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Africa: Families are a major source of abuse for gay women and trans people

More than half of the people in the African continent who took part in the two-year “Out of the Margins” survey said they had experienced physical abuse at the hands of family members.

According to the analysis that reviewed 24 African countries, Britain’s leading LGBT+ rights organisation Stonewall found out that in Africa, many people are more likely to suffer violence from relatives than from strangers.

The report noted that family members are often the main perpetrators of abuse against lesbians, bisexual women and transgender people, according to the major global report published yesterday.

LGBTQ refugees from South Sudan, Uganda and DR Congo walk to a protest to demand protection at the UNHCR office in Nairobi, Kenya. They claim to have fled from Kenya's Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps to avoid life-threatening incidents. Image credit Yasuyoshi Chiba, AFP via Getty Images

In Venezuela and Zimbabwe, all of the trans men who were surveyed reported attacks by relatives. For example, mothers in Venezuelan families were cited as the main aggressors by 71% of bisexuals and 48% of lesbians.

“Out of the Margins”, which also conducted reports on nations including Trinidad and Tobago, Montenegro, Burundi and Peru, found “striking levels of discrimination and violence against trans children and young people in schools”.

The report highlighted that many people in Burundi had been unable to complete their education after being thrown out of their homes because of their sexuality or gender identity.

One respondent from the African country told researchers she was forced “to quit school because I couldn’t find money to pay my school fees” after her mother ordered her to leave home due to being involved in a same-sex relationship.

Also, “Out of the Margins” examined the global situation across Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean from the perspective of five of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Some attendees at the first ever pride in refugee camp held in Kenya. Image credit Ex Press

Focusing on health, economic well-being, education, personal security and violence, and civic and political participation, the report uncovered significant issues, particularly in terms of economic inequality and access to healthcare and education.

Alexandra Hernandez, executive director of Peru-based LGBT+ rights group Mas Igualdad (More Equality), explained that trans and non-binary people - who do not define themselves as male or female - faced discrimination and violence in the Andean country and elsewhere in Latin America.

“For lesbians and bisexual women, (reports of) sexual violence were particularly high,” Hernandez reported to the media.


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