LGBTI community standing up against oppressive patriarchal leaders!
As the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex ( LGBTI) community we are enraged that traditional leaders are making such careless statements. It is such a betrayal when a body that is supposed to protect the rights of people turns around and proposes an amendment of those very rights to exclude people from the constitution. We have a constitution to protect the rights of everyone, not just those of the majority.
Nkosi Patekile Holomisa claims that “the majority of South Africa is against the promotion and protection of these things” we have a constitution precisely to do that, even though the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community (LGBTI) is the minority, but they are human first and foremost and by virtue of being human they are entitled to human rights and equal protection of the law, there are no exceptions.
What the National House of Traditional Leaders is doing is very dangerous, as Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) we do not know if they realise that this constitutes a hate speech. They are inciting violence towards the LGBTI community. They are leaders, what they say no matter how irrational, will be taken as an order to take action by some people.
Hate crimes against the LGBTI community are on the rise in South Africa, and we have leaders who claim that homosexuality is a condition, an ailment that has to be remedied. We seem to be regressing rather than progressing, if we have leaders who think they way that the National House of Traditional Leaders thinks. To remove a certain group of people from the constitution would be a dangerous slippery slope, whose rights are going to be taken next? Taking away sexual orientation would affirm that it is alright to kill, rape, torture others based on sexual orientation. What would follow next would be criminalization of it.
We demand that the National House of Traditional Leaders apologises to the LGBTI community and take back what they said, because it is an infringement of people’s rights. Our bill of rights in section 16(2) says even though we have the freedom of expression, but “ freedom of expression does not extend to (b) incitement of imminent violence, (c) Advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
The language that Kgosi Thobejane used (on radio 702 at 10: am on May 7th 2012 with Redi Tlhabi that can be found on podcast,) was carefully selected to incite action, words such as “unnatural, condition, not normal, we cannot allow it, who will account for this to the next generation”? What we would like to know is if they are going to account to this generation for all the homophobic attacks that will result from his speech? They clearly incite people to want to act and fix whatever condition he is talking about.
As for Nkosi Patekile Holomisa to claim that “people are homosexuals because they skipped a ritual, when the right rituals are conducted they are cured”, shows how clueless he is. We fail to see how same sex marriages infringe on anyone’s rights whereas what they are proposing is a clear infringement on people’s rights. This clearly undermines people’s dignity.
I guess marrying a hundred straight wives gets old after a while, so they have to tap into the homosexual community as well. What is the National House of Traditional Leaders doing to fix the alarmingly high divorce rates, now they want to pick on people who love each other enough to want to stay together and be a family, Thobejane is worried about homosexuals adopting children, what have they done to fix these high rates of orphaned children? As traditional leaders they need to stick to things they know a thing or two about, and leave the homosexual community alone, because obviously they know nothing about homosexuality.
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Zoleka Luswazi /Phindi Malaza
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