Free State Outreach

The outreach held in Free State was hosted by PSDS and Free State Rainbow Seeds, an organisation that raises awareness and advocates for change towards all types of domestic violence. This outreach event in Botsabelo hosted thirteen participants from the LGBTQI+ community along with thirteen other individuals of various stakeholder organisations including PSDS, Love Life, Free State Rainbow Seeds and Tholwana e Molomo. All beneficiaries present were South Africans.

About Free State Rainbow Seeds

Free State Rainbow Seeds are driven by a single goal; to do our part in making South Africa a better place for all. This cause welcomes men, women, victims, and abusers. Gender-based violence affects women across race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, and geographic boundaries. No segments of society are immune from this problem. Free State Rainbow Seeds have support groups for LGBTQI+ women and men. They offer guidance, access to resources, legal advice as well as emotional support.

LGBTQI+ Challenges

Memory from PSDS led a dialogue that was intended to establish the various challenges that the community faces including access to health care, discrimination. Treatment of LGBTQI+ members at particularly at health access points was cited as a significant challenge affecting many of the members. Participants cited the challenges of acceptance of preferred gender identification among healthcare workers and cited need for expansion of gender pronouns on health documentation, e.g. his/her/other.

Acceptance was also cited as a broad concern within the wider community. One participant elaborated on how despite referring to herself as she, people still insisted on utilising the pronoun he when communicating with her. She said this was a particularly evident when accessing the health clinic. There was consensus among participants that more needs to be done to sensitise not only health workers but also community leaders with respect to the rights of the LGBTIQ+ society.

Thabo from FREE STATE RAINBOW SEEDS led a second dialogue session on the challenges faced by the LGBTIQ+ community with “coming out.” Participants reflected on their experiences coming out to their families. Thabo highlighted the issues faced in the wider community and also with family but emphasised the need for self-acceptance despite entrenched discrimination and stigmatisation and lack of acceptance.

The participants were given ten boxes of male condoms and one box of female condoms. Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials were also distributed:

  • PrEP Information/Fact Sheet
  • Inspired to Live – How to use a female condom
  • I tested HIV negative. Now what?
  • Everything you need to know about tuberculosis
  • Stakeholder Referral Protocol for USMC in SA
  • A Refugee’s Service – Guide to South Africa
  • PrEP – We are the generation that will end HIV
  • COSUP – community-oriented substance abuse programme
  • HIV self-screening
  • Restoring Family Links
  • She Conquers – Your viral load