Kenya, 13th June 2017
Changing Faces Changings Spaces 6th Conference – Youth Pre-Conference
Since the African LGBTIQ youth statement at the Fifth Changing Faces Changing Spaces conference in Kenya in 2015, the African Queer Youth Initiative (AQYI) with the support of Advocates for Youth and UHAI – the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative, enabled young LGBTIQ from across the African continent to convene in a self-organised Youth pre-conference on 13th June 2017 prior to the Sixth Changing Faces Changing Spaces conference having the following agenda:
- Situating youth issues in the current LGBTQI movement in Africa;
- Mapping out challenges and issues facing youth-led organisations and LGBTIQ youth in Africa;
- Proposing a roadmap to address the challenges and paving the way to breaking down barriers, and;
- Understanding how youth-adult partnership looks like and the way forward.
Being active in the larger LGBTIQ movement, young people present deplored that despite the existence of platforms, support systems, opportunities and programs geared towards moving LGBTIQ equality, needs and aspirations of young people are often left out of the table and young people are not seen as equal partners in our common struggle towards an Africa where citizens would be free from oppression and discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
Young people are aware that they represent a huge part of the movement and have been and are already a driving force in this struggle. However, their contribution towards this vision is under represented, under narrated and under supported.
Today, young people constitute a third of the African population and by 2020, it is projected that out of four persons, three will be on average 20 years old; representing an enormous potential for the continent and thus young people want to ensure effective representation in the movement.
Young LGBTIQ people, recognise their needs and challenges such as accessible and affordable physical and mental healthcare, juvenile justice, community and family support, gaps between rural and urban youth, stigmatisation and discrimination, violence and bullying, language barriers, personal development opportunities, unemployment, lack of information and programmes specific to young LGBTIQ, lack of youth-focused funding, lack of spaces for youth representation and lack of youth-friendly structures and support systems.
During the youth pre-conference, young LGBTIQ people, have also identified areas of action to address their needs and challenges namely:
- Capacity building and support for youth-led organisations, disadvantaged and marginalised LGBTIQ youth and other stakeholders to understand and incorporate youth issues and solutions;
- Networking among young LGBTIQ people to learn and share best practices that already exist in our African context;
- Core and programme funding for LGBTIQ youth-led organisations and individuals;
- Contextualised documentation and research;
- Access and dissemination of enabling information;
- Mentorship of youth-led organisations and disadvantaged LGBTIQ youth; and,
- Youth representation and involvement of young LGBTIQ in decision making processes in healthy, productive and sustainable youth-adult partnerships.
Young LGBTIQ people, therefore called on active and proactive members of the movement, allies, funders, government agencies, broader youth movements, decision makers, and other partners to invest actively in supporting young LGBTIQ activists, participation and leadership and to act in solidarity with young people in addressing youth needs and challenges through the above mentioned proposed actions and sustaining the youth movement in our common struggle.
At the African Queer Youth Initiative, they shall continue to support an agenda in building an LGBTIQ African movement that is both inclusive, representative and supportive.