Senior Chief Mkumbira of Nkhata Bay has asked people in the district to accept the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTIs) and stop discriminating against them.
Speaking yesterday when Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) distributed bicycles under the Minority Rights Project, Mkumbira said the district has over 600 LGBTIs.
He noted that society was living in denial by being harsh towards the group.
Mkumbira also said there is an increase in LGBTIs due to the influx of tourists in the district.
He said: “I accept that these people exist and that these things are happening, especially here in Nkhata Bay. We have over 600 of these people and, as such, they have to be accepted in our communities because it is not their wish, but maybe that is how God made them.
“Let us accept them as our children, it could be my own children doing those things. So, if I shun them, it means I am shutting out my own children. It is a matter of sitting down with them, reasoning with them and sensitising them to how they can live.”
On his part, CHRR executive director Timothy Mtambo described Mkumbira as a caring and reasonable leader who treats people as equals, irrespective of their status.
According to Mtambo, the 20 bicycles distributed to community based educator (CBEs) will help ease mobility challenges in reaching out to communities on minority rights issues.
The three-year Minority Rights Project is being implemented in 15 districts nationwide, to raise awareness on the protection of LGBTIs, people with albinism as well as the elderly.