LGBTIQ Africa Initiative

A Matter of Life and Death: African LGBTIQ Organizations Tackle HIV and AIDS in Perilous Times

Support community-based LGBTQ organizationsLGBTIQ communities in sub-Saharan African countries are under attack. In country after country, they are persecuted, discriminated against, harassed, beaten, jailed, subjected to ‘corrective rape’, and their very lives are criminalized and threatened. In more than 30 out of 54 countries in Africa, laws are maintained that criminalize consensual sex between men, and 24 maintain laws that apply to women.

It is against this backdrop of hostility and violence that LGBTIQ communities struggle to survive, to claim and secure their Human Rights, to live with dignity and without fear, and to address the scourge of HIV and AIDS.

African LGBTIQ organizations are engaged in one of the most urgent human rights struggles today.

They work with tenacity and courage to combat discrimination and stigma, using the law and advocacy to claim their human rights. They deliver life-saving services: from mobile HIV clinics, to peer support groups and care for HIV positive members of their community. They often have to use ‘code numbers’ to identify clients and members, in order to protect them from being identified and subjected to harassment, detainment or beatings, and store staff information (CVs, names, and so on) offsite, to preserve anonymity and security in case their offices are raided. And in the midst of the struggle, despite inadequate resources and real danger, indefatigable activists simply refuse to give up on the struggle for freedom and justice.

The SLF is determined to stand with them.

About the SLF's LGBTIQ Africa Initiative

The Stephen Lewis Foundation is responding with a sense of urgency to the need for HIV and AIDS services for LGBTIQ communities in sub-Saharan Africa with the LGBTIQ Africa Initiative, launched in 2017. Last year, the LGBTIQ Africa Initiative supported 16 organizations in 5 countries.

Many LGBTIQ organizations are, by necessity, forced into the position of using the majority of their budget on the struggle for human rights and on security. This leaves critical HIV and AIDS services for their vulnerable populations severely under-resourced.

The SLF’s LGBTIQ Africa Initiative will ensure that determined and courageous LGBTIQ organizations are able to provide their communities with desperately needed programmes and services by:

  • Providing funding for life-saving and life-enhancing HIV and AIDS-related programmes run by these grassroots organizations
  • Providing operational/administrative costs for organizations to support their security and sustainability
  • Providing opportunities for peer-to-peer mentoring, learning, and strategizing in a safe environment for all participating community-based LGBTQ organizations, and
  • Providing emergency resources for organizations that need support in order to continue their work

To support the LGBTIQ Africa Initiative, go to Partners In Pride.


LGBTIQ organizations in Africa reporting human rights abuses linked to COVID-19 May 19, 2020

Stephen Lewis Foundation / Canada, Press release

World will survive COVID-19 only if 'swift action' taken to help Africa, UN humanitarian says March 25, 2020

Matt Galloway and Idella Sturino, Toronto, Canada, CBC Radio: The Current

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