A recent study by OUT LGBTI Wellbeing together with the Love Not Hate Campaign found that 41% of gay men in South Africa know someone who has been discriminated against or murdered because of being homosexual.
Our communities need to learn and understand that being gay or homosexual is not a sin, disease or disorder. There are also many gay people who are still being discriminated against in the work place and at church despite the fact that the Human Rights of gays are protected by the constitution of this country. Most of gay men especially in the townships end up falling into depression, anxiety and destructive behavior because of the prejudice experienced at the hands of people in their communities.
Simphiwe (24) from Duduza township in Ekurhuleni says that he tried to commit suicide because of being discriminated against by his family. “It is never easy growing up as a young gay man in the township. In 2013 my family wanted me to go to the initiation school because they believed that it was going to change me into a ‘real man. I felt so hurt and lonely and I thought that the only thing to do was to end my life. I decided to drink rat poison and became unconscious; my grandmother was the one who found me lying on the floor and called an ambulance.”
Teboho (30), another openly gay man from Bluegum View section in Duduza.” I was once raped by three guys. It was at night and I was from a local tavern, I have never reported the matter to the police station because we are always ridiculed, and our cases are not taken seriously,”.
Thabang (21) “I dropped out of school in grade 10 because teachers and other learners at school were always making fun of me and called me derogatory names. When I reported my problem at home there was no one who wanted to bother and intervene,”
Ntsupe, chairperson of Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC) had this to say: “As gay people we are humans just like everyone, we need to create awareness because LGBTI rights should be respected. Our nurses, teachers and police should be taught how to handle and deal with our cases,”
Esau Dlamini is a contributing writer for the Anova Health Institute and these are his views, which may or may not reflect those of Anova and its affiliates.