized attach on 12 February, 2010 in Mtwapa targeting homosexual individuals that saw organized physical violence, life threats and hate speech.

In this dawn of a new constitutional dispensation, we urge the State of Kenya to seize this moment and respect, protect and fulfill the rights of all Kenyans including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. Our rights, the rights of LGBTI people, are human rights.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


A microbe-killing gel for use during vaginal sex developed by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) has been praised by experts at the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna as a breakthrough that may lead to similar products being developed for use during anal sex.

The gel contains 1 percent of the antiretroviral drug Tenofovir and was found to reduce a woman’s risk of being infected with HIV during vaginal intercourse by 39 percent, as well as being 51 percent effective in reducing her risk of catching genital herpes.

The more the women in the trial used the gel, the greater the protective effect, with women who used it in 80 percent of sex acts more than halving their chances of becoming infected with HIV.

The results were cheered by members of the International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA) group, a network of people trying to develop an effective anal microbicide for use in combating HIV.

“The positive results from the CAPRISA 004 study represent a very significant milestone in HIV prevention research and they increase optimism that we can develop safe and effective antiretroviral rectal microbicides,” IRMA’s scientific vice-chair Dr Ian McGowan said.

Dr McGowan said anal intercourse was a common human sexual behaviour, practised by up to 10 percent of the world’s population, including both heterosexuals and men who have sex with men.

“As with vaginal microbicides, safe and effective rectal microbicides are urgently needed by millions of people,” he said.

Unprotected anal intercourse is said to be 10 to 20 times more likely to result in HIV transmission compared to unprotected vaginal intercourse, because of the thin and porous nature of the rectal lining.

IRMA chair Jim Pickett said internationally, gay men and others who practised anal intercourse had been largely ignored.

“There is a paucity of data regarding anal intercourse, homosexual and heterosexual, due to politics, stigma, criminalisation, and outright denial,” he said.