Seychelles president welcomes LGBTI activists

The LGBTI community in the island nation of Seychelles has achieved a new level of social and political recognition. Evidence of that achievement came on July 21, when President Wavel Ramkalawan met with leaders of the local advocacy organization LGBTI Seychelles. The meeting came six years after the Seychelles repealed its law against same-sex intimacy, in 2016.


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Location of the Seychelles off the east coast of Africa. (Map courtesy of Whereig.com)

LGBTI Seychelles (LGBTI Sey) was upbeat about the discussion, as seen in this Facebook post:

“July 21 — We had a good discussion with President Wavel Ramkalawan this morning – a first for LGBTI Sey! 🌈 We gave an overview of the work we’ve been doing as an NGO. We also briefed him on some key areas of concern in line with our strategic plan and, how we can collaborate with government to further improve the lives of LGBTQ+ persons and the advancement of human rights.

“Our meeting included talks about public education, implementing the anti-bullying policy against homophobia and transphobia that LGBTI Sey assisted with in 2017, decentralization of HIV prevention and treatment services, clear guidance under the Ministry of Health for transgender persons in regards to hormone treatment therapy and updating their identity documents to reflect their gender identity, the hate crime legislation bill, civil status recognition of same sex couples married overseas and barriers of said couples to adopt.

“The President welcomed our comments, and was very receptive to the work that needs to be done to further the equal rights of the LGBTI community. We are very appreciative of his time and we look forward to working more with government, as well as continuing our work with other key stakeholders both in Seychelles and overseas, to promote our message for equality, and the advancement of human rights 🇸🇨🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

Seychelles LGBTI leaders pose with President Wavel Ramkalawan on July 21. (Photo courtesy of LGBTI Sey)

The site African.Business published the following press release from the president’s office about the meeting:

President Ramkalawan Meets Members of LGBTI Seychelles

President Wavel Ramkalawan received the Chairperson of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) Seychelles Association, Mr. Naddy Vidot, at State House yesterday morning. LGBTI Seychelles is a non-government organisation that advocates for sexual orientation and gender identity rights.

Mr. Vidot was accompanied by members of LGBTI Seychelles Board which included the Vice Chairperson, Emily Gonthier, the Secretary Sasha Alis, Treasurer, Sanjoe Denousse, and Ordinary members, Sylvie Ah-Time and Sumita Joubert.

The President welcomed them on this first courtesy visit to State House to introduce the association. He welcomed the opportunity for them to brief him on the work of their association, its objectives and plans for the future.

“We should live in a society where anyone be free to live their lives are they please regardless of gender or orientation. As long as we respect one another and are tolerant to others views,” said President Ramkalawan.

During the meeting with the Head of State, Mr. Vidot and his members had the opportunity to brief him about the work of the Association, their strategies in relation to three main areas of focus; Legal Reforms, Health and Education. Pertinent points of focus during the discussion were pertaining to national education, antibullying awareness in schools, health services, human rights matters, adoption process and other legal reforms

President Ramkalawan has duly noted all points raised for further consideration, whilst the President also advised the association to continue discussions with all stakeholders to see the way forward.

Speaking to the local media after the meeting, the Vice-President, Sasha Alis expressed her appreciation for being welcomed by the President to further discuss matters concerning the LGBTI community in Seychelles.

She said, “It is a momentous historic moment for LGBTI, for us to have been able to meet with the President. We had an interesting discussion on tangible issues such as national education, sensitisation in schools, legal affairs, and health, and the possibility for LGBTI people in Seychelles to obtain equal rights and access to different facilities and services. The discussion with the President was open and frank. We are all satisfied with our meeting”.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) Association in Seychelles was set up in 2015 and officially registered in 2016.

Source: African Human Rights Media Network member Erasing 76 Crimes.

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