| Dillion Phiri | 15 July, 2016
Colours of Cape Town
Solidarity with the LGBTI refugee community
PASSOP is hosting a community-building and awareness-raising event on Saturday July 23rd. The aim is to promote understanding and tolerance, as well as further the integration of LGBTI refugees into the larger LGBTI community here in Cape Town. Our hope is that the event will encourage LGBTI refugee rights activism, empower the community, and be educational for those outside the community. The latter being extremely important for the safety of this very marginalized population. There will be an array of speakers:
-People who work directly with the community speaking on the specific challenges LGBTI refugees face
-LGBTI refugees who will selflessly share their personal stories
-Community leaders who will promote the message of empowerment
We will also showcase an exhibition of award winning photographer Robin Hammond’s “Where Love is Illegal” project. http://
The event will be free and open to the public. Among those encouraged to attend will be: Police, Department of Home Affairs, Department of Labor, community leaders, church leaders, LGBTI organizations, and South African media.
FREE ENTRY, FREE FOOD, CASH BAR
A little about LGBTI refugee/asylum seekers in South Africa:
In many African countries, LGBTI people are persecuted because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Homosexuality is illegal in 38 of the 54 African countries, and four countries enforce the death penalty for persons who identify as homosexual or transgender. African LGBTI people in extreme danger in their home country flee to South Africa to find refuge, as their constitution is the most progressive in the region. However, the lived reality after arrival is far from desirable.
LGBTI refugees face extreme challenges after relocating to South Africa. They are doubly marginalized, as they are not accepted into their own refugee communities because of their sexual orientation/gender identity nor are they accepted into LGBTI communities because they are foreigners. They encounter homophobia, xenophobia, violence, discrimination, and abuse by the general population, their own refugee communities, as well as the police and government officials. They struggle to find employment due to lack of proper documentation (which is often denied to them based on their sexual orientation/gender identity) or they are fired once their sexuality (or in some cases HIV status) is revealed. Many are kicked out of shelters, rejected from housing, and denied medical services all because of homophobia.
This must end.
A little about PASSOP:
Hello! We are People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP). PASSOP is a community-based non-profit organization and grassroots movement that works to protect and promote the rights of all refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in South Africa. We work to create and strengthen networks of communication, dialogue and interchange for the advancement of peace, understanding and justice in local communities. Our mission is to empower communities to stand up and express their beliefs, needs and fears freely and access the rights they are entitled to. PASSOP believes that this can be achieved through basic rights education, activism, integration and community participation.