7 LGBT activists fighting around the world
In today’s trying times under the Trump administration, we all need some inspiration from the people around us. Here are seven LGBT activists who have been fighting the good fight around the world.
LGBT activists #1: Busi Kheswa of South Africa
Hailing from South Africa, Busi Kheswa is an oral historian and director of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), which focuses on protecting the rights of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women in South Africa.
Through the direction of Kheswa, FEW lobbies against hate crime legislation in South Africa and promotes women’s rights in sexual violence cases.
Kheswa is also a member of the Gay and Lesbian Archives (GALA) and the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP). GALA records the histories of South African LGBTs to promote gay rights.
LGBT activists #2: Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera of Uganda
Renowned as the founding mother of Ugandan LGBT civil rights movement, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera is the editor of Bombastic, Uganda’s first LGBT publication.
“More than ever, the world shouldn’t neglect the human rights of LGBT people, because we are here to stay—and part and parcel of the development of this world,” Nabagesera told The Advocate.
“All we need is respect, and protection from violence, and our basic inalienable human rights. Speaking out and bringing attention to the plight of LGBT people is life. I will not be silenced by anyone,” she added.
As the director of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), she filmed a YouTube video showing protests against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
LGBT activists #3: Kenita Placide of St. Lucia
Kenita Placide is the Executive Director of United and Strong, an LGBT advocacy group that addressed the HIV/AIDS pandemic in St. Lucia, a small Caribbean country.
Likewise, she became the Eastern Caribbean Coordinator of the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS).
She publicly spoke at the Constitutional Reform Commission against anti-gay legislation.
When their headquarters was destroyed, she related that: “Every single thing was gone, but that did not stop United and Strong. That didn’t stop me.”
“We got this new space to help continue building the work we do: representing the community and bringing them together. It is necessary to continue educating and sensitizing the general public. And I will continue being a voice,” Placide said.
LGBT activists #4: Yvette Flunder of the US
Bishop Yvette Flunder is a senior bishop of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ in Oakland, California. She is also a renowned singer.
Bishop Flunder founded a number of not-for-profit groups in San Francisco in response to the 1980s’ AIDS epidemic. In 1991, she founded the City of Refuge, a church/social ministry.
She was the keynote speaker at the White House for World AIDS Day in 2014. She also became a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in 2016.
LGBT activists #5: Shadi Amin of Iran
Exiled from Iran in the early 1980s because of her anti-Khomeini activism at the young age of 14, Shadi Amin lives in Frankfurt, Germany.
She helped found the Iranian Women’s Network Association (SHABAKEH) and Justice for Iran, and is one of the coordinators of the Iranian Lesbian Network and 6Rang.
As a member of the Berlin Exiled Women of Iran Against Fundamentalism (BEWIAF), she helped organize a protest against Iran in 2000 at a conference in Berlin.
“In a democratic society, a sex-change operation is an option for transsexuals, but in Iran it’s an obligation for their survival,” she told The Guardian.
She selected and translated articles on Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde into Farsi for a book, Ghodrat va Lezzat (Power and Joy).
LGBT activists #6: Anjali Gopalan of India
Anjali Gopalan founded The Naz Foundation (India) Trust, which helps victims of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in India and focusing on women and children.
At the same time she founded the Trust, she also founded Delhi’s first HIV clinic in 1994.
Her organization pushed for the decriminalization of homosexuality in a legal fight against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, with the Delhi High Court ruling in their favor in 2009.
She received the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, the highest award of France, making her the first Indian Tamil woman to be its recipient.
Time Magazine included her in its list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2012.
LGBT activists #7: Desislava Petrova of Bulgaria
Desislava Petrova is the former president of BGO Gemini, the oldest and largest LGBT rights organization of Bulgaria.
Petrova came out as a lesbian in the news on the Bulgarian National Television in 2001, becoming the first publicly visible lesbian in the country.
She has also worked with other groups in the development of new laws like the Bulgarian Act for Protection Against Discrimination.