LGBTI Leaders gather in Cape Town, South Africa

Last Monday in Cape Town, South Africa, dozens of LGBTI leaders from the area gathered alongside political leaders to strategize about next steps in building a more inclusive democracy.
This event, “Civil Society Forum on LGBTI Political Participation”, marked the first activity of the joint project between Victory Institute and our partner in South Africa, Triangle Project.  Three panels took place on the importance of cooperation among civil society and politicians, the role of allies, and the value of representation.
In a place like South Africa where certain civil rights are written into law, such as same-sex marriage, there still lacks full integration of LGBTI people into the political structures, especially women, trans people and LGBTI people of color.
One of the recurring themes was the importance of civic engagement on behalf of the LGBTI community to work with officials to make their voices heard within public policies and political decisions.  To close the event, Zakhele Mbhele, the first and only openly gay black Member of Parliament spoke of his role as an elected official in representing not only the needs of the LGBTI community, but also the needs of the general population as a whole.
Triangle Project and Victory Institute look forward to continuing their work to provide LGBTI leaders with the tools and opportunities to engage their democratic systems and begin to close the gaps that exist between marginalized communities and access to political institutions.