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MBABANE – Due to the discrimination they are subjected to, lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people only live their ‘normal’ lives after 9pm.

So serious is the alleged intolerance against this community that some of them even resort to sex work. This was disclosed by Rock of Hope Communications and Advocacy Officer Lindelwa Dlamini during their media sensitisation on LGBTI. Dlamini was responding to a question on why they had the involvement of sex work as one of the major topics in their event.   In response, Dlamini alleged that the discrimination of the LGBTI community was so intense in the kingdom such that they opted to live double lives and could only be themselves after 9pm, when it was dark and people could not see them.


“The relationship between the LGBTI community and sex workers is that we undergo the same discrimination. Another thing is that you find that because the LGBTI community is stigmatised and discriminated against a lot, they then engage in acts of sex work,” Dlamini said. The communications and advocacy officer further explained that sex work was the engagement in sex as a transactional purpose.

She went on to state that in most instances, LGBTI people found themselves being exposed to sex work because they could not get hired in most organisations. As a result, she stated that they engaged in sex work.
According to Dlamini, one of the factors which resulted in some of the LGBTI community engaging in sex work and some of them being discriminated against were the laws of the country.

She highlighted that it was an offence under the common law of Eswatini for two males to engage in consensual sexual intercourse or what was called  by others ‘unnatural sexual acts.’
Dlamini said these were referred to as the offences of sodomy and unnatural sexual offences collectively. The communications officer stated that the Common Law offences probably did not apply to females. She said the offences derived from the Roman Dutch common law, which was preserved as part of Swazi law on Independence Day in 1968.


Moreover, she stated that there did not appear to have been any recent prosecutions for consensual same-sex sexual conduct in Eswatini.
Further, she highlighted that they had noticed that the LGBTI community was often misconstrued in the way people addressed them.
She touched on the issue of the special group of people being called wrong names when they were undergoing transformation.

Dlamini said people needed to be educated on such issues to prevent the discrimination of LGBTIs.
Names, pronouns, descriptions to address LGBTI community:
l Always use a transgender person’s chosen name. Albeit the fact that transgender persons may not be able to obtain an order from the courts for name change.

l Use the pronoun that matches the person’s authentic gender.
l A person who identifies as a certain gender, whether or not that person has taken hormones or undergone surgery, should be referred to using the pronouns appropriate for that gender.
l     If it is not possible to ask a transgender person which pronoun they use, use the pronoun that is consistent with the person’s appearance and gender expression or use the singular they.


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