Brave Enough to Fight for Basic Human RightsWrite comment (0 Comments)
Human Rights Day, marked annually in South Africa on 21 March, commemorates the 1960 Sharpeville massacre. During this tragic event, ordinary people peacefully protesting to proclaim their rights were fired upon by police. Today, the date is a celebration of South Africa’s constitution, which gives equal rights to all.
Despite this, many South African members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community still have their basic rights violated on a daily basis.
According to the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution, no person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds. These include sexual orientation. Yet, a recent report, titled ‘Hate Crimes against LGBT People in South Africa’‚ has revealed that 44% of those surveyed have experienced discrimination in their everyday life, due to their sexual preferences. This most commonly takes the form of verbal insults and threats of violence.
Even the right of LGBT people to life has been trampled on, with the report showing that 41% of participants knew of someone who had been murdered because of their sexual identity.
“It is unacceptable that 57 years after Sharpeville and 23 years into democracy, South Africans are still having their basic human rights infringed upon,” says Professor James McIntyre, CEO of Anova Health Institute, which is currently spearheading the WETHEBRAVE.co.za sexual health campaign targeted specifically at gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM).
He continues: “In addition to LGBT citizens losing their lives through acts of violence spurred by discrimination, it also leads to indirect deaths. MSM are the most vulnerable demographic for HIV acquisition and transmission. However, they are deterred from accessing health services as a consequence of the homophobic verbal harassment they encounter from healthcare workers coupled with having their rights to privacy and confidentiality threatened by gossip. These services are urgently required by MSM as they include HIV testing and counselling, antiretroviral treatment and the attainment of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce HIV infection in HIV-negative, at-risk individuals. As a result of MSM being reluctant to get help from health facilities, the likelihood of HIV acquisition and transmission are elevated.”
To remedy this, the WETHEBRAVE.co.za campaign, funded by the Elton John Aids Foundation, addresses both prevention and treatment issues in an affirming, non-judgemental and sex-positive way that is both entertaining and enlightening.
The campaign links to Anova’s Health4Men clinical services in the public sector and independent clinicians in the private sector.
“With the theme of this year’s Human Rights Day being ‘The Year of OR Tambo: Unity in Action in Advancing Human Rights’, we call upon MSM to emulate the bravery of those who stood up for their rights in Sharpeville by coming together to defend their rights to human dignity, equality and freedom. Moreover, we encourage every South African to unite behind their fight,” concludes McIntyre.
For more information on the campaign please visit www.wethebrave.co.za or follow it on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Join the conversation with #BraveEnough.
Brave Enough to LoveWrite comment (0 Comments)
For many, February (the month of love) is synonymous with treating significant others to gifts, dates and romantic getaways. But not everyone can openly celebrate their relationships – particularly those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) community who continue to encounter prejudice and persecution due to their sexual orientation.
Stories of restaurants, guesthouses and wedding venues refusing to serve same-sex couples still emerge, despite this being unconstitutional and illegal in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.The most recent incident took place in January 2017 at a Johannesburg restaurant where two journalists, posing as a gay couple, were barred from the establishment’s date night. A few months earlier, a lesbian woman and her partner too were turned away. On both occasions an SMS stating “No T-shirts or Tekkies” and “No Same-Sex Couples” was sent to the potential patrons on receipt of their reservation. Reasons given by the owner for the eatery’s discriminatory policy include other customers feeling uncomfortable about having same-sex couples at the event, her faith and her Right of Admission.
Other instances of discrimination include a gay couple being denied accommodation at a Western Cape guesthouse on the grounds that it would be contrary to the owners’ religious beliefs and another proprietor in Sodwana Bay giving similar justifications for black people, gays and lesbians being unwelcome at his establishment. In addition, an engaged lesbian couple was informed after signing the contract that their desired wedding venue simply would not host same-sex weddings.
“Unfortunately, homophobia is not exclusive to the hospitality industry, with healthcare being one of the many sectors into which it seeps. The difference is that discrimination in this setting can have deadly consequences,” says Nina Morris Lee, Head of Marketing at Anova Health Institute which is currently spearheading the WETHEBRAVE.co.za sexual health campaign.
Do Dinner with The Other FoundationWrite comment (0 Comments)
Make giving a part of your New Year's resolutions. Sign up to host an #AMillionOnesdinner with your friends, and pledge to support projects that protect and advance the human rights of homosexual men and women, and transgender and intersex people in southern Africa. Click the link: http://theotherfoundation.org/giving/
Compatibility In Gay RelationshipsWrite comment (0 Comments)
By Lawrence Mashiyane
It is February and, for those who care for such things as Valentine's Day, it is the month of Love. Some scurried throughout January to get someone 'special' and others are getting on the love train before the 14th. At the end of search, many will be on dates on the 14th and many will be having sex; others will probably be watching TV, but we are not interested in them for now (and clearly love isn't either). The interest is in the ones who will be on dates and/or having a shag. The interest is in what happens after Valentine's Day. After Valentine's Day, how long until the romance fizzles out and turns into a memory or worse, a one night stand? You're probably thinking not long and if you are then it means you know about the cloud that hovers over the gay community; our relationships do not last. Of course this stereotype or stigma does not apply to everyone in the gay community but, as I always say, stereotypes do not come from out of nowhere. They are not made up. Stereotypes are that big cloud of black smoke that let every one know there's a fire. It does not mean an entire building is burning, but it does mean a floor or two could be.
For any relationship to last, one thing is important and that one thing comes before love, trust and commitment/faithfulness. That one thing is compatibility. The problem with the gay community is that compatibility has been cut down to two simple things; sex role and behaviour/gender expression. "Are you top, bottom or versatile?" They ask. "Are you 'straight' acting or feminine?" Once those two questions are asked and the answers are the desired, everything is good to go! But truth is, it is not good to go. Not at all! I am not saying that those things are not important (although how greatly important is up for debate), I am saying that there is more to find out beyond those two. There is a lack of compatibility in Gay relationships and it is usually because people have two things in mind: Society and Sex.
Whether a guy is effeminate or not is usually a concern with society; especially if one is in the closet. Sometimes it is preference but also, some people prefer to be with more masculine or 'straight acting' guys because it is a lot less obvious and covert. When two guys walk down the street, looking all heterosexual, no one really thinks "oh look, there goes a gay couple" but the concern is if a guy walks with another guy who has a twist in his hips, a twang in his voice and speaks with swinging hands; it all looks too obvious. The feminine guy draws too much attention, the two guys walking together now stick out like a sore thumb. Even if some guys are 'open' and out of the closet, the still remain (if I can say) conservative. They do not want to put society on edge, draw the attention of homophobes and they believe that their sexuality is no body's business. A fear for being judged for being gay still exists.
The second concern is Sex. The "are you top, bottom or versatile question?" simply put is, "are we going to be able to fuck or not?" I reject any other interpretation, it simply amounts to that.Read more ...
Bangkok will be hosting its first Pride parade in 11 yearsWrite comment (0 Comments)
Bangkok, one of the gayest destinations in Asia, will be holding its first ever Pride festival this coming summer.
The six-day celebration, which will go from 15 to 20 May, is known to be the first of its kind held in the country’s capitol since 2006.
Jointly organised by Out BKK, Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, QueerMango, Bangkokrainbow and the HIV Foundation Asia, Bangkok Pride ‘aims to promote gender equality and equal rights while raising awareness for LGBT-related health issues,’ reports BK Magazine.
Besides lots of partying, the festival will also have workshops, film festivals and other social events happening across the city.
The highlight of the festival, being the Pride parade, will be held on 20 May. More information on the route and performances have yet been released.
According to BK Magazine, Thailand’s only regular Pride parade takes place in Phuket every April.
Though, one event that draws thousands of gay tourist to Thailand each year is the famous Songkran festival which falls in the month of April and is marked by the splashing of water.
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