Local Government Elections are tomorrow but according to members of the of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual (LGBTI) community their voices are not there.
LOCAL Government Elections are approaching but according to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual (LGBTI) community their concerns are not being met by the campaigns.
Chanel van der Linde, a queer first-year LLB student at Wits, does not believe “the community concerns are seen as important. People think ‘oh we have same sex marriage everything is ok’.”
Van der Linde added that none of the major political parties have vocally championed LGBTI issues.
“None of the parties address violence against lesbians in townships nor reforming our legislation concerning trans folks’ access to medical resources,” van der Linde said.
This year the Gauteng City Region Observatory published a survey showing that attitudes towards the LGBTI community were worsening and that homophobia is on the rise. According to the results, 14% percent of people feel that it is acceptable to be violent towards a gay or lesbian person. In addition to this, only 56% of people agree with the statement that gay and lesbian people deserve to have equal rights, a drop from the previous survey.
Alaine Marsden, a transgender student who is doing her third-year in Bachelor of Health Science has said that she is “not sold on a modern democracy” because it does not always speak to trans people.
“As far as the experience of voting as a trans person is, a lot of us don’t have legal documents that reflect who we are,” Marsden said.
“The trans community needs very specific things: recognition of non-binary gender identities, better bureaucratic processes around legal gender change.”
Van der Linde said she believes the South African is taking on “anti-LGBTI attitudes due to pressure from the rest of Africa.”
Both Marsden and van der Linde agree with what needs to be done with going forward.
The government needs to “reform legislation” around gender identities because the existing law is “vague and not well implemented,” said van der Linde.
Wits Vuvuzela, Wits Pride to focus on #OppressionDenied, July 2015