Namibia should respect LGBTQ rights

16 November 2018
Author   Marlyn Sande
I see it every day in our communities and social lives, where people are faced with violence and discrimination because of who they love, how they look, or who they are. 
This is the everyday concern of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community that are justifiably living in fear, as they have to borne the brunt of criticism, repulsion, and stigmatism and it still continues unabated in Namibia.
So, I’m gay so what? You are straight so what? Are there any rules forbidding gay or lesbian citizens in Namibia from getting jobs the same way the so called straight citizens in the Land of the Brave do?
I personally don’t think so. We should stop acting shocked and surprised about a friend or family member coming out of the closet and revealing who they really are and where they feel a sense of belonging in the society. 
It is high time people stop suffering widespread discrimination and abuse both in public and family settings ,and be treated with respect like everyone else.
Why must it be hard just to accept people for who they really are? Is it because people don’t accept themselves on varying levels and don’t want others to have freedom of choice.
Or is it because people are frightened of what they don’t understand?  It is our ugly human nature to destroy what scares us.
I heard of an incident where a Mother of a young woman organized a mob to beat up her daughter and her female friends because she suspected they were lesbians.  It sounds absurd, but these kinds of things are not unusual in a generally homophobic, judgmental, and hypocritical society.
People actually think that by beating up someone will force them to change their sexual orientation.
No one is more vicious against a gay person than someone who hates their own natural inclinations and lives in denial.
The LGBTQ community feels barbs of bias in their everyday activities. This discrimination leaves people feeling unsafe and unwelcomed.  Most LGBTQ people I have spoke to, have confirmed that they are given no choice but to deny who they really are, they feel forced to remain in the closet, living a lie.
I completely understand their choice.  The vast majority of Namibian people are largely Neanderthal in their ability to understand something different from what they believe; they refuse to live and let live.   They wave their fists and declare:  “live according to my standards, or else!”  This is sad, but true.  So, why court disaster and be ruined just to make a point? 
Sexual orientation and gender identity are integral aspects of who we are and should never lead to discrimination or abuse.
There are cases of lesbians who are raped by men with the perception that such a vicious act of domination and violence will “make her a real woman.”   This does happen right here in Namibia.
Family, friends and the Namibian society at large should be supportive and without being judgmental or at least neutral about people who have other needs and life choices. 
I have seen a lot of LGBTQ men and women who work hard and contribute to the community as well as the economic growth of the country, just like any other man or woman does. It’s not easy for a parent to find out about their child’s sexual orientation.  This can lead to parents being surprised and respond negatively to their own child, but yet it’s never good to posses a bad attitude towards those that are seen as violating societal expectations.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity should be banned in Namibia, The Government should recognize that gays are human beings too, with dignity and should not be treated as outcast in their own society, Because yes! LGBT makes up the Namibian society too, LGBT in Namibia should have the same protection from Government as everyone else does, the states should work towards addressing the stigma that subjects people to violence in their own homes, the place they should feel safest, although laws alone can not secure freedom of expression, We as a whole should advocate for laws and policies that will protect everyone’s dignity and everyone should enjoy their rights fully.
Public health professionals and educators should develop effective school-based interventions to reduce prejudice and stigma against gays and lesbians, if programs could be set up to deal with this issue, we shall have a loving Namibia.
With these programs, I am sure we‘ll greatly decrease the number of violence taking place every day. A country working together is yet to prosper in many great ways.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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