LGBTIQ Inclusion

Corrective Rape
In 2008, a report by South Africa’s Human Rights Commission expressed alarm at the “growing phenomenon of ‘corrective’ rape” in schools across the country.121 The loaded term “corrective rape” refers to rape of gay women or men suspected of being gay as a form of “curing” them. Many question this terminology and seek to educate the media about the larger picture when covering this issue.122 'Corrective rape' has two dimensions: violence against women and homophobia. Campaigners say that 31 lesbians have been killed because of their sexuality in the past decade and more than ten lesbians per week are raped or gang-raped in Cape Town alone.123

In 2008, in the township of Kwathema, Eudy Similane was found dead – partially clothed, gang-raped, beaten and stabbed. Eudy played football for the South African national team Banyana Banyana and Springs Home Sweepers F.C. Those who knew her remembered her as talented, passionate and humble. She was a “voracious equality rights campaigner” and one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in Kwathema.124

Individuals experience their sexual orientation and gender identity as fundamental pieces of who they are—each person’s expression and identity are deserving of respect.118 Protecting the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Questioning (LGBTIQ) people around the world is a difficult task, but when it comes to young LGBTIQ people, there are even more challenges. In many countries young LGBTIQ people have little or no access to health services, protection against discrimination and violence, education and employment, and more. The lack of information and education on LGBTIQ issues among health staff combined with stigma and discrimination of LGBTIQ persons can have severe consequences on their SRHR. LGBTIQ persons many times lack access to health care that is adequately adjusted to their individual needs. Compounding the challenge are systems of patriarchy that making lesbians doubly repressed and at risk (as both women and sexual minorities), and this causes them to tend to hide their sexuality.119

Laws and policies are critical foundations for protection of sexual diversity. It is still against the law to be openly homosexual in many countries. However, cultural shift towards inclusion is of critical importance. Negative public attitudes towards homosexuality go hand in hand with a broader pattern of discrimination, violence, hatred, and extreme prejudice against people known or assumed to be lesbian, gay, and transgender, or those who violate gender and sexual norms in appearance or conduct (such as women playing soccer, dressing in a masculine manner, and refusing to date men120).

Work done with young people through programmes and interventions can help educate and create safe spaces for all participants, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTIQ people need services that address their health and are contextualised to their unique experience. Service providers often place judgement on LGBTIQ youth who attempt to access the SRHR services and information they require. In some cases, health service providers violate the right to confidentiality of LGBTIQ young people, thereby putting them at risk for public forms of discrimination, stigma and violence.

Sport programmes that are inclusive of or deliberately target the LGBTIQ community can help create safe spaces for participants to discuss challenges in their daily lives, access help when at risk, or develop advocacy campaigns to raise awareness in the community. Mixing participants that identify as LGBTIQ with other participants can help create strong bonds and change societal conceptions of that community. Sport programmes should be specifically aware of the dangers that participants can face in their culture or community when identifying as LGBTIQ. This may range from teasing, bullying and ostracism or corrective rape and death.

Useful Example – The Chosen Few
Acts of violence against women occur in South African townships at one of the highest rates in the world. Lesbians are especially at risk. Members of The Chosen Few, the country’s first all-lesbian soccer team, play and advocate for the rights of all. The team is comprised of 25 young black lesbians from townships in and around Johannesburg. Despite threats of violence, the athletes gather to practice and compete, feeling that they have a second family with the team, and, at least in one area of their lives, can feel free from fear.

Useful Example – Storytelling
At Moving the Goalposts (MTG) in Kenya, peer educators talk to girls about sexual diversity, including homosexuality and bisexuality. In one particular activity called “Understanding Sexuality”, peer educators read a story of two young people of the same gender who are attracted to each other and engage in affectionate acts. After the story is read, the girls are asked to discuss questions such as same-sex attraction, sexuality as a ‘choice,’ etc. This discussion is combined with an educational session where different sexual identities and expressions are covered factually, non-emotionally and without judgement.

Useful Example – First South Asian LGBTI Sports Festival
In 2012, Nepal staged Asia’s first ever multi-sport games for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The two-week event at the national football stadium and other venues around Kathmandu featured Nepali participants in track and field, volleyball, football, martial arts and tennis. The event was organised by the Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s leading gay rights group. Asia already stages the "Asia-Pacific Outgames," another multi-sport gay event, but this has only been hosted in New Zealand and Australia.

Useful Example – It Takes a Team!
The Women’s Sports Foundation is committed to creating an athletic environment that is respectful and safe for all people and eliminating barriers to all girls being active and healthy. It Takes A Team! Education Campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Issues in Sport is an education project focused on eliminating homophobia as a barrier to all women and men participating in sport. Their primary goals are to develop and disseminate practical educational information and resources to athletic administrators, coaches, parents and athletes at the high school and college levels to make sport safe and welcoming for all. The ‘It Takes A Team’ educational DVD kit includes a 15-minute video, discussion and action guides, ‘Safe Space’ stickers, posters and a list of resources addressing LGBT issues in sport. The kit establishes five basic rights of all athletes and coaches:125

  • Safety from physical and verbal harassment or violence.
  • Fair treatment in all aspects of programming.
  • Equal access to all aspects of programming.
  • Support for developing positive self-esteem and acceptance of others.
  • Education about social diversity, prejudice and discrimination.

Adolescent Girl Life Skills: