Are lesbian and gay people really being heard?

2009-04-15 00:00

During a recent public forum on the 2009 general elections held by the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness (Pacsa), members from the Gay and Lesbian Network had many concerns and hoped to have engaged more fruitfully with politicians regarding LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender and inter-sex) issues.

Although the South African Constitution recognises people of different sexual orientation and forbids discrimination based on the grounds of sexual orientation, the LGBTI community still experience discrimination by broader society and government departments.

The lack of inclusion of LGBTI in government programmes are often sidelined, for instance, in the National Strategic Planning. If the Constitution recognises minority groups, why is it that policies regarding minority groups are not correctly implemented or enforced?

Hate speech often results in hate crime and hate crime is steadily increasing against the LGBTI community. The Gay and Lesbian Network felt that this question was inadequately addressed by the politicians who were present at the public forum. Responses from politicians were solely based on the South African Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But does this adequately address the LGBTI community when lesbians (based on sexual orientation) are being “correctively” raped or even murdered? What we need is for a hate crime legislation that covers LGBTI to be enacted.

The Gay and Lesbian Network would like to encourage the LGBTI community to participate in the elections on April 22 in their numbers and to vote for the party of their choice. The network has an election survey based on questions and answers posed to political parties on LGBTI issues and this provides a basis from which one can make an informed decision on the best political party that addresses one’s needs. You may contact the network office for the survey at 033 342 6165 or anthonyw@telkomsa.net

•Anthony Waldhausen is the director of the Gay and Lesbian Network.

Herewith the survey done by OUT – an organisation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities (LGBT). The organisation based in Pretoria sent a list of questions to a number of political parties on questions relating to LGBT issues.

Click here to download the survey in PDF format.

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