Religious Leaders Living or Personally Affected by HIV and Aids (Manerela+) says demystifying myths associated with homosexually could create a more tolerant society in Malawi.
Speaking during an advocacy meeting on human sexuality in Salima last week Manerela+ programs officer Harold Kachepatsonga said ignorance on homosexuality has led to homophobia.
“We are not saying Malawi should promote homosexuality but rather develop an understanding of human diversity as a basis for provision of equal services to all people regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression,” Kachepatsonga said.
Mufti Shamuuna Sosola of the Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi (Qmam), said much as homosexuality is not acceptable in Islam, community should not condemn but embrace and pray for them.
“Sulah 88 verse 22 says there is no reason to force people to accept what God says. Leave judgment to Him. However, with HIV and Aids prevalence among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) community twice as high compared to the general population we can no longer continue burying our heads in the sand,” said Mufti Shamuuna.
Centre for the Development of the People (Cedep) senior programmes manager said progress is being made in Malawi on homosexuality as people now discuss the issue.
“There was a time when just mentioning the word ‘homosexual’ in a workshop participants would walk away but now people understand the LGBTI are in our midst and need support and love,” he said.n