Destabilising Heteronormativity Project
AAI hopes to positively affect access to health and other human rights through destabilising heteronormativity and destigmatising lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer sexual orientations and transgender, intersex, and gender non-confirming gender identities (LGBTIQGNC ) and all forms of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in African communities. In order to do this destabilising heteronormative, binary gender thinking is necessary. This requires an analysis and dialogue around the status quo, both in terms of gender, but also in terms of sexuality. Thus, in 2014 AAI began the Destabilising Heteronormativity Project.
Our aim is to have a multi-pronged approach with targeted interventions in various arenas with various partners:
1. ACADEMIA: Conducting research and production of academic publications working in partnership with UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND and 10 other Southern African Universities.
2. AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION and SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM: Conducting research, advocacy and capacity building amongst the continents bureaucratic and political leaders in the AUC and Parliamentarians at SADC PF, based on AIDS ACCOUNTABILITY INTERNATIONAL’s existing relationships with these organisations.
3. LITIGATION: Invest in legal advocacy especially by using strategic litigation working in partnership with INITIATIVE FOR STRATEGIC LITIGATION IN AFRICA. (ISLA).
4. MEDIA: Use of advertising agencies to change societal perceptions working in partnership with ADVERTISERS ACTIVISTS COLLECTIVE.
5. SPIRITUALITY AND INCLUSION: Lobbying and advocacy among the faith based community members working in partnership with INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS LIVING WITH OR PERSONALLY AFFECTED BY HIV AND AIDS (INERELA+) and AFRICAN MEN FOR SEXUAL HEALTH AND RIGHTS (AMSHER).
6. SPIRITUALITY AND SCRIPTURES: Developing counter-intelligence based on the writings and knowledge of African spiritual leaders and other scholarly arguments to counter discrimination and stigmatisation of sexually diverse people, and building the capacity of sexually diverse and religious people to make these arguments, with THE HOUSE OF RAINBOW.
7. WHOSEMYTRIBE.COM a public campaign to change social norms around sexual diversity with HOKA HEY.
The role of AAI is to take a lead role in the development of this initiative, advise in implementation, assure cross-pollination of prong work, and ensure implementation, monitoring and evaluation and reporting (both narrative and financial) at the end of the project. AAI’s Lucinda van den Heever is heading up the project.
The geographic coverage of the work is Southern Africa. However with the caveat that we are drawing on organisations such as House of Rainbow that were founded in West Africa, and that one partner ISLA will be working across all of Africa (current expectations are Sub-Saharan Africa only). Unfortunately due to financial constraints at this initial stage Lusophone and Francophone countries will have to be excluded due to the interpretation and translations costs and human resource restrictions due to language barriers. Thus the activities on the prong areas of work will all take place in Southern Africa and be focussed in the pilot stage on the following countries: Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.
All partners are wherever possible are led by sexually diverse people themselves based on the principle of “nothing about us, without us”. The following breakdown reflects this: Spirituality (2) and Academia are run by sexually diverse staff whereas Litigation, and Advertising are the top experts in their field with no obvious alternative. These two have capacity on SOGI issues. AAI’s Project Manager for this initiative will work more closely with the organisations that are not SOGI led, to ensure that sexually diverse voice is always foremost in the work. Wherever deemed necessary the expertise of AMSHER and CAL will be called upon.
In order to ensure a strong and effective foundation for the work, a start-up workshop took place at the beginning of the project in November 2014, which included the leaders of each of the partner organisations.
This workshop was the basis for building the capacity of all the partners on SOGI issues, and beyond, such a gender, bodily integrity, body autonomy, feminist perspectives on destabilising the binary gender and heteronormative norm, continental initiatives and strategies for claiming equal rights and access, what does normalisation and destigmatisation mean on this project, language during the project, etc. This is a means to share about the work, connect to each other and ensure that the destabilising heteronormativity framework of the work is used throughout.
For a full copy of the project please AAI Ford Normalisation Partner Initiative Final Final
Project Manager: Please contact Lucinda van den Heever at lucinda at aidsaccountability.org.
This work is kindly supported financially by funding partner: