LGBTI across Africa have started to organise themselves for a decade.
It is easy to notice that efforts are mainly spent on sanitary issues especially STD and HIV/AIDS. On this point, available resources are mostly accessible to gays, bisexuals and MSM.
It is true the community health is important however the focus on gays, bisexuals and MSM shows again how society’s patriarchal aspect impacts us too. Acknowledging this, Lesbian Life Association Cote d’Ivoire (LLACI), a not-for-profit association of lesbians and bisexuals women in Cote d’Ivoire works on pointing out the specific needs of LBT women be it on health but also on educating the population.
For LLACI it is essential to concentrate on changing mentalities and socio-cultural practices that penalised women and LBT women. LLACI fights for recognition, respect and promoting these women rights. For almost three years LLACI tries to move forward social equality, to break prejudices and to obtain a better integration of LBT. LLACI is implementing is program around different axes.
LLACI wants to consolidate advancement in laws equalities and rights. We keep an eye on government instances such as CNDHCI; the civil society and organisations that work on human rights’ so that they develop and implement mechanisms and politics suitable to the needs and realities of the LGBTI communities in Cote d’Ivoire. LLACI also builds strategic alliances with some organisation defending Human Rights such as LIDHO, which allow us to report rights violations cases on LGBTI and to give assistance when needed. LLACI is a main actor in this fight and associate with organisations defending LGBTI especially when it comes to political representation and promoting rights and public liberties.
LLACI creates a space of exchange with as a mission to militate, to raise awareness, analyse, reflect, dialogue, debate and train so as to change the way population sees homosexuals. We centered our actions on the promotion of fundamental rights with a LGBTI civil society more representative and more engaged activists. Thus we strive for a society more tolerant towards LGBTI. Through workshops, meetings and by participating to international gatherings, LLACI brings its knowledge by sharing with local and international communities.
PSYCHOLOGICAL, MENTAL and EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
For LLACI most misconceptions and prejudices plaguing as much the society than the community result from ignorance about difficulties and afflictions LGBTI meet. Monthly meetings, thematic debates and home visit or fundraising when members are in needs allow use to confer a feeling of belonging and bring our members suffering from depression, facing abuses or using drugs to mention few to seek help.
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Message from the President:
A brand new sun is rising on Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender (LBT) women of Cote d’Ivoire with Jacques Beausoleil, founder president of MASSF located in Montreal (Canada). LLACI multiplies its actions in order to be heard as we wanted to change the way people and more particularly our parents see us through promoting LGBTIQ rights and by showing a good image of us. In this message, I wish to highlight the importance of diversifying leadership in the LBT community but also consolidating the LGBTIQ civil society actions.
We will open up by talking about homophobia which is violence or often injustice as well as prejudices encouraged by certain laws then we will see how mental health and our sexuality are linked especially through the several consequences on vulnerable teenagers. Even though we are confronted to numerous difficulties in our daily work, we gave up on nothing, thanks to the logistic support from our biggest technical partner located in Canada. We noticed that the needs are enormous especially for Lesbians, Bisexuals women and Transgender women but resources are spare.I know that I am a person who can make a difference, to make the process of coming out for African lesbians and bisexual women less disturbing despite the many challenges we fact.
Logically, groups should be complementary but in reality we have to face a LGBTIQ community undermined by selfish interests; which harden the work we have. We are walking the line by organising ourselves better and better, by consolidating acquired competences, by getting new tools, by keeping on fighting on public spaces and by improving ourselves individually.