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Resilience amidst adversity: Being gay and African in the new century

Resource type: Case Study

The Atlantic Philanthropies and the OTHER Foundation |

Commissioned by The Atlantic Philanthropies and the OTHER Foundation, this report gives an overview of what it means to be gay and African in the early part of the 21st century.

The report shows that homophobia in Africa is rife – expressed through legislation that criminalises homosexuality, persecution, violence, harassment, ridicule, and ostracisation by family and community – and that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are often vulnerable pawns for those seeking power.

However, the report also highlights organisations working to improve the situation and the funders supporting such activities. It finds that there is a groundswell of gay people doing it for themselves throughout Africa; that sexual orientation and gender identity are important parts of the broader human rights agenda; and that the African LGBTI community is producing human rights ‘warriors’ who play a significant role in the battle to develop LGBTI and human rights on the continent.

Generally, however, the LGBTI sector in Africa is faced with scarce resources, and there are challenges and lessons to be learnt for LGBTI organisations and donors alike in terms of how to enhance collaboration. Some of these include:

  • the importance of self-agency
  • alliance-building
  • clear strategies, plans and communication
  • innovative thinking
  • responsiveness, and
  • adaptability.

Related Resources


Human Rights & Reconciliation, LGBT

Global Impact:

South Africa


LGBTI, OTHER Foundation