Divisions Within The LGBTI Community
In the past I have called for more active interest and participation from the Pink Community, and I am happy to say that in recent months the community has risen to the challenge by and large, with new Pride events taking place, new community support projects springing up, and new activist voices shouting from within the wilderness to speak out against the injustices faced by our community.
However, there is an ongoing feud between the organizers of a community pageant and other members of the community, a feud which is both unproductive and insensible, and which threatens to tear a rift right through the community. I also find it puzzling and disgusting how many people who wouldn’t be seen dead voting or supporting anything political openly in defense of their own rights, have jumped in neck-deep in supporting either of the parties in this recent dispute which has been threatening to divide and weaken us as a community.
A pageant contest has its merits and its place in our community and in activism for our community. This should continue, but it should have checks and balances in place to prevent similar situations such as the current scenario, from developing.
Numerous claims of threats and intimidation, behind the scenes diplomacy and politicking have come to light in recent weeks, exploding on the internet and in the public eye. This feud must end.
Suffice to say, not only do I find such things to be divisive and detrimental to our cause and to our community, but it is a great embarrassment, and also of little real value or interest to me. In short, I don’t particularly care for it, or any of the players in it. At the end of the day, I feel all concerned could use a little growing up. The Pink Community I have been serving, is not the Pink Community I thought it was. It is beginning to shock and disappoint me.
A new political party has been formed, focusing exclusively on the issues faced by GLTBI South Africans. This is an important and worthy cause, and a critical development on the political landscape of our country. Since other parties do not exclusively concern themselves with our welfare, and at times when defending our human rights becomes an inconvenience or an embarrassment to them, choose to remain silent, it will be very useful to have such a dedicated and unique body to represent our voices in Parliament. This body will ensure that our voices will not be excluded from Parliamentary processes in future. Though realistically it will never win a general election on its own, it will fulfill a vital role to remind Parliament, other political parties, politicans and South Africa that we also share this space with them, and that we are equal under the Constitution which some of them either ignore or work to undermine, and that the days where WE, the people, remain silent in the presence of our abusers, are over. This is a GOOD thing.
All that aside, in the past MONTH, seven members of our community have been brutally murdered in hate crimes while South Africa still has NO HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION. THIS should be more important than petty squabbling over who gets to occupy the spotlight, and I would expect more adult behavior from people claiming to be “ambassadors” for what appears to be increasingly a “community” in name only.
At the same time, I hear multiple disturbing reports of children being victimized by their schools and teaching staff because of their gender identity and sexual orientation – WHY is nothing being done about this? Why do parents and teachers observing such inexcusable bigotry directed against children remain silent? Why are the provisions of the Constitution which protect against such indefensible persecution NOT being honored?
I hear troubling reports of lesbians being attacked and raped – not only by hostile homophobes, and not in public streets or in their own homes, but by OTHER lesbians inside establishments catering to our community! Not only are we being hunted and victimized by those outside who hate us – but now we are being hunted by predators inside our own community as well! THIS MUST END, victims must speak out, and those responsible must face the full might of the law!
Activists and community based organisations are welcome to work for our benefit and for our defense – BUT they should REMEMBER that they answer to US as the people they claim to represent – and they should never forget that to be a leader means leading from the front and doing as they would expect from the rest of us. No more, no less!