FILE - In this June 30, 2019, file photo parade-goers carrying rainbow flags walk down a street during the LBGTQ Pride march in New York, to celebrate five decades of LGBTQ pride, marking the 50th anniversary of the police raid that sparked the modern-day gay rights movement. Democrats flooded Twitter and email inboxes this week with praise for the watershed Supreme Court decision shielding gay, lesbian and transgender people from job discrimination. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
FILE - In this June 30, 2019, file photo parade-goers carrying rainbow flags walk down a street during the LBGTQ Pride march in New York, to celebrate five decades of LGBTQ pride, marking the 50th anniversary of the police raid that sparked the modern-day gay rights movement. Democrats flooded Twitter and email inboxes this week with praise for the watershed Supreme Court decision shielding gay, lesbian and transgender people from job discrimination. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

Commission of Gender Equality launches project to determine the state of LGBTQI+ equality in SA

By Nonhlanhla Nozizwe Hlatshwayo Time of article published Sep 27, 2021

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DURBAN - THE Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) community in KwaZulu-Natal has welcomed the #LGBTI+equality project by the Commission of Gender Equality (CGE) to solicit comments on the state of their equality in the country.

The commission announced that from tomorrow they would be putting up a questionnaire on their website for comments that would be used to identify key areas of intervention to ensure the queer community had equality.

“The objective of the project is to assess the state of LGBTQI equality in South Africa 27 years after the achievement of democracy in South Africa. While acknowledging the progress over the last decades of our democracy – equality in marriage, removal of sodomy laws, equal recognition of spousal benefits and inclusion of same-sex couples in adoption – it also means a re-look at the areas where there has been little to no progress and even regression in important areas of transgender inclusion, forced divorces and intersex genital mutilation,” the commission stated.

The CGE also highlighted that the eradication of explicitly discriminatory legislative provisions from South Africa’s law books had not eradicated societal prejudices.

“While the Constitutional Court has recognised and declared unconstitutional various exclusionary provisions, this has had little effect on improving the life chances of the LGBTQI+ community as a whole,” the commission said.

Responding to the announcement, LGBTQI activist Mlondi Mkhize said: “The LGBTQI community has had to live in fear and constantly look over their shoulders.

“Hate crimes have caught the attention of policy-makers, who possess power to take decisions that can shift and transform the current situation, and influence society at, especially township communities, to understand that queer lives matter.”

The Rainbow Organisation commended the CGE for inviting not just the queer community, but everyone to comment, saying that the queer community is not a secluded island but part of the community that is constantly evolving.

“We also need to step aside and hear what the rest of the community thinks, and maybe we will get to hear what it is that they need to be educated about, the missing information. We are evolving and new things and information comes up. So now is the perfect time to pause and assess,” said Sondelani Mwandla, an executive member of the Rainbow Organisation.

The campaign comes after at least eight people from the LGBTQI community in South Africa have been murdered in suspected hate crimes this year. Two of the murders took place in KwaZulu-Natal – Anele Bhengu and Siphamandla Khoza were found murdered in KwaMakhutha and Ntuzuma respectively.

THE MERCURY

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