Cape Town - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has partnered with the Foundation for Human Rights and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to strengthen the rights of LGBTIQ people.
On Thursday marked International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which is aimed at co-ordinating international events that raise awareness of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).
The SAHRC held a workshop yesterday, which included discussions on the national task team, the national intervention strategy, the Ekurhuleni declaration on practical solutions on ending violence and discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression, as well as intersex rights.
At the same time, the University of the Western Cape’s Loud Enuff programme hosted its annual awareness event, which started with a silent march from the gender equity unit to the main hall, and later included song and poetry.
The SAHRC said it had previously participated in the African regional seminar on finding practical solutions to ending SOGIE violence and discrimination, which was attended by more than 200 participants from across the African continent.
National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda also participated in the event.
“The high level of hostility experienced by people on the basis of their SOGIE within Africa was brought into focus with debates and discussions around the many laws enacted, adopted or inherited which criminalise same-sex unions, with an understanding that solutions need to be sought for human rights violations of LGBTIQ people to human dignity, freedom of expression and association, as well as their right to love and their right to life,” the commission said.
Two advocacy initiatives were adopted by the commission.
The first initiative was the development and distribution of informative advocacy materials, such as posters and fact sheets, educating society at large about SOGIE rights, and the second was an innovative initiative, using sports - rugby, in particular - as a means of advocacy.
The commission teamed up with Jozi Rugby Club, the first gay and inclusive competitive rugby team in Africa.
At UWC, Loud Enuff, which was established to promote the rights and safety of LGBTIQ people on campus, kept with tradition in commemorating the day, which it has done for many years.
A member who preferred to use his pseudonym, Freezalequeer, said South Africa was still largely a patriarchal society and many people suffered abuse because of this.
“It’s a tradition at UWC to commemorate the day and we are continuously trying to dismantle the idea that queer is un-African.
“It is an important day to us,” Freezalequeer added.