The gathering was convened as a response to the religious rights’ propagation of the so-called natural family (as the only divinely sanctioned model of family) in local, regional and international human rights’ spaces. This model of the ‘natural family’ appears to be nothing more than a capitalist nuclear family based on an acontextual and patriarchal reading of sacred texts . Moving beyond critique of such conservative discourse, the gathering also sought to reclaim and affirm the diversity of “natural” families in Africa, which also include LGBTIQ families, to promote and defend them locally, regionally and internationally.
GIN members, partners and allies gathered for the organization’s first seminar on Family and Traditional Values from 19 to 21 February 2018 at Auckland Lodge, Johannesburg, South Africa. Participants included human rights defenders (activists) from LGBTIQ movements, scholars, researchers, and religious leaders from diverse family backgrounds and traditions. They were drawn from African Traditional Religions, Islam and Christianity. The seminar represented a dialogue between experts on the activities of the religious right in high level political fora and African theologians and activists.
What came out of the 3-day meeting was a series of counter-messages on: “Protecting our Families”, “Celebrating our Sexuality, Reclaiming Our Culture”, “Interrogating Sovereignty” and “Reclaiming Faith”, as well as multiple strategies for communicating and advocating these messages in regional and international human rights spaces.
The meeting was followed by the drafting our the Johannesburg Declaration, including the messages and recommendations given by the group. All individuals and organisations who wish to do so, including advocates, activists, political, social and religious leaders, are invited to join in efforts and indicate their support for the Johannesburg Declaration, so that they shall be added to the list of affirming signatories:
GIN-SSOGIE will be organising its second regional seminar on « Family and Traditional Values » in South East Asia, later this year. The aims are to bring around the table activists and faith leaders from the diverse religious and faith traditions of the region. We welcome your participation as well as recommendations for individuals and organizations to reach out to! Thank you!