Slowly, but getting there
It’s a wish of people living with HIV, those who are LGBT, and those who are living with disabilities to see things getting better for them and the next generation. I know at the end of this piece you will all agree with me that things are better than before. As I got the invitation to give a motivational speech at one of the schools in my community where community members were also invited and showed up in big numbers, I prepped myself well as I wanted to give them my best so that they can hear my massage clearly. To my surprise, the students began first, before my speech, with a drama about HIV that also talked about people who have sex with people of the same gender. OMG- given the context in which I live in Namibia, where discussion of sexual orientation is very taboo, I was shocked but also happy that at least people are beginning to have a dialogue and recognize diversity-when it comes to sexual orientation. To me, as a young woman living with HIV and a leader who advocates for the right of my fellow young people, I felt like this is part of the destination where I want to be.I grew up knowing nothing about HIV or about sexual orientation/identity. In most of the community, it was bad to just be near someone living with HIV or to even talk about gays and lesbians. This is a process to take us where we want to be in future as young people and I know things will not be all well in just one night but believe me, we are getting there. I live in a small urban area where gays and lesbians were not open and free to be seen around town when I was growing up. As I am writing this today, these brothers and sisters are everywhere and they are having fun with other young people together. Yes, it started with our brother and sisters being beaten up to death and it is still happening in different places in the world, but it’s better than before. We had people living with HIV who were disowned by their family, just because people never had the right information but today these people are able to get the right information and they are getting the support their family which is the best medicine ever in the world. To me, as a young woman who saw so much discrimination against people living with HIV and those who were gay or lesbians, I feel like we are almost there even if we still have a lot to do. I want to see and feel the meaning of rights for all -and I mean all. I believe that what doesn’t kill you, makes you strong and discrimination did not kill us but it has made us super strong. It makes me happy to see the strong young people who are out there in every corner of the world. For those who cannot speak out, I go to speak and proudly give out their voice. It’s a dream come true to have young people speaking on behalf of others who can’t speak or write and who can’t see and hear. Let their voices mean something and let things get better for them. A great woman once said that u might not get what u wish for but u might get what u work for and that even if things get hard, keep working because one day it will turn up good. Young people leaders of today, let’s not give up and let’s not get tired because things have started getting better and one day it will all be good. As always, let's hold hand and support each other in life. Adapted from my post on www.amplifyyourvoice.org.
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