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Malawi church leaders told to embrace gays, lesbians  

REV KALIMBE: We would like to take this opportunity to make a call to all churches in Malawi to emulate this gesture

A fresh call has gone to Malawi religious leaders to embrace Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community.

Trustee for Religious Leaders Network for Choice, Rev Fr Martin Bob Kalimbe made the call during a press briefing in Lilongwe.

He urged all religious bodies to respect the dignity of all human beings irrespective of their differences in gender, sexuality and any notable diversity.

Rev Kalimbe further commended Pope Francis for coming in the open to ask the church to embrace same sex unions.

Trans woman, Tiwonge Chimbalanga (right), and a man, Steven Monjeza(left)

“We would like to take this opportunity to make a call to all churches in Malawi to emulate this gesture; to accept the presence of the LGBTI community in Malawi and within our churches and develop Christ-centred ways and means of reaching out to them without any discrimination and stigmatization,” said Kalimbe as quoted by Nation Online

He has also called upon all faith groups to take a leading role in teaching their followers to stop any forms of homophobia, social and religious exclusion and injustice towards the LGBTI community.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Malawi face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.

The Penal Code prohibits “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”, attempts to commit “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”, and acts of “gross indecency”.

In late December 2009, a trans woman, Tiwonge Chimbalanga, and a man, Steven Monjeza, were arrested after holding a traditional “engagement” party.

 On 18 May 2010, they were found guilty of having committed “unnatural offenses” and “indecent practices between males”.

On 29 May 2010, then President Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned both individuals.

On 26 June 2021, the country’s first ever Pride parade was held in Lilongwe, organised by the Nyasa Rainbow Alliance, with the 50+ attendees delivering a petition to the city’s officials demanding marriage equality and better access to healthcare for LGBT people.

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