NOUS Counselling and Art Therapy in partnership with Khulisa Social Solutions recently embarked on a joint venture to assess the knowledge of Khulisa’s community leaders, specifically social workers, in various communities across South Africa to understand whether they have adequate training to assist individuals from the LGBTQI+ community.

The information that was gathered through the surveys that were conducted with Khulisa staff has immensely benefited the research team; through the data that was gathered it was possible to determine that staff members, of whom the majority do not associate with the LGBTQI+ community, find it difficult to assist LGBTQI+ individuals.

An important obstacle that staff are facing is that members of the LGBTQI+ community do not trust them, they feel that non-LGBTQI+ community leaders don’t understand what a gay/lesbian/transgendered/bisexual individual experiences both internally as well as externally in terms of the various communities that they live in[1].

It is thus vital to train social workers as well as community leaders in understanding both the psychological aspects of being an LGBTQI+ individual but also making them aware of the external difficulties that individuals face.

External difficulties include Gender-Based Violence, bullying, corrective rape and physical assault which in turn add more psychological stresses for the LGBTQI+ individual who is already facing a difficult time understanding his/her sexual identity.  Most of the respondents feel that an educational programme as the one that NCAT and KSS will create will benefit them in securing trust from LGBTQI+ individuals in their respective communities.

It should also be noted that NCAT has been approached by numerous NGOs to assist them in understanding and working with LGBTQI+ individuals in their various communities.  The need for a training programme not only for community workers but also for individuals in the community at large and LGBTQI+ individuals thus seems vital to start a process of peace-making and create restorative justice as well as assisting non-LGBTQI+ individuals in understanding the psychological turmoil that members of the LGBTQI+ community experience.

For further information please contact:

Juan M. Terblanche, 072 763 9900, juan@nousart.co.za, www.nousart.co.za
Lesley Ann van Selm, 082 601 2299, lesleyann@khulisa.org.za, www.khulisa.org.za

[1] Data gathered by NCAT through multiple surveys during 2019.