OUT LGBT Well-being has launched a resource booklet aimed at informing and sensitising those providing services to LGBTI people. Titled, Understanding the Challenges facing Gay and Lesbian South Africans: Some Guidelines for Service Providers, the booklet was launched in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening.

The booklet is aimed at individuals and organisations across a range of sectors, including: health care worker; South African Police Service officials; mental health practitioners; counsellors; educators and community workers.

Described as the first of its kind in South Africa, Melanie Judge, OUT’s programme manager, says that “it aims to assist service providers in meeting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients in an appropriate and non-discriminatory manner.”

The Tshwane-based OUT adds that despite significant legal and policy gains made toward the realisation of lesbian and gay equality in South Africa, recent research illustrates that LGBTI people continue to experience discrimination, marginalisation – and sometimes exclusion – when accessing services.

Judge says that, “We need targeted programmes to ensure that service providers are equip to deal with lesbian and gay clients in a manner that is in line with government policies of non-discrimination. There are still harsh and homophobic attitudes out there, as a result of both prejudice and lack of information. The booklet hopes to address these service delivery challenges in a practical and accessible manner.”

The booklet contains: research and case studies on experiences and issues faced by sexual minorities in South Africa; practical tips and tools when delivering services to LGBTI people; responses to frequently asked questions about sexuality, sexual identity and gender and; a list of resources and referrals

OUT is currently working with the Gauteng Department of Social Development, Lifeline Southern Africa and the Gauteng Department of Education on sensitization training and policy review.

The booklet can be downloaded in PDF format from the OUT Website.

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