Cape Town - Activists from the LGBTQIA+ community marched with Deputy Justice and Constitutional Development Minister John Jeffery in Nyanga today to raise awareness around the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign.
Jeffery led the march in Nyanga with other organisations. A gender sensitisation session was held after the march at the Zolani Centre in Nyanga.
Jeffery said that while it may no longer be a crime to be homosexual, people still died because of their sexual orientation.
“Persons from the LGBTQIA+ community often face prejudice, discrimination and violence in their daily lives. As we embark on the 16 days of activism campaign, it is vital that LGBTQIA+ persons are also included in this campaign so that we can prevent and combat hate crimes and GBV in all its forms,” Jeffery said.
Lebo Mncayi, Triangle Project’s political education and movement building co-ordinator, said Jeffery’s presence was important because of the position he occupies.
“He can use that power to influence processes that will ensure safety and adequate judicial redress for us. It is important that he is there to hear first hand the concerns of our community,” Mncayi said.
Funeka Soldaat, advocacy co-ordinator for NPO Free Gender, said they were pleased to engage Jeffery on cases of femicide that have yet to be solved.
“We hope that the issue of the LGBTQIA+ community won’t just be paid lip service, we hope that it will be considered a real issue. This march has been important because many people from the community were present – different organisations, religious leaders and traditional healers. We hope these organisations will be visible even after the deputy minister has left,” Soldaat said.
Luxolo Ndlovu, the founder of Kasi Pride, said: “We are still brutally murdered by our brothers and our fathers, but the fact remains that these are people that we know, people living in the society.
"By now I thought LGBTQIA+ would be just another language of acceptance; I didn't know that we would still be telling people that we need to be accepted, we need to be loved by the community. People must respect the decision that we have taken of living the reality of being queer.”
Ndlovu said people were sometimes labelled homophobic, though in many cases they just needed more information to understand queers.