Sunday, October 25, 2020

Tshireletso to mobilise other Ministers for gay rights

The Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Botlogile Tshireletso intends to consult her colleagues at Government enclave on issues surrounding members of the gay community. 

Speaking in an interview, Tshireletso said she also intends to have a dialogue with Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu under whose portfolio issues affecting the gay community falls. 

Batshu’s Ministry has since refused to register the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO). 

The matter is currently the subject of a case before the courts after the government appealed the decision of the High Court to have the group registered by the Registrar of Societies. 

Tshireletso who is also a Member of Parliament for Mahalapye East said her intention is also to lobby Minister of Health and chairperson of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Women’s Wing Dorcas Makgato in an effort to stir debate on issues affecting homosexuals in the country. 

Tshireletso said she was recently invited by LEGABIBO to attend a gala dinner organised by the American Embassy in Gaborone. She disclosed that she was appalled by what she described as harrowing stories narrated to her by some gays as a result of discrimination by the society. 

 “I think they invited me because they know that I’m someone who is passionate about human rights. Although Government has not made efforts to have these things debated by the nation, personally they are things that I believe should be discussed; there should be a national dialogue around such issues,” she said. 

Tshireletso believes that by virtue of being representatives of the people, politicians are duty bound to listen to various issues that are brought to their attention by some members of the society irrespective of their sexual orientation. 

She said ordinary members of the society are ready to appreciate some of the sensitive issues especially when they are brought to the fore by their representatives. 

Assistant Minister said Batswana tend to avoid discussing the topic of homosexuality, something that she believes fuels discrimination and even violence as people are not open about their sexual orientation. 

She likened the reluctance do debate the issue of homosexuality to that of legalisation of abortion. 

“I remember at one stage when I had advocated for the legalisation of abortion, one person in my constituency confronted me and asked if I was calling for ‘the killing of unborn babies.’ I explained to him that what I meant was that as a society we should debate this issue so that professionals could change minds of desperate women after counselling and opt to keep the baby, hence a life will be saved,” she said.  

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