File picture: Chris Helgren/Reuters

Johannesburg - A new report by the South African Institute of Race Relations has revealed how the Eastern Cape is the most homophobic province in the country.

This latest announcement by the IRR forms part of its November fast facts report.

In it, it notes that violence against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community is most common in the Eeastern Cape. 
It goes on to say that although SA boasts one of the most progressive Constitutions in the world, discrimination and violence against the LGBT community remains rampant.  

"Four out of ten LGBT South Africans know of someone who was murdered for being or suspected of being part of the LGBT community.  Black LGBT people are twice as likely as white LGBT people to know of someone being murdered on these grounds – which partially explains why only half of the black respondents are completely open about their sexuality," the IRR says.

It further points out that those who are part of the LGBT community have been threatened with violence. 

It states that some provinces have demonstrated more hostility towards the LGBT community than others with LGBT members in the Eastern Cape three times likely to be punched, hit, kicked or beaten than in other provinces. 

The Insitute, however, points out that positive trends have also been identified in the country saying these include the fact that almost 80 percent of LGBT members have indicated that they have not experienced any discrimination by a healthcare provider.

Further, more than two thirds (67 percent) of South Africans surveyed indicated they would strongly like, somewhat like or not care about living next to homosexuals. 

"A slight majority of South Africans (51 percent) agree that the Constitution should provide protection for lesbian and gay people compared to 29 percent who disagree and 16 percent who neither agree nor disagree," the study says.

Research analyst Gerbrandt van Heerden believes that education can play a key role in shifting people’s perspectives on sexuality in a more positive direction.  

“People with a tertiary education in Africa are almost three times as likely to be tolerant towards homosexuals as people who have no formal education.”  

Van Heerden also maintains that “a progressive constitution coupled with an education system that reinforces the value of that constitution can go a long way in promoting tolerance and acceptance of the LGBT community”.      

Politics and Development Bureau