Protests in Johannesburg as Gays Unfold Rainbow Flag on Constitutional Hill

South African LGBT Community and allies marching to protect the South African Constitution

By Melanie Nathan, May 19, 2012.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Johannesburg , Saturday, as the LGBTI community in South Africa today marched, protesting against the Traditional leaders of South Africa’s decision to review the rights of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex South Africans, which are entrenched in the South African Constitution.

South Africa is the only country in Africa and one of the few in the world to fully protect sexual orientation and gender identity in its Constitution.

A powerful and unified coalition of South African LGBTI groups formed to promote nationwide marches to protest the House of Traditional Leaders to Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee ‘s proposal to remove  the constitutional provision protecting individuals from being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The fervor has been exacerbated by the homophobic comments made in connection with the review by a traditional Chief Patekile Holomisa, who serves as Chairperson of the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC).

A peaceful, yet angry large crowd gathered in the City and marched to Constitutional Hill where a rainbow flag was unfurled on the Steps of the Constitutional Court  to assert that the protected rights of all minority groups in South Africa should never be the subject of discussion or review.

Speakers spoke passionately about their rights, expressing that no minority group should be excluded from the Constitution. One such speaker urged Chief Holomisa to stay out of the bedrooms of his fellow South Africans.

The marches  are taking place all across South Africa this weekend to deliver Petitions and urge ANC Member of Parliament, Chief Patikele Holomisa, chairperson of the CRC to cease and desist from threatening the removal of the rights of fellow South Africans.

The protestors assert that sexual orientation and gender identity rights and protection against discrimination are firmly entrenched in the South African Constitution and should never be the subject of discussion or removal.

GLAAD South Africa’s Jesse Cobus Fourie congratulated the organizers on the successful event: “SA GLAAD wishes to congratulate the organisers of the Johannesburg protest and everyone who contributed and were present, it was an awesome sight seeing so many of us united. Kudos!”

Marches will be held in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

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