Discrimination against gay and lesbian people in Swaziland is rife and extends to workplaces, the churches and even on to the streets.
This has been revealed in a submission to the United Nations review on human rights in Swaziland.
HOOP (House of Our Pride), a support group for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Inter-sex (GLBTI) people, reported, ‘It is a common scene for GLBTI to be verbally insulted by by-passers in public places. [There is] defamatory name calling and people yelling out to see a LGBTI person’s reproductive part are some of the issues facing GLBTI in Swaziland.’
‘Faith houses have been known to discriminate against GLBTI, advocating for the alienation of GLBTI in the family and society, while maintaining that these GLBTI are possessed by demons.’
HOOP also says GLBTI people are often discriminated against at work and there have been well known cases of this.
In one of the first reports of its kind detailing sexual orientation discrimination in Swaziland, HOOP reveals, ‘GLBTI are hugely discriminated against in the community, as they are not recognized at community meetings and their points are often not minuted at these meetings nor are they allowed to take part in community services.’
Police often ridicule GLBTI people if they report they have been victims of violent crime. ‘A good example of such practices is in the on-going case of a well-known GLBTI in Swaziland, Patricia Dludlu, who is currently in incarceration for a different offence but is constantly ridiculed by the media and police because of her sexuality.’
HOOP is calling on the Swaziland Government to include GLBTI issues in its agenda ‘as this will help to increase the acceptance of GLBTI, even at community levels’.
It also wants GLBTI activities to be decriminalized and given due recognition in society.
It says, ‘The government of Swaziland should bring into place laws that protect GLBTI people’s rights at workplaces, social, faith and community gatherings and also protect their right to inherit their partner’s belonging, if willed to them on their partner’s passing away.’
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