In almost every way measurable the world and the people in general have made great strides in advancing the human species.
From medicines and cures that eliminated life threating diseases, to a global recognition of the rights of all people, regardless of race, age, gender or sexual preference.
In the history of the world, there has arguably never been a better time to be a human.
Increasingly more people are able to speak up than ever before, particularly those from marginalised groups. Women, youths, homosexual and transgender people are increasingly vocal on issues that impact them.
Namibian women, in particular have made great strides in male dominated fields and as decision makers. For instance, the proportion of women in parliament increased from 20% in 2009 to 46% this year.
Youths too are increasingly impacting Namibian society for the better. A 29 year old chief engineer in the Ministry of Works of Transport and businessman, Sylvester Shapwa’s deed of feeding and clothing under-privileged persons is an example of how much the youth can give back.
Members of the LGBTQ are no exception to this, they too are doing exceptionally well and in some instances are forces to be reckoned with in their respective fields. In Namibia we recently held our annual Simply You Magazine Lifestyle and Fashion Awards, which was attended by Lasizwe, a queer South African comedian and celebrity.
There is, however, a lingering difference between youth, women and LGBTQ people, though. There are many programmes that support and fund women and youth, but even the basic human rights of homosexuals are not recognised in Namibia.
Namibia’s legislation (Combating of Immoral Practices Act) makes it illegal for same sex acts between males (though female same sex acts are not illegal). Not only are there legal hurdles to equality and participation, but there are also
false beliefs and the stigma associated with lesbians, gays, transgender and queer people.
As we are moving forward nobody should feel left out, seriously no one should be made to feel like they are inferior to others or worse even, no one should make another person feel less of a person regardless of their age, gender, gender identity or sexual preference.
Keep the same energy you have for yourself for women, the youth and importantly the LGBTQ community.
We are still a growing nation, a growing continent for that matter and for us to continue on this incredible path of unprecedented development, we are going to have to look at ourselves and make sure we are moving as one in the right direction, regardless of our colour, background, status and sex.
– Olavi Popyeinawa