Coalition of African Lesbians
The Coalition of African Lesbians, established in 2003, is key in organising lesbians from various African countries. The Coalition plays an important role in the struggle for sexual and reproductive rights in Africa. Its primary purpose is to work for equality, dignity and freedom for lesbians and bisexual women and trans people so they can enjoy the full range of human rights. The Coalition has over 30 member organisations across Africa.
One of the Coalition of African Lesbians’ biggest achievement has been that feminist sexual rights activism has become much stronger across the continent. Before its foundation, lesbians and bisexual women almost exclusively organised within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movements. Partly this was due to the politics of many women’s rights organisations in the region to exclude lesbians and other non-heterosexual women. As a result the link between lesbian and bisexual women rights activists and feminism was not a given.
Because of the Coalition’s explicit feminist politics, more lesbian and bisexual activists and organisations are engaging in the feminist movement. This requires commitment from feminist activists and organisations to explicitly include lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders and have their issues on the African feminist agenda.
One of the successes of the Coalition of African Lesbians was that the Charter of Feminist Principles for African Feminists, drawn up as a result of the first African Feminist Forum in 2006, included the principle of ‘Freedom of choice and autonomy regarding bodily integrity issues, including reproductive rights, abortion, sexual identity and sexual orientation’.
The Coalition of African Lesbians received grants from Mama Cash in 2008 and 2009.