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Working towards the upliftment and recognition of the LGBTI community through creative programmes that foster equality, respect and acceptance.
About Gay & Lesbian Network
Anthony Waldhausen is the founder and director of the Gay and Lesbian Network (GLN), an LGBTQI+ organization in South Africa,KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg.
This video audio is an interview with World Talks Amsterdam about Anthony and Sphelele Nxumalo’s Personal experiences that encouraged the interest in LGBTQI+ advocacy.
History of GLN
GLN was founded 16 years ago, in 2003. Initially, we focused on Pietermaritzburg’s LGBTI community, and on creating safe, social spaces where there were none. From around 2007, the emphasis shifted to a more mixed and developmental approach, which emphasised:
- Creating an Enabling Environment (advocacy and influencing, including work with religious leaders, and other key influencers);
- Community Outreach, to multiple areas of KwaZulu-Natal (incorporating safe spaces, community building, organisation strengthening, and various skills programmes); and,
- Health (with a strong focus on HIV prevention and care, but not excluding other community health issues).
The organisation grew organically until we numbered over 20 staff by 2016. In developing the organisation’s strategy, a rights-based approach of marginalization was applied. Three key strategic areas of focus were identified to mainstream support for the LGBTI community. Target groups include the LGBTI community and their immediate families; service providers and stakeholders (i.e. Schools, police and media); Public institutions; and the greater KwaZulu-Natal and Midlands region.
Our Team and Strategy
A South Africa, in which LGBTI people are accepted, respected and treated as equal human beings and citizens
GLN works with LGBTIQ+ individuals in promoting recognition of the LGBTIQ+ community through institutional change and participation in rural communities together with authorities and service providers.
Gay & Lesbian Strategy 2020 – 2024
For the coming five years, GLN will focus primarily on rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal, with the aim of facilitating whole systems change and development processes, which lead to significant impact and improvements in the life chances of rural LGTI people.
At the same time, we aim to develop and document what we believe to be a cutting-edge practice: to our knowledge, no other LGBTI organization on the continent is working on a change in rural communities using this kind of indigenous, facilitative approach. This documentation and the insights arising from our work in communities and other institutions will inform our wider influencing agenda.
GLN’s work is centred at the local level, in largely rural communities, though it has implications and applications beyond the local. We aim to work in-depth, in a limited number of rural communities, to support processes of development, education, connection and change between LGBTI youth and women, local leaders and authority holders, and service providers. All of this work is about shifting attitudes, behaviours, and ultimately beliefs – with the larger goal of building a human rights culture in communities.
Our approach is a uniquely African because we begin by building relationships of trust and solidarity with key players (traditional leaders and healers, local councils, police, LGBTI people, clinics and other service providers) within the existing set of power relations and cultural/traditional norms of local communities. There is no imposition of foreign frameworks or languages – the work begins by using the local language and engaging with local people’s issues and questions.
Click below for our new strategy.
We Have the Power to Impact Our Future, and We’re Doing Something About It
GLN’s work is centred at the local level, in largely rural communities, though it has implications and applications beyond the local. We aim to work in depth, in a limited number of rural communities, to support processes of development, education, connection and change between LGBTI youth and women, local leaders and authority holders, and service providers. All of this work is about shifting attitudes, behaviours, and ultimately beliefs – with the larger goal of building a human rights culture in communities.
Beyond our rural (and, to a lesser extent, urban), community development and change work, GLN aims to strengthen a network of LGBTI organisations, activists and allies in the province by sharing knowledge, learning from each other, supporting each other’s initiatives, and wherever possible, working together. We build on a base of existing partnerships with six LGBTI community-based organisations (CBOs) around the province, and have relationships with several others.
The knowledge and expertise gained in the course of community-level and movement building work feeds back into local level engagements, but should also be used to influence provincial and national structures.
Direct targets of this work would include media, Traditional Councils, the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Ministry, and various Councils of Churches (KZNCC; SACC, etc.). We emphasise these, because of our strength in engaging with and influencing traditional and religious leaders and authorities.
Beyond these audiences, we aim to participate in the national and international LGBTI movements and to contribute our learning from practice and experience to these larger conversations with colleagues, academics and donors.
In developing the organisation’s strategy, a rights-based approach of marginalization was applied. Three key strategic areas of focus were identified to mainstream support for the LGBTI community. Target groups include the LGBTI community and their immediate families; service providers and stakeholders (i.e. Schools, police and media); Public institutions; and the greater KwaZulu-Natal and Midlands region.
The aims of the programmes are to ensure acceptance and integration of LGBTI people in the community, reduce prejudice/discrimination (covert and overt), and to empower the LGBTI community.
In the coming period, we will organise our work into the following programme areas:
1.Institutionalising Change in Three Rural Communities in KwaZulu-Natal & Pietermaritzburg
1.1 Institutionalising Change in Two Tertiary institutions in KwaZulu-Natal
2. Knowledge creation, networking and influence
3. Sustaining and Developing GLN
Our Donors and Resources
Explore Our Helpful Resources
The Gay & Lesbian Network has developed various resources over the years and includes research, photos, videos, documentaries; media scrap book, gender and sexuality manual for training, brochures etc. We have also a resource centre, which contains a comprehensive collection of books, research reports, documentaries, short, and feature films, which are accessible at our office. Please feel free to come in, browse at our collection at your own leisure, and enjoy what we have to offer.
These are the headingss:
Links & Referrals
Media articles and links
Links & Referrals
The following are additional resources and information to get support and meet other LGBTI people in South Africa or other parts of the world.
Annual Report & Governance
Annual Report & Governance
Annual Review 2017/2018
Annual Review 2018/2019
The Gay & Lesbian Network is a registered non-profit organisation. We aim to create a non-discriminatory, supportive and accepting society in which members of all communities are uplifted and developed. We invite you to join our Network and support our mission of ensuring optimum commitment and services and programmes for the upliftment and recognition of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities. We welcome your input and look forward to developing creative programmes that foster Equality, Respect and Acceptance for all.
The Gay & Lesbian Network is tax exempt and has Section 18A (1) status. Every donation you make to the Network is TAX DEDUCTIBLE in terms of Section 18A (1) of the Income Tax Act 1962, as amended.