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LGBTI Youth & education

Young people in Southern Africa as a whole face formidable challenges in a world of rapid social changes, economic recession, religious fundamentalism and a widening gap between the wealthy and the poor. There is not much data specifically on young LGBTIQ people from the region.

The little that has been published suggests that, although young LGBTIQ people share the same hardships as all young people in Southern Africa, they also experience additional problems related to their exclusion from education by stigma, as well as discrimination in the workplace. New HIV infections are disproportionately concentrated in young people, and particularly amongst young men who have sex with men.

The role of schools

Young LGBTIQ people in the region also face high levels of homophobic and gender based violence. Schools play such an important role in developing the attitudes and values of young people in the region that they should be important sites for efforts to challenge homophobia and heterosexism. At present, schools are a driving force pushing towards an environment hostile to human rights at present. Young LGBTIQ people - as well as those who are perceived to be LGBTIQ - experience significant amounts of homophobia, bi-phobia, and trans-phobia in school environments. The result is young people dropping out and swelling the ranks of the unemployed as well as the increase in “hate crimes”.

GALA projects

Hear Us Out! is an online space dedicated to LGBTIQ youth in Africa. Hear Us Out! brings together resources and information, and provides a community space for young people. 

Visit this website

 In 2011, GALA completed a project that aimed to empower young LGBTI people to play an active role in their growth and development, and to become human rights activists.

GALA provided training to 36 young LGBTI people to support them in developing skills in specific arts-based mediums, such as making posters, t-shirts, and fabric painting, to support rights-based advocacy work. The focus of this “Youth, Arts, Activism” project was on youth at higher education institutions. GALA trained students at the University of Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand, and North West University, and worked in collaboration with Kaleidoscope Youth Network KYN and Curriculum Development Project (CDP).