One of South Africa’s most effective transgender organisations received a financial boost on 2nd September through a LGBTI+ fundraising initiative in the Mother City.
Representatives from Gender Dynamix attended the last Conversations event at Gate69 on Bree Street in the CBD to take receipt of a cheque for R10,000.
Conversations, launched in October 2013, was a monthly networking and social event for LGBTI+ professionals living and working in and around Cape Town. Over four years, 48 highly successful events were held in upmarket hotels, bars and restaurants stretching from Newlands to Camps Bay.
As well as facilitating face-to-face conversations between LGBTI+ professionals, be it for business or social networking purposes, Conversations was also socially responsible by raising money for and awareness of local charities. The money raised for Gender Dynamix partly came from the door charge paid by the attendees at the Conversations events from November 2016 – August 2017.
Gender Dynamix, founded in 2005 and based in Observatory, was the first African-based not-for-profit organisation to focus on the transgender community. Its vision today is to play a key role in realising the human rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people within and beyond the borders of South Africa.
Working within a human rights framework, Gender Dynamix supports transgender people to access and advocate for their rights; increases awareness and visibility of transgender people in South Africa and beyond; and promotes freedom of expression of gender identity, focusing on transgender, transsexual and other gender non-conforming people.
To achieve its aims, Gender Dynamix undertakes a wide range of activities which include Legal and Policy Reform Advocacy, Access to Gender Affirming Health Care Services in Training of Medical Professionals to deliver gender affirming healthcare services to their patients. The Regional Movement Building Advocacy works allows for collaborations of Trans Organisations within the SADC Region. Gender Dynamix Research Portfolio concentrates on Transgender Needs Assessments. The GDX general advocacy work focus on significant others, family, friends and colleagues of trans people with information and education; running programmes and self-empowering workshops for transgender people to build their self-esteem and assertiveness in society; undertaking outreach work in townships; lobbying government, civil society, national and international decision-makers and the media to combat prejudice against transgender people; and playing an integral role in transgender activism in South Africa, Africa and globally by participating in relevant human rights networks.
Andrew Howard, founder and director of Conversations, said: “As a Board member at the Pride Shelter Trust for three years, I became aware of the immense challenges and discrimination that transgender and gender non-conforming people face in their everyday lives, for example, when trying to access healthcare and finding work. I therefore chose Gender Dynamix as the fourth and final not-for-profit that Conversations in Cape Town would support because of the efforts they make to combat this discrimination.
By Gavin Hayward
I was asked to be a breakaway judge in the final week of Mr Gay World Southern Africa 2017. It turned out to be a whole lot of fun and I was sorry I hadn’t freed up more days to spend with the finalists. Deadlines are such dreary things!
Our first encounter was at a restaurant in Melrose Arch after they had been cleaning up Joburg in Newtown. A bit overwhelming as I arrived when they were well into their pizzas already so I was introduced to everyone at once. Bit of a blur of sweet young things who got a brief wave from me….LOL
At the Protea Hotel we booked into in Pretoria, I met up with Hendrik Baird of GaySA Radio, who had also been asked to be a judge. And after supper we were properly introduced to the finalists. Hendrik spoke to them about the radio, and what interviews he wanted them to conduct, but when it was my turn I drew on my teaching experience and got them to talk. I asked them about when they first knew they were gay, and the most memorable answer was probably from the man from Mussina who said he couldn’t remember ever having been straight!We had been encouraged to give them TASKS, so I asked them to each give me a note at breakfast introducing themselves, and saying how they felt about being gay activists, which is, after all, what they had become. They had the t-shirt, they had had to proclaim themselves at reception…
After breakfast, we piled into minibuses and were driven to Hunters Rest in Rustenberg, where the swimwear photoshoot took place in the afternoon. And the next day we drove up to Sun City where the guys were photographed frolicking in the waves. Then all 19 of us were treated to a Segway tour around the hotel grounds, and the golf course, which proved to be an unexpected highlight of the day.
In the evenings the finalists participated in workshops and rehearsals. I was asked to create a written test (with answers) and focused on gay content like: what does GLOW stand for? Who is the gay man who serves in the Constitutional Court?
Wednesday was my last morning with the guys. We stopped on Route 24 for tea with Werner at Riverbend Cottages and I took the opportunity to say my farewells there. I surprised myself at how emotional I felt! I guess one doesn’t often get the chance the spend time with so many talented young people!
This event is completely reliant on sponsorships, and in turn on your support of the sponsors. Choose to stay in Fortis group hotels, seek out NIKU swim- and underwear, and so on.
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.
In Afghanistan, as part of an illegal but traditional practice, men recruit young boys, luring them with gifts and money with the intention of having sex with them. They do it under the guise of a disgusting old sexual traditional practice called “bacha bazi” (boy play).
The practice has been widely discussed — for example, in The New York Times, Newsweek and The Daily Mail. Further coverage comes in a video documentary titled ‘They don’t just dance’ that is now available online through RTDoc – an English-language documentary channel created by Russia’s government-backed media company RT.
The documentary shows how under-aged boys are recruited and taught how to dance like women in parties organized by rich folks, who then later select their favorite boy for sex.
In Afghanistan, this is not viewed as homosexuality, even though there are strict laws prohibiting the act.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are South Africa’s most at risk population for HIV acquisition and transmission. For this reason ‘WeTheBrave’, a sexual health campaign, has been launched with MSM in mind. This will be the first large scale campaign ever in this country to specifically address gay men and other men who have sex with men.
The launch event took place in Newtown, Johannesburg on Thursday 25 June with a who’s who of LGBT and HIV activists in attendance. They were entertained by a performance by Odidi Mfenyana and heard messages from Sir Elton John, Professor James McIntyre, and others.
Spearheaded by the Anova Health Institute, and funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the WeTheBrave.co.za campaign will address both prevention and treatment issues in an affirming, non-judgemental and sex positive way, which will be entertaining and engaging.
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