“We must embrace diversity amongst South Africans and become vocal partners in the fight against the murder and victimisation of sexual minorities."
THE INTERNATIONAL Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was celebrated in Kimberley on Saturday.
Mbulelo Williams, a member of the ANC provincial executive committee, addressed attendees to the event, which was held at the LifeLine offices in Kimberley, and highlighted the importance of raising awareness and advocating against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia in society.
Williams emphasised that crimes against this vulnerable group were considered by government as a priority crime.
“This crime needs to be tackled through multi-agency, multi-stakeholder and community-wide interventions that ensure that perpetrators of such crime are brought to book and victims and survivors are empowered.
“We must have aggressive campaigns to raise awareness in schools, communities, workplaces, places of worship, in professions and in business,” Williams said.
Williams also told attendees that president Cyril Ramaphosa was a strong advocate of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) community, and, during the annual LGBTQI Feather Awards last year, the president had noted the following: “It is a sad truth that in our nation the LGBTQI community is amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised. They suffer discrimination, violence and abuse. We must, as a nation. do better than what we are now. We are all born the way we are. We need to support, embrace and respect each other. When we treat each other with respect, we are all more respected. It is upon us all to contribute to the creation of more just, equal and safe society.”
Williams urged community members to “forge ahead by developing the necessary strategies to promote win-win solutions to the benefit of our LGBTQI community, as they faced severe stigma, violence and rejection”.
“We must embrace diversity amongst South Africans and become vocal partners in the fight against the murder and victimisation of sexual minorities.
“We sought to use this campaign to highlight and galvanise a multidisciplinary response to the multiple challenges facing the transgender community, including increased levels of violence, increasing rates of HIV infections, increased vulnerability and dependency as a result of a lack of economic opportunities.”
Williams concluded by calling government to create a more conducive environment to foster equal and full participation of women in the mainstream economy and for patriarchy to fall and for gender equality to rise.