Gay asylum seekers speak of discrimination

2012-06-27 14:33
<a href="">Shuttertstock</a>


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Gay African asylum seekers struggle to find work and battle homophobic discrimination in South Africa, the continent's only nation to allow same-sex marriage, a report showed on Tuesday.

Interviews with 25 Africans by a Cape Town NGO found that 90% were jobless and that nearly all felt unsafe because of their sexuality or gender identity despite having fled their own countries to escape being targeted.

"There seems to be a lingering gap between the dreams and expectation that fuelled refugees' journeys to South Africa and the lived experiences that they have encountered here," said the People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (Passop) study.

"They arrived with big hopes and dreams however, for many, those dreams have not yet been fulfilled. They anticipated a better life in South Africa, free of homophobia and hate crimes, but that has not been the case."

Low-income townships, where shocking incidents of lesbians targeted for "corrective rape" are reported, were seen as the most dangerous areas and black and coloured people seen as the most homophobic.


Strong anti-foreigner attitudes also had made integration difficult, the report said.

Negative experiences while applying for asylum were high and only 14 interviewees stated sexual orientation as a reason, despite South Africa recognising this as a basis for granting refuge.

Officials also ridiculed some of them or asked inappropriate questions.

"Sometimes they laughed at me with the interpreter and tried to persuade me to cease being gay. They wanted to know more about how I felt being attracted to people of the same sex as me," a lesbian said.

The biggest reason for not finding work was discrimination, while more than half said they did not have the right documentation. Only two of the 25 had official refugee status.

A fifth of those interviewed said they traded sexual favours for money in order to survive, and nine pointed to hiding their sexual or gender identity during job interviews.

A transgender participant told of being selected for an interview where "they warned me to stop making gestures and talking like a girl. Since then, they have never called me".

Gays have equal rights under South Africa's constitution but levels of acceptance remain a challenge on the ground, with discrimination, harassment and violence.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    passop  |  gay rights  |  refugees publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

LIVE: Canada v Romania
Heyneke: Still some loose ends
LIVE: Fiji v Uruguay
Does De Kock's fate await Paige?
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.