Linda R.M. Bauman - Gender Equality and
LGBTI Rights in Namibia
As the David Kato Vision & Voice Award (DKVVA) begins to celebrate
its fourth year, we continue to receive hundreds of nominations of phenomenal
activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights
around the world. With the announcement of this 2015 winner coming up on
February 13th at the renowned Teddy Awards in Berlin, we are honored to
introduce you to the 5 incredible people who have been shortlisted for this
Today we highlight prominent LGBTI and women’s rights activist Linda R.M.
Bauman. Linda is the Executive Director of the LGBTI Rights group Out-Right
Namibia. Despite numerous threats and targeted attacks for her advocacy, Linda
R.M. Bauman continues her work to raise the voices of the LGBTI community in Namibia
and promote gender equality. Please read her story below.
Linda R.M. Bauman is one of Namibia’s leading human rights
activists. Established in 2010, Linda founded Out-Right Namibia (ORN) alongside
fellow activists passionate about advocating for lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI). Linda aims to address, fight, and eliminate the
homophobia that is so prevalent in her home of Namibia, a country where
homosexuality is outlawed. As the Executive Director of ORN, Linda prioritizes
leadership development, human rights, movement-building and legal reform.
Linda also believes in empowering young woman, and she is invested in creating
support group systems for girls living in Namibia. Linda significantly
contributed to the Namibian Girl Child Association – working to promote gender
equality and assist women with legal aid. Linda is a trained paralegal and
chaired the Namibian Paralegal Association from 2006 to 2010.
Linda was the first lesbian woman to produce and present a Namibian radio
program focused specifically on LGBTI issues in the country. The first of its
kind entitled, Talking Pink, the show
ran for 2 years and aired on Base FM radio. Talking
Pink created great debates in Namibia and incited controversial discussions making Linda into a target. Despite receiving threats she persisted with
Linda currently serves as chair for the
Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA). MISA is an NGO focusing on the need to promote
free, independent and pluralistic media that broadcasts diversity.
She is one of the few women in Namibia currently starring on a weekly National
Television Program, The Week that Was.
Linda serves as a media commentator on the show and reviews and discusses
key issues affecting the country, making her highly visible as an out gay woman
in Namibia – a very courageous albeit dangerous position.
As a human rights defender Linda is very active in a number of local NGO forums
and organizations. She is currently serving the Management Committee
Chairperson for Women’s Solidarity Namibia; a local women’s organization working
on gender based violence and human rights violations for women and young girls.
Linda continues her struggle for equality as outspoken activist and
director of ORN. Her achievements are an example to admire in the international
struggle for LGBTI justice and women’s rights.
The DKVVA is supported by a Secretariat based at the Global Forum on
MSM & HIV (MSMGF). The MSMGF advocates for equitable access to effective
HIV prevention, care, treatment, and support services tailored to the needs of
gay men and other MSM, including gay men and MSM living with HIV, while
promoting their health and human rights worldwide. You can find more
information about the MSMGF at www.msmgf.org