“Visibility is pivotal to LGBTIQA+ fight”

Justice Edwin Cameron wants people who affiliate with LGBTIQA+ to come out for their cause against prejudice. 

By Anlerie de Wet

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LGBTIQA+ JUSTICE: Justice Edwin Cameron at the ACTIVATE Wits monthly talk. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Justice Edwin Cameron supported the ACTIVATE Wits monthly pride talk on Friday by talking about how sexual orientation is a very complex matter in Africa.

Cameron, who came out in 1982, believes South Africa is the leading light in Africa in terms of same gender relationship acceptance, but he believes there is still a long road ahead.

He said because South Africa was the first in Africa to have a sexual orientation clause in it’s constitution, it has a responsibility to the LGBTI community to be “visible where they can, as visibility is pivotal to our fight.”

“They need to come out.”

The Justice urges the people to use the opportunities set in place by the legislative environment in the country to promote the cause of equality for all sexualities.

Cameron explained to the audience that Africa faces tremendous odds because “it faces different patriarchal hierarchies.”

He praised the progress of certain activists in the United States and of those in countries such as Malawi where it is illegal to be in a same sex relationship. The progress that has been made in Africa is irreversible, but people are still being imprisoned and assaulted for their sexuality, said Cameron.

There were members of the ACTIVATE Wits executive committee who were present at the event and still in the closet. Cameron used this case as an example that there is still much to be done to ensure that every person who identifies themselves as LGBTI fell safe to talk to their parents and communities about their sexuality.

Although things may be easier now than twenty years  ago, the road ahead “may have more bloodshed, hatred and incarceration, but the road is ours,” said Cameron.