Matthew Clayton

Research, advocacy and policy manager, Triangle Project

Matthew Clayton uses his background in law, politics and industrial relations to focus on the human rights and advocacy side of gender, development and conflict.

As research, advocacy and policy manager at Triangle Project, Matthew works to ensure the full realisation of constitutional and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, their partners and families, and seeing that LGBTI people and their concerns are given a substantive and effective voice in important national issues.

“The lack of a concerted and co-ordinated presence of LGBTI people in South African policy development remains a problem, and LGBTI people are still having to deal with policies and services that do not take their needs or experiences into account,” says Clayton.

“Without a considered and inclusive policy and implementation backbone, many of this country’s laws falter when it comes to enforcing the rights of LGBTI people or catering to their needs.”

Apart from funding, Clayton regards one of the greatest challenges of the area in which he works to be that while many LGBTI people are faced by the same lack of services as others in South Africa, they often feel it more acutely.

“Given the heteronormative and ciscentric environment that characterises South African society, LGBTI people experience numerous obstacles to opportunities and services that many cisgender and heterosexual people take for granted. Combine this with the intersectional challenges related to race, gender and class, and our work becomes distinctively complex and nuanced.

“The Triangle Project addresses the needs of LGBTI people from a variety of backgrounds, mind-sets and circumstances, and it is a constant challenge to be able to assist these different cases within a restricted funding climate and within a society largely opposed to the work we do and the community we serve.” — Linda Doke

Twitter: @mattclayton89