In this series we introduce you to IAM’s regional partners. The team from Lesotho’s People’s Matrix Association (Matrix) reflects on the role that their partnership with IAM has had on the LGBTI and church community in Lesotho.
The People’s Matrix Association (Matrix), established in 2008, creates enabling environments for people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions by promoting unity, solidarity, cohesion and cooperation among LGBTIQ+ people in Lesotho. As an activist and advocacy group the organisation campaigns for the rights and dignity of LGBTIQ+ and gender-non conforming people in Lesotho.
In 2010, Matrix developed a partnership with Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM). Through this partnership Matrix built the capacity of their team. Matrix team members from the LGBTIQ+ community became trained level 1 counsellors, and have played a vital role in providing basic psychosocial support to LGBTIQ+ people who were losing their dignity in the judgment from clergy, families and congregations. Counsellors also referred LGBTIQ+ people to higher-level psychological support where needed.
Matrix and IAM’s collaboration continued from that first initiative. IAM and Matrix facilitated the Journey of Hope workshop, taking LGBTIQ+ community members through a healing process focusing on spirituality and sexuality. IAM facilitated the Dialogue training workshop that paved the way for discussions between religious leaders and the LGBTIQ+ community. The work that IAM and Matrix have done together is beginning to create a shift in the church. More clergy have taken a lead in advancing the human rights of LGBTIQ+ people, and more church denominations are becoming tolerant and have started embracing diversity within their congregations. The Council of Churches of Lesotho has taken a lead in addressing Gender Based Violence towards LGBTIQ+ people and there is an increase in LGBTIQ+ people of faith joining congregations in different churches across the country.
Reflecting on the IAM and Matrix partnership Tampose Mothopeng, Executive Director of Matrix says:
“In the early stages of my activism, I was privileged to be guided and enrolled within
initiatives undertaken by IAM in partnership with Matrix in Lesotho.
I acquired facilitation skills, information on faith and religion, leadership skills and was
granted a platform to represent the LGBTIQ+ community.
Today I am the Executive Director at The People’s Matrix Association.
Still partnering with IAM, I am thankful for all the opportunities, mentorship,
partnerships acquired in our collaboration and the endless love that I continuously
receive from the IAM family.
I AM who I am because of IAM.”