About Uthingo Network
Uthingo Network, formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Network, is a KwaZulu-Natal [KZN] based human rights organisation that advocates for the rights of LGBTI+ persons with a specific focus on rural communities. Founded by Anthony Waldhausen in 2003 as a response to the need for safe spaces where LGBTI+ people could socialise without fearing discrimination, stigmatisation, and anti-LGBTI+ violence, Uthingo Network has developed into a formal and legally registered non-government community-based organisation. We are the only well-established LGBTI+ organisation that operates in rural KwaZulu-Natal.
Our work is inspired by the fact that KZN is South Africa’s 2nd populous province, and rural communities are associated with a lower acceptance for LGBTI people. However, despite this reality, most funding and advocacy efforts for LGBTI+ equality, safety, and social and economic inclusion are focused on major urban locations. As a result, we continue to maximise the limited funding we receive to advocate for LGBTI+ inclusion at policy and community levels, especially in rural areas. Our approach is a collaboration with the broader community and other strategic partners, including families, the education and health sectors, and traditional, religious, and political leaders to create an inclusive, safe, equitable, and LGBTI+ affirming society in which LGBTI+ persons can access their Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics [SOGIESC] rights without fearing anti-LGBTI+ stigma, discrimination, and violence.
Our vision is to create an enabling, inclusive, and equitable South African society where LGBTQI+ people can live freely without fearing anti-LGBTI+ stigma, discrimination, and violence.
Our mission is to ensure the recognition of LGBTI+ human rights at the community and policy levels through institutional change and partnerships in rural communities through human-centred approaches.
Equality | Respect | Acceptance