Photo of Pablo Traspas

Therapy for LGBTI Torture Victims

 | 
Alturi Contributor

Pablo Traspas is a Spanish national who has spent much of his adult life battling injustice abroad.

“When I completed my university studies I became quickly attracted to contexts where human rights were violated and basic needs neglected,” remembers Pablo. While traveling in Brazil in the 1990s he realized that “the care some individuals were providing to street children brought me into contact with a disease that I had never met before: injustice.”

As a father of four children – three having been born in different East-African cities while he was working on a variety of humanitarian efforts – Pablo feels that “The best legacy I can transmit to them is the awareness of the existence of injustice that human beings suffer. And, of course, what their father does and how that contributes to alleviating human suffering.”

Today, Pablo works to alleviate human suffering as the Country Director for the Center for Victims of Torture in Nairobi, Kenya. In this role he extends the Center’s long-established methods of mental and physical therapy for torture victims to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees in Nairobi. As Pablo notes, “Kenya is indeed a humanitarian hub, hosting hundreds of thousands of human beings fleeing violence in their countries, and CVT is in the right place to heal and rehabilitate lives that once before were nearly destroyed.”

Among the large refugee population in Nairobi are thousands of LGBTI people who have fled growing intolerance and violence in East Africa. “One of the biggest challenges when serving LGBTI clients in Kenya is the acceptance in the society and in their communities. Regional laws persecute and condemn homosexuality. Regional cultures, traditions and religions express discrimination, intolerance and neglect the right to decide your sexual orientation,” says Pablo.

CVT Nairobi has been helping LGBTI clients with mental health care for several years. Recently the organization integrated physiotherapy after clients were raising concerns about the wellbeing of their physical health. Many LGBTI community members experience aggressive harassment and severe discrimination. With LGBTI clients, some careful considerations are made to meet their specific needs, including education about identifying areas of pain, understanding mechanics of their body, and teaching them exercise techniques to strengthen and heal various parts of their body. At the end of the group cycle, evaluations showed that the majority of the group improved tremendously. Overall, they report less discomfort and increased ability to perform activities of daily living with more ease.

And in Kenya there is an additional challenge in serving LGBTI clients – sensitizing and training staff who have lived in an often-intolerant environment. Creating a culture of understanding that the traumas which bring clients to CVT deserve to be healed is a core principle of the work.

The end of a therapy cycle presents the greatest challenge for CVT staff and clients. Can the lessons learned withstand reintegration into a client’s living context where intolerance and dangers persist?

For Pablo, “The education and activism of CVT in Kenya are strong tools to build a worldwide tolerant society. In this region there is a strong resistance to accept these rights, while in other places there are more accommodating laws and inclusive strategies. And I think that is a very positive example to other societies.”

Regions: ,

Share this:

Latest Global News

Added on: 05/25/2024
05/24/2024
Minnesota has banned book bans, making it illegal for libraries to remove titles based on ideology. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed HF3782 into law …
Added on: 05/25/2024
05/24/2024
The British Medical Journal has been accused of ‘abandoning science’ after it rejected research from top academics over their views on the trans debate. …
Added on: 05/25/2024
05/24/2024
LGBTQ human rights protectors were the most targeted groups of those fighting for equality, according to a new report from Front Line Defenders. Advocates …

Explore LGBTQ+ Issues

Other Voices from ,

Added on: 02/07/2023
Where is home for you? I have not found “home” yet. A home is a place that accepts me; where I can move freely …
Added on: 10/24/2022
Context Safe Place International is a holistic leadership development organization for displaced LGBTQIA+ individuals. Societies often trivialize and overlook the lived experiences of the …
Added on: 05/30/2022
When a Kenyan lesbian is murdered, who avenges their death? Feminists? LGBT activists? Anti-violence campaigners? All of these, argues the Kisumu Feminists Society of …