The LGBTI community of Sudan rarely appears in the media, but Sharon Wagiella of SOGI News recently interviewed a leader of that community’s anti-AIDS, pro-human rights group Rainbow Sudan, which was founded on Feb. 5, 2012. These are excerpts from that interview:
Can you tell me about the LGBTQI community in Sudan?
Throughout the generations, since the early ’60s, there was an LGBTQI community, and there was an acceptance in society. Then Islamic law was implemented in all of the north as of September 1983, by President Jafar An-Numeri. That’s when things changed here.
The LGBTQI community had to hide and some even left the country, but most of them are still known to the LGBTQI community. The law created a gap between the generations and there is less understanding now than before.
What problems do LGBTQI individuals face in Sudan?
Well, as you know, homosexuality is illegal under Article 148 of the 1991 penal code. But check The Niles النيلان [a German-funded media site covering Sudan and South Sudan. For example, the 2011 article “Quietly, Sudan’s underground gay movement grows online”].
[LGBTQI individuals face] legal challenges and social and religious impunity as well as psychological pressure as a result of isolation. …
Sudan did use to be more LGBTQI-friendly.
The potential of intergenerational LGBTQI work is significant. The evidence shows that young and old LGBTQI individuals face distinct challenges and potential discrimination in everyday life. We also know the opportunity for younger and older LGBTQI people to interact and understand different stages of life has been historically limited.
Rainbow Sudan’s objectives include:
Legal reform. Providing legal advice and assistance to LGBTQI people who are victims of existing anti-LGBTQI laws or who are victims of physical violence or any form of discrimination that may be related to their known or presumed sexual orientation. Provide research done by Rainbow Sudan; play leading role in LGBTQI-related research.
- Strategic Communication. Rainbow Sudan aims to reach out to all LGBTQI people in Sudan and the general public with information, education and communications that counter ignorance and prejudice; change attitudes and behaviors and embrace the arts, entertainment and sports and use a wide range of methods and media: meetings, workshops, courses, counseling sessions, print, internet, radio, television, film, live performances, exhibitions and other special events, such as information booths at conferences.
- Health and Social Services. Rainbow Sudan aims to ensure that all LBGTQI people in Sudan are provided with the physical and mental health and social services they need, including any special prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care services that may be required by MSM, WSW, transgender or intersex people.
- Social Spaces and Events. Rainbow Sudan aims to advocate for, support and/or execute actions to provide LGBTQI-friendly social spaces and arrange LGBTQI-friendly events.
For more information, see: