The AQYI is a group of motivated, dedicated and resourceful young people across Africa, from southern Africa to northern Arabic Africa, eastern to western Africa, including the African Islands, all working together towards the same goal of giving a voice to young African LGBTQI and empowering them to lead change through campaigns, lobbying initiatives, organising, advocacy work, research, networking and capacity building.
Today, young people constitute a third of the African population and by 2020, it is projected that three out of four people will be on average 20 years old. This represents an enormous potential for the continent.
This population has needs and challenges including:
- Lack of specific programs and support systems such as health and legal services, including stigmatization and discrimination in the health and judiciary systems
- Substance use and abuse such as alcohol, drugs, etc.
- Rejection, lack of support and pressure of conversion therapy from families and communities
- Lack of support and information for families of LGBTIQ youth
- Difficulties and gaps between rural, suburban and urban regions in terms of accessibility and availability of services, information and networking opportunities
- Self-stigmatization of LGBTIQ youth
- Stigmatisation, discrimination, violence and bullying
- Language barriers
- Personal development opportunities
- Lack of information and programmes specific to young LGBTQI
- Lack of inclusion of youth representation
- Lack of resources in terms of funding and youth-friendly structures and support systems
The African Queer Youth Initiative was created by a group of young LGBTQI activists during the 5th Changing Faces and Changing spaces Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in June 2015. A need was felt by young people that despite being active in the larger LGBTQI movement, and despite the existence of platforms, support systems, opportunities and programs geared towards moving LGBTQI equality, the needs and aspirations of young people were often left off the table and young people were not seen as equal partners in our common struggle towards an Africa where citizens would be free from oppression and discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
We are a network of youth activists and organisations mobilizing, supporting and amplifying the voice of LGBTIQ activists, building visibility and strategic networks in support of LGBTIQ youth in Africa.