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Linda Baumann
Lesbian and HIV/AIDS

in WORLD, 06/09/2006

Positive Living LBT Women in Africa

"My presentation will look at Positive living LBT women in Africa. I believe the term “positive living” when it comes to health is associated with HIV/Aids. Basically for this presentation I have decided to divide the term “Positive living” into two.

One: People who approach their lives positively with renewed vigor and energy despite the virus. The emphasis here is on focusing on self- worth, optimism and dignity. Two: People who live with the virus.

I come from a country with a population of 1.8 million and we are ranked the fifth highest HIV/AIDS country in the world. This is a clear indication that the lgbt community is infected and highly at risk.

In Africa there is very little research done about LBT women and it is very difficult for me to give you references on research that was done. Information on LBT safer sex and transmission is also very scarce.

It is clear that Africa has a lot of HIV/Aids organisations and these organisations are not inclusive on lgbt issues and are not making any effort to understand lgbt issues.

Most of the organisations that are dealing with health issues in Africa are mostly focusing on Gay men’s health (MSM). The reason for this is that people do not see LBT women’s health as alarming.

In Africa LBT women live a double life. What do I mean by this a double life? Double life means that though these women identify themselves as either lesbian, bisexual or transgender… culturally it is not accepted and women are expected to behave and dress in a certain way. They also feel safe being in a heterosexual relationship since the political situation does not allow them to live freely. Most of the lgbt people are coming from conservative religious and cultural backgrounds and this results in psychological conflict..."

- Read more by clicking the Word document above -

Presentation held by Linda Baumann, Information Officer at the 'The Rainbow Project', Namibia, during ILGA’s 23rd World Conference in Geneva.

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