Botswana LGBTI meet to discuss discrimination within the community

Last weekend members of Gaborone’s LGBTI community met to thrash out differences amongst themselves which they felt have been caused by discrimination within the LGBTI community.

They met on Saturday April 14 in the small town of Tlokweng, almost 12km from Gaborone under the auspices of the Rainbow Identity Association.

The RIA provided a safe space for an informal but vital exchange of ideas and opinions within the community.

Such dialogues are useful for the LGBTI community who often meet during formal events such as HIV/Aids workshops organised by other stakeholders.

One of the objectives of the weekend dialogue was to increase awareness among the LGBTI community and to talk about key community concerns and to unite the community away from the usual social, political and geographical divides in Gaborone.

One of the topics discussed was the reason for discrimination within the LGBTI community.

A Trans man, who has children said he felt “discriminated against by the by the LGB community saying “How can I say am a man when I have biological kids that I conceived.”

He said because of his gender fluidity “some gay men discriminate against me and call me lesbian just because I am dating a femme gay guy.”

Pre Trans men said they felt discriminated against by the lesbian community and that they were forced to identify as lesbians because they still showed the biological characteristics of women.

Trans women said they felt discriminated against by the gay community which accuses them of having deserted the community and in order to conform to society.

Partners of Trans men argued that they felt discriminated against by the LGBT community as they have never identified with any of the acronyms.

On how they hoped to solve these problems of discrimination and misunderstandings amongst themselves, participants said more education was necessary within the LGBTI community. The transgender community was asked to be patient with the lesbians and gays when they sought information about transitioning.

At the talks it was felt that there is a need for collaboration between LeGaBiBo (Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana) and Rainbow Identity on the subject of discrimination.

One participant, Trompise Tlhako said, “As the LGBTI community we need to acknowledge our identities to help other understand who we are, we should not be shy when people ask us “are you gay?”

She said, “If we deny our identity it means we have low self-esteem and this could cause self destruction and that is why many end up destroying themselves by abusing alcohol.”


  1. says

    When people come into the gay community, or become an active part of the LGBTI or LGBTQ community, they often come with all the emotional baggage that society has engrossed in them. Not all but at least the majority of LGBTI come with some sort of society based bias. With the Butch or masculine gay men, it’s following a archetype, one that the heterosexual main stream is all to eager to ingrain. For lesbians it’s similarly following the same mother complex archetype albeit to a different degree than their gay counter parts. It is up to the LGBTI community as a whole to do some self-analysis and evaluate these archetypes and what they mean to us, their acquisition and basis. sadly not everyone can view their own short-comings from a neutral perspective, let alone allow others to openly criticize them. Until this occurs there will always be division within the community.

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