Africa Rights Talk Podcast Series

S3 E11: #Tech4Rights: Reflections on conversion therapy, current practices, emerging technology, and the protection of LGBTQ+ rights in Africa

In conversation with Ms Thiruna Naidoo


The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is pleased to announce the publication of the third paper in the African Human Rights Policy Papers series.

This episode reflects on the newly launched African Human Rights Policy Paper Conversion therapy: Current practices, emerging technology and the protection of LGBTQ+ rights in Africa. This policy paper has been prepared by the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. ‘Conversion therapy’ is a broad term that refers to therapy techniques or other activities that attempt to change or alter sexual orientation, or reduce a person’s attraction to other persons of the same sex, and instil conventional gender roles.

In this conversation is Ms Thiruna Naidoo, Project Officer,  SOGIESC Unit, and Communications and Advocacy Associate, Centre for Human Rights. She begins by giving an overview of the findings of the policy paper and goes on to explain the different forms of conversion therapy. Ms Naidoo explains how legal frameworks reconcile with evolving forms of digital technology in how they appear to conform to legal standards and yet remain harmful in their effects. 

Ms Naidoo is a multidisciplinary artist, author and visual creative interested in the intersections of human rights law, advocacy and the arts. Specifically, she is keen on how these intersections relate to the rights of LGBTIQ+ persons and other vulnerable groups such as migrants and persons of the female gender. She is currently pursuing an LLM/MPhil in Multidisciplinary Human Rights at the Centre. 

In her work surrounding LGBTIQ+ rights, she has contributed to 'A Guide for African National Human Rights Institutions for Implementing Resolution 275 in Africa’. She participated in the drafting and advocacy work to further the UP Trans Protocol which was recently adopted at her institution. She has also served as the co-project manager for the Queer Strategists for Change leadership program in 2017 hosted by the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender in Pretoria, South Africa.

Thiruna's recent work as an author has come in the form of a book of poetry and art, which was self-published in late 2018 entitled ‘Between the Body and the Soul’ available on Amazon. Her writing can also be found in Touch, an anthology curated by Tiffany Mugo and Kim Windvogel. Her most recent creative multidisciplinary offering can be found in the Retrospect: Queerantine virtual exhibition supported by the Prince Claus Fund.

This conversation was recorded on 29 July 2021.

Music: Inner Peace by Mike Chino https://soundcloud.com/mike-chinoCreative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b...Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/0nI6qJeqFcc 



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