South Africa must change its tune for LGBTI citizens
The truth is that, for over 20 years, South Africa’s fully equal constitution has merely purported to protect LGBTI people from discrimination. But, citing the excuse of cultural context, it has done anything but protect gay, trans and intersex citizens from hate and harm. The ANC led South African government, with little resistance from other political parties, has failed to protect LGBTI people from the endemic brutality and violence, resulting from homophobia.
What is needed:
- Crimes committed where hate is a motivation must carry stronger sentences, through the implementation of hate crimes legislation.
- Victims and families must receive more government support.
- The government must embark upon a radical education campaign to counter the myth that being attracted to a member of the same-sex is un-African.
- President Zuma should publicly call on the Traditional Leaders to scrap their discussions about stripping fellow South Africans of their constitutional rights.
- All members of parliament who fail to uphold their oath to protect the constitution of South Africa should be reprimanded and recalled, as being unworthy of office.
- South Africa should ensure the revocation of any counter-productive process that can take away rights.
The constitution is a critical document, which ought not be bounced around at the whim of one group and the expense of another. If the message were to change perhaps so too shall the hearts. It is time for South Africans to learn to live their awesome constitution.
Melanie Nathan is the founding director of Private Courts Inc, a mediation, LGBTI equality and human rights advocacy firm based in San Francisco. She publishes oblogdeeoblogda.me and is co-producing Gay USA: the Movie. Follow her on Twitter here.
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