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​Botswana’s football has a new identity

For the tournament, we get various LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, intersex] support groups across Botswana to participate in five-a-side football games. Because of the law around homosexuality currently, we haven’t really got much support. But the Botswana Football Association donates equipment and whatever they can to us, which we really appreciate.

The first time we approached them, they were reluctant to show us any support. But since our national women’s football team is made up of a quite a few gay women, when they started coming out about their sexuality, it made the association more aware of the issues we face and our needs.

Since we started our tournament, it has been a very successful event. Everybody supports the events, even non-LGBTI people. We would have organisations such as the Tebelopele Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre working with us, so people could get health tests done and also be offered counselling services.

We have started working with the Botswana National Sports Commission. Before we engaged with them, they didn’t really know about LGBTI issues, sexual orientation and gender identity. But this year we will keep talking to them to illuminate discrimination and stigma in the various sporting codes.

The most important thing for us is raising awareness of LGBTI people in sport. Most LGBTI people tend to stay away from playing sports because of the discrimination they face across all sporting codes.

Refilwe Mogorosi, advocacy officer at the Rainbow Identity Association in Botswana.

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