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Malawi Research Report: ‘We get traumatised in different ways’

In February 2020, the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and Nyasa Rainbow Alliance held a consultation with individuals who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in Blantyre, Malawi. At this consultation, community members shared their lived experiences and identified numerous instances of discrimination and social exclusion related to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression (SOGIE).

This research brief reviews the socio-legal framework of Malawi and contrasts the lived experiences that surfaced in the community consultation against Malawi’s constitutional and international obligations. In doing so, it aims to provide a foundation for advocacy and litigation to challenge SOGIE-related discrimination and exclusion in Malawi. The research brief shows that whilst Malawi’s constitutional and international obligations protect people from violence and discrimination, these protections are not implemented by the government of Malawi in relation to discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. The research brief argues that given the levels of discrimination and violence that LGBT Malawians experience due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, the Malawian government has failed to adequately protect them according to its constitutional and international obligations. The research brief builds on the lived experiences of LGBT people that were shared during community consultation. It reviews other research and literature to contextualise these lived experiences.

The report is available here.

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