Botswana, Africa

Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. The economy, closely tied to South Africa's, and one of the most successful in Africa, is dominated by the fast-growing service sector, world-renowned mining (especially diamonds) industry, tourism, and manufacturing. Homosexual behavior is considered an "unnatural tendency" and can be punished with up to seven years of imprisonment. Acts of gross indecency are also punishable according to the law. Although homosexual acts are illegal (prosecution of such acts is rare) just being a homosxual is not illegal.

On February 25, 2011 an historic event happened when the Botswana Human Rights organization (BONELA) and the Botswana LGBT organization (LeGaBiBo) filed a law suit in High Court against the government claiming the law criminalizing homosexual behavior is unconstitutional. The first time the anti-gay law has ever been formally challenged.


News & Reports:


Progress for gay rights in Africa still isn’t inevitable

Johannesburg (CNN) – It was Pride Month no less. On June 11, high court judges in Gaborone struck down colonial-era sodomy laws from the rule books. The judgment was comprehensive, and LGBTQ activists in Botswana were overjoyed. It was a significant win in a protracted fight for equality. For a moment, progress seemed inevitable, but… Read more »

Botswana celebrates historic decriminalisation of gay sex

Botswana’s High Court announced its decision this morning (June 11) to decriminalise gay sex, and people are rejoicing the “life-changing” decision. Scenes of celebration are flooding social media, after this historic victory for LGBT+ people in Botswana and worldwide. Anna Mmolai-Chalmers, CEO of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) said in a press release:… Read more »

Botswana’s High Court postpones decision in gay sex case

Garborone (Reuters) – Botswana’s High Court on Thursday postponed its ruling on a case challenging the criminalisation of gay sex, which is being scrutinised by campaigners hoping the law could be overturned. Judge Abednico Tafa told a packed courtroom in Botswana’s capital Gaborone that a decision would be handed down on June 11 after a… Read more »

Botswana is set to decriminalize homosexuality, here’s everything you need to know

‘There’s nothing at this point that can completely break us’ Botswana’s resilient LGBTI community is hopeful their years long fight to decriminalize same-sex relations will be successful soon. On Thursday (14 March) the High Court in Gaborone – Botswana’s capital city – will hear arguments on the law criminalizing ‘unnatural offences’. Section 164 of Botswana’s… Read more »

Botswana president speaks up for LGBTI rights

There is new hope for LGBTI persons in Botswana because the south African country’s new president is advocating for LGBTI rights. In November, when Botswana‘s new president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, gave a speech against violence on women and children, he also emphasized the rights of LGBTI people. He made it clear that LGBTI people should have… Read more »

Gays, Lesbians look up to Masisi

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans-gender and intersex persons (LGBTI) want President Mokgweetsi Masisi to allow same sex relationships which to date, are deemed unlawful in Botswana. Masisi had recently called for the respect and protection of LGBTI persons’ rights at the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Violence on Women and Children last week.… Read more »

Botswana High Court sets new date to consider decriminalising homosexuality

After a long delay, the Botswana High Court has announced that it will finally hear a case on the decriminalisation of homosexuality next year. A full bench of the court ordered that a hearing challenging the constitutionality of sections 164(a), 164(c) and 167 of the Penal Code, which criminalise same-sex sexual activities in Botswana, be… Read more »

Canaries in the coal mines

An analysis of spaces for LGBTI activism in Botswana Country Report Read entire report here: Source – The Other Foundation

Transgender man wins landmark 10-year-long legal battle for recognition from Botswana

A Botswanan man has won a momentous victory for transgender rights in the African country. The trans man has been legally recognised as male after a 10-year-long legal battle. Homosexuality is illegal in Botswana, with a maximum seven-year jail term for those convicted of so-called “unnatural offences”. The country was also one of 13 at… Read more »

African states bid to stop work of U.N. gay rights investigator

African states launched a bid at the United Nations on Friday to halt the work of the first U.N. independent investigator appointed to help protect gay and transgender people worldwide from violence and discrimination. The 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, created the position in June and in September appointed Vitit Muntarbhorn of… Read more »

Botswana deports American anti-gay pastor after radio hate speech

A pastor from Tempe, Ariz., has been trying to spread his fervently anti-gay message in Africa. Steven Anderson’s message is conveyed in his church’s doctrinal statement, which says that “homosexuality is a sin and an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty.” Most African countries have laws against homosexuality. Perhaps Anderson thought he would… Read more »

The War on Homosexuality: A look to Botswana

The war on homosexuality has been raging for decades. With people on opposite sides of the debate often fixated on whether homosexuality is inherent or learned behaviour, whether homosexual people are fully human, whether the world should rest on the face of this “scourge” of homosexuality which supposedly causes global warming, and whether the punishment… Read more »

Gay men reluctant to come out of the closet

Selebi-Phikwe: Reaching out to men in same sex relationships is proving to be a mammoth task for HIV non-governmental organisation (NGO), Silence Kills Support Group (SKSG). The NGO, which began operation in January 2015, has identified over 50 men who have sex with men (MSM) in Selebi-Phikwe and surrounding areas. Speaking during the New Directions… Read more »

Botswana gay rights group wins right to exist after court battle

A court in Botswana has ruled that the government acted illegally when it banned a gay rights group. The Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Botswana group (Legabibo) took a case to the country’s High Court, after it was blocked from registering as an organisation by the Department of Labour and Home Affairs. However, today a judge… Read more »

LGBTI Organizations

The Botswana High Court allows registration of an LGBTI rights organization, finding denial violates Constitutional rights of equal protection, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association. On November 14, 2014 the Botswana High Court ruled that the government cannot deny registration of the organization LEGABIBO, an acronym for Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana.… Read more »

Proud Healthy

Factors such as stigma, discrimination, violence, gaps in the knowledge and attitudes of health-care workers, and the criminalisation of same-sex acts have adversely affected the access to and uptake of health-care services by LGBTIs in Southern Africa. To address the need to build and strengthen the capacity of LGBTI organisations in Southern Africa in the… Read more »

LeGaBiBo raises awareness about homosexuality in Botswana

When one day, I was in a taxi bus with my gay friends, a passenger talked about things that are offensive to Botswanan culture. He stated that ‘the youth of today’ are imitating the Western lifestyle. When the driver brought up the issue of homosexuality, the bus became a podium of indirect remarks aimed at… Read more »

Growing Up Gay In Botswana

Botswanan trans-lesbian Prisca Mogapi knew he needed to come out to her family, but couldn’t find the right words. That all changed when a local newspaper outed him, thus jump starting his career as the African nation’s leading queer activist. Now Mogapi – who prefers to be called Skipper – works underground to fight Botswana’s… Read more »

Africa: Few Programmes Target Gay Men, Other MSM and Transgendered in Southern Africa, Study Says

Analysis Despite the Global Fund’s progressive policies on the inclusion of gay men, other men who have sex with men and transgender individuals (GMT) in programmes supported by the Fund, only a tiny fraction of the money spent by the Fund in six countries in Southern Africa has targeted this population. This is one of… Read more »

Botswana LGBTQ’s first film festival: Batho Ba Lorato

Pan Africa ILGA congratulates Batho Ba Lorato Film Festival Committee and LEGABIBO on Botswana’s first LGBTQ Film Festival. This film festival, coined Batho Ba Lorato (People of love) is an attempt to create a platform for dialogue through the use of film. Taking place from the 12th – 15th February 2013, the festival will be… Read more »

LGBTI rights within the Universal Periodic Review: Botswana

Botswana – In January 2013 the UPR 15th session reviewed Botswana and thirteen other countries. The NGOs’ reports had been sent, as it is compulsory, seven months before the review session. Caine Jason Kaene Youngman, a staunch member of LEGABIBO (Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana), an ILGA member since 2005, attended the session. Interview… Read more »

The Bite Behind The Bark Of Homophobia

Homosexuality is a topical issue in Botswana’s political and social discourse. While the country’s laws imply that the practice is outlawed, it is pellucid that it is a reality that the nation cannot ignore. At the centre of the debate is liberal versus conservative views with the former speaking for gay rights and the latter… Read more »

Cyber hackers attack websites of Africa anti-gay countries

Hacktivist groups TheEliteSociety and Anonymous launch a joint operation to hack any African country that imprisons or kills LGBT people The Anonymous and TheEliteSociety hacking groups have launched a joint all-out attack against countries in Africa that kill or imprison LGBT people in an operation dubbed #OpFuckAfrica. So far websites in Botswana, Somalia, Sudan, and… Read more »

Rainbow Icentity Association In Presentation To University Students

The Rainbow Identity Association (RIA) on Wednesday March 14 made a presentation to Masters students at the University of Botswana about sexual orientation and gender identity. The Rainbow Identity Association logo Rainbow Identity were at the university as invited guests of the Communication for Development Masters programme and the dialogue was aimed at raising awareness… Read more »

Catching Up With Botswana’s Swedish Trained Activists

Four months after attending a three week human rights training programme organized by Sweden`s National Association for Sexuality Education, three activists from Botswana are putting lessons learned into practice. The training equipped programme participants with knowledge in human rights for LGBTI community, they were then asked to develop projects of change in their respected countries.… Read more »

Domestic Violance Issues And Botswana’s LGBTI Community

Botswana – Domestic violence in the LGBTI community is a serious issue, although most of the cases are left unreported due to the system which is often oppressive and hostile towards LGBTI leading those involved in violence in fear to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of… Read more »

Domestic Violence Issues And Botswana’s LGBTI Community

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender or strength. Emotional abuse is often minimized yet it can leave deep and lasting scars and very common within the same sex relationships. The bottom line is that abusive behaviour is never acceptable whether it’s coming from a man, woman, transgender, teenager or an… Read more »

Homophobia hurting anti-AIDS campaigns in Africa

When Commonwealth countries met in Perth in October, there was a call to decriminalise homosexuality, which is still illegal in Commonwealth nations including India and Sri Lanka. The move ultimately went nowhere, but it did put some pressure on countries that outlaw same sex relations. Asian nations have mixed policies on homosexuality, while in Africa… Read more »

Botswana LGBTI Mark Human Rights Day With Calls For An End To Discrimination

The Botswana Network on Ethics Law and HIV/AIDS (Bonela) commemorated International Human Rights Day with a colourful event and a call for an end to discrimination against LGBTI. The celebration in Gaborone began with a march from the national stadium to Main Mall where Phenyo Butale, the national director of the Media Institute of Southern… Read more »

Bonela reiterates call for legalising sex work

Moshupa –  An official of the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and AIDS (BONELA) has called on government to legalise prostitution and allow foreigners free access to anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) if it is serious about winning the battle against HIV and AIDS. Speaking at an event held ahead of the World AIDS Day commemoration in… Read more »

Botswana President Warns Not Everyone Can Get Free ARVS

Botswana’s President Sir Seretse Khama Ian Khama warned on Thursday that Botswana does not have the capacity to extend free ARVs to everybody forever. Speaking at a function to commemorate World Aids Day 2011, the president said, “The only alternative is for the country to focus its efforts of the prevention of new infections.” This… Read more »

Health System Struggling Too Deal With Gender Identity Confusion Patients

The general lack of information about gender identity issues that plagues the country’s health care service means that Botswana’s Transgender community is suffering. A recent incident involving a young teenager was brought to the attention of Rainbow Identity, an organization that deals with transgender and intersex people and their issues. The incident took place at… Read more »

Gay Botswana News & Reports 2011

1 Batswana Register New Trans Organisation 1/11 2 This Man Is My Wife 1/11 3 EFB aganist legalisation of homosexuality and prostitution 2/11 4 Press Release: Gays “Children of Botswana” 2/11 5 Botswana MP says he hates gays and lesbians 2/11 5a High Court Judge Assigned to Decriminalisation Case 2/11 6 Dare to be different… Read more »

Gay Botswana News & Reports 2004-10

BBC Report 1998: Africa is Dying of AIDS–Botswana Worst Hit 1 Botswana: Is there hope in ‘Vision 2016’? 5/04 2 Botswana Gays Rejoice As Opponents See Red 11/06 3 Botswana refuses to register gay advocacy group 12/07 4 African lesbian conference demands equal rights 2/08 5 Is homosexuality by choice? 12/08 6 HIV Prevalence, Risks… Read more »