Half of us are homophobic

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LGBTI activist in Gauteng. Picture: Herman Verwey/File
LGBTI activist in Gauteng. Picture: Herman Verwey/File

Let’s start with a number: 430 000 adult South Africans say that in the past 12 months, they have physically harmed women “who dress and behave like men in public”.

This is just one of the findings by Progressive Prudes, the first nationally representative survey exploring South Africa’s attitudes, understanding and experiences of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Neville Gabriel, CEO of The Other Foundation, said: “There is a general belief that people in Africa are deeply homophobic and unaccepting of gender diversities.

“But the truth is, up to now, we haven’t really known what the African public really thinks because hardly any work has been done to gather and analyse the views of the public in a structured way in Africa.”

Although the study by The Other Foundation and the Human Sciences Research Council is proof that our Constitution is in front of people’s attitudes, an encouraging change is that the number of people who strongly disagree with allowing same-sex marriage has dropped from 48% of people in 2012 to 23% last year.

However, that only a ratio of 2:1 South Africans support keeping the current constitutional protections against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation compared with those who thought it should be removed is shocking.

There are 53 million people in South African and more than 500 000 adult women and men, across all population groups, living in rural and urban areas, and across all age groups, identify themselves as homosexual, bisexual or gender nonconforming – consistent with similar population ratios in other parts of the world. – Staff reporter

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FOR THE FULL REPORT, VISIT: theotherfoundation.org/learning/

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