The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexual of Botswana (LEGABIBO) has published a compilation of LGBTI stories from across Botswana entitled Dipolelo Tsa Rona (Our Stories), a book which is expected to bring the nation into the world of LGBTI groups.
The book, which will be launched this Friday, is made up of stories of LGBTI struggles in Botswana as well as love, joy, despair, tenacity and hope. In an environment perceived to be still hostile to these groups, LEGABIBO is hopeful that these stories will augment their efforts to fight for their liberation, recognition and respect for their rights.
A recently released Afro Barometer report estimates that at least 43% of Batswana are not opposed to homosexuals, ranking the country among the most tolerant on the continent. LEGABIBO says they are still hopeful of a tolerant nation that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
“In three other countries, more than 40% of citizens say they are not opposed to having homosexual neighbours, with Mauritius at 49%, Sao Tome and Principe at 46% and Botswana at 43%,” says the report. LEGABIBO communication and documentation official, Bradley Fortuin told Mmegi, that the book will help raise awareness, recognition and acknowledgement, as well as the lived
“We are proud to share this with the nation, policymakers, religious leaders and many other stakeholders,” he said, further adding that the book will be launched at the LEGABIBO offices in Block 8.
The LGBTI have not had it easy in Botswana. Their main struggle has been the government’s refusal to register their organisation on the grounds that it exists to engage in illegal acts. The group challenged the refusal and won the case in court.
The book will document a lot of what they have gone through, further expressing their views, fears and hopes going into the future. “The stories were written by the LGBTI communities and coming from the horses’ mouths. They should inspire and influence change and development,” Fortuin said.
When asked whether the religious leaders have confirmed their availability, Fortuin said not yet. Pastors have on several occasions snubbed their invitations for dialogue owing to their position that being gay is a sin before God.