The activity on which this lesson learnt documentation process is focused on, can be summed up in one word, Conversations. The Conversations are intended to provide the target group of identified women with information on a variety of issues which impact their lives as persons who have “come Out” as being openly lesbian or bisexual. The topic of the conversations ranges from issues of sexuality, health care, safety and security, homophobia and discrimination, to the effects on children, families and communities, when women choose to speak candidly and openly about their concerns, as seen from their perspectives as women who have chosen to live outside of the proverbial closet.
The overall intention is to allow women a safe space in which to have these conversations, and for them to be able to express themselves without the fear of being seen as different, or labeled with derogatory words for daring to do so in an open but safe environment.
The lessons learnt were many and varied and ranged from understanding that while some women have found their voices and are not afraid to use it, even under threat of being labeled by the society, other women are still struggling with finding their voices, and finding words to utilize to convey to their families and the society, that this is who they are at their core. Having these conversations with other women whom they identify with, or women who support their choices, in safe spaces provided by PETAL, validates the fact that however they identify, their rights are the same as the Human Rights guaranteed to all citizens under the Constitution. Other lessons learnt include the fact that there are both government and non-government organizations who are willing to participate in these conversations, and willing to speak out on behalf of the cohort of women who are being served by PETAL.
You can download this Lessons Learned document here.
This Lessons Learned was developed as part of the PRIDE Program.