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 year’s award.
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 the show.
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.mpactglobal.org
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