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(WB) An LGBT and intersex rights group in Mauritius continues to work to protect LGBT and intersex people in the workplace.

Although there is an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination law in Mauritius, Collectif Arc-en-Ciel insists more needs to be done to ensure LGBT and intersex people are treated the same as their heterosexual counterparts.

“We do awareness sessions within firms about the importance of equality in the workplace but there is one thing that we are coming up with which is business inclusion of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in workplaces to raise awareness within organizations,” explained Collectif Arc-en-Ciel’s Jean Danie. “Since 2008 we have an inclusive Workers' Right Act so the law prohibits workers from being discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community has been included in that. So if you feel like you have been discriminated you can file a complaint at the Equal Opportunity Commission so that the Commission can try to mediate between the employee and the employer and if they fail the matter is taken to the Equal Opportunity Tribunal.”

Danie, however, stated that although same-sex relations are regarded as legal, sodomy remains criminalized. Various LGBT and intersex activists have asked the Mauritius Supreme Court to overturn the law.

“Same-sex relations are not illegal but the one direct law that was inherited from the British era is the criminalization of sodomy under Section 250 of our penal code but this penal code has been challenged by more than three 2SLGBTQIA+ activists at the Supreme Court of Mauritius so right now we are awaiting judgment as the Supreme Court will be giving its verdict soon because sodomy is practiced by different people regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Danie.

Danie said Collectif Arc-en-Ciel, had conducted a survey to find out if Mauritians support or oppose LGBT and intersex people. 

The survey found 60% of respondents said that they had nothing against LGBT and intersex people, as long as they are not part of their immediate family.

“We did a survey on the perception of same-sex relations and we found out that 60 percent of the people we surveyed don’t have a problem with same-sex relations, but Mauritius is deeply rooted in religion and tradition and these two have an impact in our everyday lives,” said Danie. “So what we discovered with the survey is that the 60 percent who were okay with same-sex relations based it on as long as it’s not their immediate family member who is into same-sex relations so people who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ tend to migrate to other countries that are more inclusive of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community but slowly and surely we are getting there.”

 Washington Blade courtesy of the National LGBTQ Media Association.