Owning space to tackle homophobia


 In the fifth article of ILGA's #TurnItOff campaign,
Jürgen Lasavanne of Young Queer Alliance explain how a person's committment to fight back against homophobia
can find strength in being with other queer youths and learning of their struggles


As a queer person, life was never easy and I have learned it at my expense from a very young age.

This has been reflected through the eyes of others, perpetual mockery, and sometimes punches filled with hatred. Mustering my courage, I have decided to confront the Mauritian society by fighting against this homophobia on a personal level in my daily life, as well as helping others to stand-up with the creation of the Young Queer Alliance.

Being with other queer youths and learning of their struggles, as similar and as different as these could be, strengthened my resolve to continue this battle alongside my other comrades. At times helping with the administrative works, others with activism, and empowering young LGBT people – my efforts led me to being recognised by the organisation as a Queer leader and to lead on the organisation’s advocacy work during the 121st Human Rights Committee session in Geneva for the 5th periodic review of Mauritius to ensure that recommendations are made for the rights of LGBT people in Mauritius.

Homophobia is vibrant in Mauritius, nurtured from the very young college days, through religious sermons and hostile socio-cultural groups. Nonetheless, a gradual change of mindset is being felt during the past years, with access to uncensored information, advocacy, community gatherings and communication efforts. While public air stations are available only during events such as the IDAHOT and Pride, I believe that owning space through short webcasts online, trainings, outreach work, community strengthening and advocacy greatly helps in tackling homophobia. Changing laws and policies however will come only from a political level, not through mass mobilisation.

These efforts are not meaningful without support of allies, bringing in motivation that there exist people who believe in the work of young people and value our contributions.

Despite not being LGBT, you can support by being a voice for us, as being human is the sole prerequisite to have equal human rights.

Jürgen Lasavanne
Young Queer Alliance, Mauritius


This article is part of ILGA's #TurnItOff campaign,
where human rights defenders share their experiences and advice
on how to speak up to silence the noise of LGBTI-phobia

Disclaimer: These articles are meant to offer a place for views, ideas and debate.
The views expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the policy of ILGA, or the views of its board members or staff.


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