A Toolkit to change hearts and minds.
A manual developed with support from the UN and a support team from the South African organisation Singizi, this is a manual by activists for activists.
“As activists one of our main jobs is that of trying to persuade other people to see the world differently, to stop doing one thing, and start doing another. As sexual orientation and gender identity activists living and working in places where we are criminalised, where forming organizations is sometimes prohibited, and stigmatisation and discrimination is real and dangerous – that makes our job really hard.
We hope that this tool kit will help you to find new ways to do the work of persuading people to think about and act towards people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions in a more open and understanding way. It will provide some ideas about how to go about doing that in even the most difficult places to work.
Every day, throughout the world people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions face violence, harassment and discrimination.
Every day, members of the SOGIE community experience emotional, physical, legal, as well as financial coercion by our families, communities, religious institutions, and governments in violation of international human rights norms.
We want to change that, and we want to work with you to do it! This is a manual that’s been written by SOGIE activists and researchers working on gender and sexuality, for SOGIE activists working in Africa to advance the human rights and well-being of people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions.
This manual recognises one of the most important roles of ‘activists’ is to persuade people who are hostile to people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions to change how they think and act towards us.
This is what we are doing when we try to get the laws that criminalise us repealed; when we try to ensure that the police treat us fairly and with dignity; when we try to take our rightful place in our communities, schools and places of worship; and when we try to get our families to love and accept us.
In essence, we are trying to change the stigmatising and discriminatory attitudes that are so prevalent in our countries, and that encourage violence and discrimination against us: we are trying to change people’s minds.
Ideally, this manual wouldn’t be a book. It would be a workshop. Or a series of videos. It’s hard to learn HOW to do things simply by reading about it. The very best way to learn, we think, is by actually doing. In order to overcome these limitations this manual is structured in a very particular way.
In the first part of the manual we give you a very Quick Overview of the steps we followed in this process. We then provide the detail for each of these steps: ideas about how the work can be done (based on our experience – though not always exactly the same as what we did as we
made some mistakes which we hope we learned from). These all focus on the journey that we travelled to find new ways to persuade people to think about and act towards people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions in a more open and understanding way.
In addition to the ideas for how to implement the steps we also provide tools, much deeper explanations as well as examples drawn from the work undertaken in each of the four countries that participated in the project.
Throughout the more detailed manual are stories of how other activists have used these tools and have engaged with this process. You may wish to start by reviewing the ideas of how to implement the process and then maybe later review the additional information or examples in more detail.
The manual ends with us sharing some links to ‘further information’ – some of the resources and research that we used and found helpful in this project. We hope that you will find them useful to get you started. And that you will critically look at these materials and work out what will work (and why) in your context; leave out anything that doesn’t fit that criteria; work out what else you may need.”
If you are using this toolkit, please email SOGIEMessageTesting@singizi.co.za to give them your feedback and tell them who you are and what you are using it for.
SOURCE: SOGI campaigns.