Gay community gradually finding acceptance among Batswana

02nd March 2018
Bradley Fortuin Source:[]

In recent years the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) community is becoming more visible and accepted by Botswana’s population. This was said by organisers of the annual Batho Ba Lorato film festival in an interview with The Midweek Sun. The festival, now on its sixth year, is aimed at informing, educating and celebrating sexual and gender diversity. The festival was hosted by the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGAGIBO), the advocacy organisation at the forefront of promoting awareness and acceptance of LGBTI community, with the support of the German, Goeth Institite, that supports cultural exchanges. According to one of the organisers of the film festival and communication officer for LEGAGIBO Bradley Fortuin, the reception has been positive.

He indicated that Batswana were warming up to homosexuals and were becoming comfortable with accepting them and engaging in dialogue on homosexuality in the society. He pointed out that the film festival had grown in leaps and bounds due to the public interest and willingness to engage the community in the society. “When we started out we held it at University of Botswana but we have now moved to New Capitol Cinema, a move that marks growth. We are getting a lot of support and we are seeing many people being open about their sexuality, and trying to understand the struggles that homosexuals deal with.” The film festival, which is free to the public, included discussion on different topics related to the gay community and most prominently, featured films such as Inxeba:

The Wound, which has been banned in mainstream cinemas across neighbouring South Africa. Fortuin said they had been in touch with the producers of the controversial film who helped them bring it here. “We screened the film since it has not been banned in Botswana,” he said. He added that it was sometimes important to engage the public on “uncomfortable” issues that go against the grain. Fortuin said that unlike before, there were now several platforms for homosexuals and their families to get support. “We are seeing many people coming out of the closet and expressing their sexual identity,” he said. Fortuin insisted that although homosexuality was still taboo in some aspects of society, it was nothing new but it was only now that people were beginning to come out and express their sexual identity freely.

Botswana is one of the countries that do not recognise homosexuality, however, unlike in other African countries there have not been cases of violence and killings of homosexuals. Homosexuality is still considered taboo and unnatural in “conservative and traditional” Botswana. According to Botswana law, same-gender sexual activities are illegal. However, in recent years there have been hallmark changes, including the court ruling in 2016 that ordered that the LGBT community be allowed to register their organisation. Last year, the courts ruled that at least two transgender individuals be allowed to change their gender markers.

One of them, Ricki Kgositau, who waged a landmark case against government, got married to her Congolese partner in Cape Town, South Africa, last year. Kgositau was born male but fully transitioned into a woman two years ago. Homosexuals in Botswana also faced wrath in 2016 when US based Faithful Word Baptist Church controversial leader Pastor Steven Anderson, who had come to Botswana on a visit, insulted gays and referred to them as cockroaches. He was subsequently kicked out of the country. In a separate incident, opposition politician Haskins Nkaigwa came under fire after he allegedly said that “homosexuals took all the plum corporate jobs in Botswana,” implying that economic homosexuality was the order of the day in the country. In both cases, LEGAGIBO issued strongly worded statements to criticise the continued attack on homosexuals. A

Latest News

Newsletter Subscription

      Subscribe Now      

Website designed & developed by DigitalHorn © 2016