Home » Human Rights » Gays and Lesbians Celebrate Own Rights Day

ZIMBABWE’s gays and lesbians’ community on Saturday took time to commemorate the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia at a private function in Harare.

During the event, Dutch ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Gera Sneller implored President Robert Mugabe’s government to “move with the times” through allowing the beleaguered community to enjoy its full rights.

In her welcoming remarks at the event, organized by her government, Ambassador Sneller quickly said her actions were not in any way aimed at antagonising the Zimbabwean government, a g critic of homosexuality, but to assist such vulnerable groups to realise their rights.

“I feel that the entire discussion around the LGBTI people is still sensitive in Zimbabwe, so we have to be careful as many of the people have said they experience discrimination, exclusion and we do not want to push the issue,” she said.

“We want to be quiet about it. It is about the LGBTI people who live in the society which does not accept them and we want to help them to claim their rights as citizens of Zimbabwe and as citizens of this world and to fully enjoy the rights that were given to them in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Zimbabwe is also a member.”

However, while her remarks could be welcome to the local gay community, it was highly unlikely President Robert Mugabe, a rabid critic of gays, would welcome them.

President Mugabe said during the Independence Day commemorations last, month he would expel foreign diplomats who try to promote gay activities in the country.

Gays and lesbians, a tiny community in Zimbabwe, have been cautious in their approach of matters following constant harassment by the State.

Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) director Chesterfield Samba said they deliberately chose to make their commemorations a purely private event fearing a backlash from the state.

The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia is commemorated worldwide and was set aside to draw the attention of political leaders, public, media and policy makers to the alarming

human rights situation faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community the world over.

Homophobia is the irrational fear and hostility towards lesbian, gay and bisexual people directed at their sexual orientation whilst transphobia is fear and hostility directed towards the gender identity of those that identify as transgender.

Source : New Zimbabwe