OUT LGBT Well-being and MambaOnline publish a monthly overview of LGBTIQ+ rights violations in South Africa. We also look at the status of cases making their way through the criminal justice system. Here is our summary for October 2022.
- The LGBTIQ+ community reacted in shock to the rape and murder of 34-year-old lesbian-identifying Tankiso Tawanyane in Kimberley in a monstrous suspected hate crime. According to the SA Police Service, Tawanyane was gang raped by three men, set alight with paraffin and left for dead in Lethabo Park, Roodepan, on 7 October 7. She was taken to hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries. Tawanyane, who worked as a security guard, is the ninth known queer individual to be killed in South Africa in 2022. The SAPS are offering a R50,000 reward to anyone who can provide them with information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. An SMS can be sent anonymously to 32211 or on the MySAPS app.
- The annual Johannesburg Pride event came under threat just days before it was planned to take place. On 26 October, the US government issued a security warning of a possible terrorist attack on the weekend of the celebration in the same area where it was to be held. While the warning did not specify that Johannesburg Pride was the target, it was widely accepted and reported that it was likely to be the focus of the threatened attack. The organisers chose to proceed with the event, bolstered by a substantial increase in security. Thousands turned out for the march, defying those who sought to strike fear in the community. The 33rd Johannesburg Pride went ahead without incident.
- OUT LGBT Well-being was approached by a 15-year-old lesbian high school student who alleged that she was being physically and emotionally abused by her family because of her sexuality. The Gauteng teen did not wish to report the matter to the police and asked for assistance in sensitising her family. As she is a minor, however, OUT referred the matter to social workers. The case is ongoing.
- The mother of an LGBTIQ+ teenager at the Greenside Primary School in Polokwane claimed that her daughter had been discriminated against by the school principal when she was twice sent home because she refused to wear a dress. The school argued that it was simply upholding its uniform policy, which is based on binary gender lines. After intervention by MambaOnline and Action for Social Justice International, the 12-year-old was allowed to go back to school. The Limpopo Education Department, however, denied that any discrimination took place and even questioned the validity of the parents’ claims about the girl’s sexual orientation and/or gender expression and identity. Engagements have continued with the school and the family.
- In Cape Town, the city’s new rainbow crossing that was installed to celebrate the LGBTIQ+ community came under fire from the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). The crossing was launched by Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis during Pride Month in support of inclusivity and in a bid to increase tourism and boost the Green Point area as a gay district. In a council meeting, the ACDP demanded that the crossing be removed because, it claimed, it violates national road traffic regulations stipulating that crossings must be in white. The city argued that the paint used for the pedestrian crossing “complies with the SANS standards for road markings.” While the ACDP’s criticism of the initiative was not expressed in a directly homophobic manner, the party has been a longstanding opponent of LGBTIQ+ rights and inclusion in South Africa.
- OUT LGBT Well-being launched a fundraising initiative to help cover some of its legal costs, such as travel and accommodation, which are expected to be incurred by its pro-bono lawyer in the Steve Hofmeyr hate speech case. The organisation urged the community to support its efforts to ensure that the controversial singer is held accountable “for spreading anti-LGBTIQ+ lies and misinformation by telling his hundreds of thousands of social media followers that the LGBTIQ+ community supports people who engage in bestiality and suggesting that the community aims to sexually ‘groom’ children through inclusive representation and education.” While there have been some unsuccessful efforts to settle the matter, the case has been postponed to 16 February 2023 by the Equality Court in Gqeberha.
REPORT LGBTIQ+ RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
If you’ve experienced or witnessed an LGBTIQ+ hate crime, hate speech or any other kind of LGBTIQ+ rights discrimination in South Africa, you can now report it anonymously on your phone at no cost.
- Simply dial *134*382*5# and follow the instructions. If you wish, you can request to be called back for support.
NB: South African phone companies have a pre-set time limit. After 120 seconds you will lose connection. However, if you redial *134*382*5# you can start where you left off.