Botswana: Enough is Enough

Press Release

To: All media, Public, Human Rights Defenders and Law Enforcement

From: The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana - LEGABIBO

Date: 8 November 2018

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH- Stop Violence Against Transgender Persons

There is a disturbing video circulating on social media of a trans-woman who was gruesomely violated by members of the public, men, women and security guards combined – while she helplessly laid there exposed. The perpetrators are illuminating the most intimate parts of her body, in addition to beating, slapping, kicking, verbally attacking and filming the incidence. All the while people are looking on, laughing and making derogatory comments. To add salt to injury, the video has been posted on social media to further humiliate her.

This incident is an example of members of the public being responsible for violence against transgender persons. These actions come from a wrong belief of defending “public morality” and instilling “good behavior”. It also comes from the wrong perception that by violating a person who does not conform to heteronormativity is equivalent to defending social norms and upholding the cultural and religious beliefs of the Botswana public. We wish to emphasize that humiliating a human being whether in public or private is not good behavior, it’s not BOTHO, it’s not GODLY, it’s not CULTURAL and it’s definitely ILLEGAL!

The LGBTIQ community in Botswana is appalled by this distasteful behavior by Batswana to a fellow Motswana who was attacked, displayed and ridiculed instead of protecting her.

We condemn this public indecency and 
• We call upon security guards in public spaces to protect trans-identifying persons. 
• We call upon members of the public on social media to stop sharing the video because it is inappropriate and worsens the victim’s vulnerability. 
• We call upon law enforcement to take immediate action against her perpetrators. 
• We call upon cultural and religious leaders to speak against violence perpetuated based on these beliefs directed to trans-identifying individuals.
• We call upon owners of entertainment and recreational establishments to guard and take action against violence towards trans-identifying individuals or any vulnerable person during leisure times (ko maitisong).
• We call upon members of the public to desist from blaming victims of violence and instead take action to protect them.
• We call upon women’s movements to actively act against the frequent gender based violence that happens in public spaces.

Finally let us all remember that the Constitution of Botswana has declared that EVERYONE deserves the right to be protected against inhumane treatment and that includes transgender persons. Help us protect trans lives!

Call, text or WhatsApp us on +267 72 450 825 / +267 316 74 25, or inbox our Facebook page.

*LEGABIBO is an organization which advocates for rights and wellbeing of LGBTIQ persons in Botswana.