The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender – LGBTI community has delivered a petition to President Lazarus Chakwera through Lilongwe City Council demanding that people of the community should be recognized by the law and the general community.
In a first of its kind Pride Parade that was held on Saturday morning from Area 18 to city centre Civic Offices, members of the LGBTI community marched while carrying placards, chanting songs and wearing painted face masks.
Through the Nyasa Rainbow Alliance, the President and minister of justice are being challenged to amend laws in the country to recognize same sex marriages and advance equal access to health regardless of gender identity among others.
Executive Director for the alliance, Eric Sambisa, has pointed out that it is normal for other people to fail to identify themselves simply as male or female alone hence the need for recognition of diversity.
“This is just a message that LGBTI people are normal people who can demonstrate without violence. This community is subjected to violence and there is no protection to it but we want the government to provide security to this community just like they would to any citizen,” Explained Sambisa.
Commenting on her part, a commissioner with the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) Chikondi Chijozi, stressed that the main issue to be considered is not only about whether people in the LGBTI community can access health rights but raising awareness.
According to the commissioner, the country cannot debate human rights but the approach should be to do public awareness.
“We are focusing on issues that affect them so that people have a better understanding of human rights and its diversity,” Chijozi added.
The petition has been received by a representative of the Lilongwe City Council who has assured the LGBTI community that it will be forwarded to the office of president and cabinet on Monday.