Servicing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community

OUT provides direct health services to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, MSM, sex workers, and injecting drug users, including HIV testing, counselling, treatment and general lifestyle advice and support.

OUT has been in existence for more than 21 years and is dedicated to the building of healthy and empowered LGBT communities in South Africa and internationally, while reducing hetrosexism and homophobia in society.

OUT applauds signing of the Civil Union Amendment Bill

OUT LGBT Well-being welcomes the signing of the Civil Union Amendment Bill into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa this week.

First introduced as a private members bill by them MP Deidre Carter in January 2018, the new law repeals Section 6 of the Civil Union Act which allowed state-employed Home Affairs officials to refuse to marry same-sex couples on the grounds of their personal “conscience, religion [or] belief”.

This provision has been identified by LGBTQ activists as an unconstitutional and discriminatory flaw in the Civil Union Act that legalised same-sex marriage and civil unions in South Africa in 2006.

As a result of Section 6, many same-sex couples faced discrimination at Home Affairs offices and some couples were also forced to travel to other provinces because local marriage officers refused to solemnise their unions.

“The signing of this Bill has been a long time coming,” comments OUT’s Hate Crime Manager, Roché Kester, who also manages the Love Not Hate programme.

“The Bill was found desirable by the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee in 2018 but lapsed with the 2019 general elections. When the NCOP passed the bill in July of this year, the LGBTI community waited patiently for six months for President Ramaphosa to since the law and rescind Section 6 of the Civil Union.”

Home Affairs will have a 24-month transitional period wherein those officials who were previously exempt from solemnising same-sex unions will be trained to comply with the new legislation. Each branch must in the meantime ensure that it can offer the service to all.

“This is a definite victory for the LGBTI community and a testament that when the community stands together, great things can be achieved to further the rights of the community and to call out injustice that is discriminatory,” says Kester.

She adds: “We will continue to monitor whether same-sex couples have any difficulties at Home Affairs offices and we will take the necessary action to ensure that the provisions of the Civil Union Amendment Bill are enforced.”

Services
Have you been threatened, hit, raped or had your property damaged or stolen because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI)? Then you have been a victim of a hate crime.
OUT offers exciting training to mainstream service providers and other interested parties. The training assists individuals to understand themselves as sexual beings.
Currently OUT distributes safer sex packs to a range of venues in Tshwane that are utilised by gay men and lesbian women. These packs also include responsible sex messaging, appropriate barrier methods and lube.
OUT's Engage Men’s Health project offers free and confidential sexual health services to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM).