Media statement: OUT LGBT Well-being calls for Helen Zille to explain queerphobic tweet

OUT LGBT Well-being expresses deep concern over a recent tweet from Helen Zille, the Chairperson of the DA Federal Council, which appears to be an attack on the LGBTIQ+ community.

On Sunday, Zille retweeted and commented on another tweet criticising Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender American actress and social media personality. In her tweet, Zille wrote:

“Is it now considered insufficiently ‘woke’ to be merely gay? Must you be transgender to gain access to the inner sanctum of the ‘tribe’? And must you, in the process, trash and stereotype all women, eradicating the progress they have made to achieve equality over half a century?”

Our interpretation of this statement suggests that Zille:

  1. Lacks an understanding of the difference between sexuality and gender identity.
  2. Appears to believe that individuals who identify as gay or transgender do so to appear “woke.”
  3. Believes that efforts by trans individuals to secure their right to equality are a threat to women’s rights and the progress they have made.

Comments like Zille’s oversimplify and misrepresent the lived experiences of LGBTIQ+ individuals, and contribute to a climate of stigma, marginalisation, and discrimination. Her remarks perpetuate harmful stereotypes and may incite queerphobic hate speech on social media platforms like Twitter.

We are particularly troubled by the fact that these comments were made by a senior leader in the official opposition party, which has positioned itself as an ally to the LGBTIQ+ community.

OUT urges Zille to clarify her tweet to South Africa’s LGBTIQ+ community ahead of next year’s elections. If she fails to do so, we urge the DA to publicly denounce her hateful statement.