Forum for Empowerment of Women ( FEW)

FEW was established by black lesbian women feminist activists living in Johannesburg in 2002 with the aim of providing a safe space for black lesbian women in post- Apartheid South Africa.

The Constitution of 1996 guaranteed that no one could be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation and increasing numbers of LGBTQI+ people were coming out and being visible, both in everyday life as well as within human rights work. However, at the same time discrimination, stigmatisation and marginalisation were becoming more blatant.

It was clear that there was a need to organize ourselves to claim and live the rights entrenched in the Constitution. Initial- ly, the focus was on creating a safe social space and service provision, including counselling and providing information
and education on issues such as health.

A key focus was on the issue of violence against black lesbians, particularly rape and sexual assault which were being reported in growing numbers. It was also clear that this violence was being perpetrated based on assumptions about sexual orientation and gender identity which were seen as deviant and so worthy of violent responses from communities. This violence was directed at all LGBT people, but the targeting of black lesbian women for “fixing” and that it was linked to the patriarchal nature of our society which in turn fed hetero-normativity, was obvious.

This led to FEW initiating a number of projects including a small scholarship fund for survivors of violence and using drama and soccer as vehicles to engage with black lesbian women.

FEW works to advance, defend and promote the rights of black lesbian and bisexual women  in South Africa.

Contact details:

87 Korte Street, 5th Floor, Office 504, Braamfontein, Johannesburg

+27 11 403 1906/7

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