Health support services for LGBTI community in the greater KwaZulu-Natal Midlands

Published: August 1, 2008

Health support services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexed LGBTI community in the greater KwaZulu-Natal Midlands

Issues: South Africa has a progressive constitution with regards to sexual orientation as well as enabling legislation, recently enacted was same sex marriages/civil unions act. Despite this, social and institutional reality is not in line with constitution and legislation, as it is marked by imbalances, discriminatory attitudes, practices and beliefs. While legislative and policy provision promote equality, non-discrimination, and protecting the right to choose are in place, marginalisation and violation of rights based on one’s sex, gender, and sexuality and HIV status continue.

Description: Pietermaritzburg Gay and Lesbian Network (PGLN) has provided much time, resources and effort to respond to various issues impacting on their target community, particularly underlying factors related to HIV/AIDS in LGBTI communities in the greater KwaZulu Natal Midlands. Key issues LGBTI faces in the greater KwaZulu Natal Midlands are:
– social discrimination, exclusion and stigma
– violence: both verbal (hate speech) and physical assault ( includes rape and murder)
– lack of access to services, and inadequate support from: – police services, legal services and health services (around HIV/ AIDS)
This paper/poster will report on PGLN strategies aimed at:
– improving mental, emotional and physical well-being of LGBTI*
– enhance LGBTI people’s capacity to actively engage in the social, economic and political life of their communities and of society in general
– critically assess various challenges based on, and in the context of HIV and LGBTI
– Influence societal attitudes and practices towards LGBTI people such that social space for LGBTI people is broadened.

Lessons learned:

Next steps: Focus of this presentation will be the setting up and operation of support groups and a telephonic helpline that provides callers with a range of information, advice and supportive counselling on LGBTI issues and referrals to those grappling with issues related to their sexual orientation and its link to HIV/ AIDS.

-Abstract available at link below-

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