Show the LGBTI com­mu­nity re­spect, MEC urges

Protesters cry out for ha­rass­ment and abuse to come to an end

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MASABATA MK­WANANZI @Sa­bie_M

PU­LANE Le­bote, a mem­ber of the LGBTI com­mu­nity, doesn’t want to re­port any pre­vi­ous at­tacks on her – by peo­ple she be­lieves are ho­mo­pho­bic – to the po­lice be­cause she fears they might also ha­rass her.

She con­tin­ues to live in fear in her com­mu­nity at Se­bo­keng, in the Vaal, she said.

Le­bote was among hun­dreds of les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der and in­ter­sex (LGBTI) peo­ple who marched through the city’s streets on Fri­day to high­light their plight.

“I can­not walk in the streets hold­ing hands with my part­ner, be­cause at any point I can be ha­rassed and as­saulted be­cause of my sex­u­al­ity,” 26-year-old Le­bote said.

Gaut­eng Com­mu­nity Safety MEC Siza­kele Nkosi-Malobane at­tended the march and ap­peared to be play­ing a lead­ing role, even tak­ing charge of the panel dis­cus­sions.

The march came against the back­drop of the spate of hate crimes against the LGBTI com­mu­nity and vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren, with more in­ci­dents of femicide killings re­ported last month.

Malobane-Nkosi said the ma­jor­ity of LGBTI peo­ple in South Africa con­tin­ued to live in fear. “I ap­peal to the cit­i­zens of Gaut­eng and our fel­low Africans to re­sist pro­mot­ing vi­o­lence against this sec­tor of the com­mu­nity,” she said.

She urged peo­ple to de­sist from ho­mo­pho­bic vi­o­lence and femicide.

Later, speak­ing to The Star, she also ap­pealed to lead­ers and po­lice of­fi­cers to han­dle cases per­tain­ing to the LGBTI com­mu­nity with sen­si­tiv­ity and care.

Se­bo­keng sta­tion com­man­der Bri­gadier Pule Mokoena told The Star he had en­sured that po­lice of­fi­cers were be­ing trained in how to han­dle such is­sues. There are also LGBTI mem­bers at his po­lice sta­tion, he pointed out.

“As far as cases about hate crimes against the LGBTI com­mu­nity be­ing opened, I have not heard any­thing as we take every case that is brought to us very se­ri­ously,” said Mokoena.

Sizwe Mo­lamu, a gay fa­ther of one, said he was tired of schools do­ing noth­ing to ed­u­cate chil­dren about the LGBTI com­mu­nity. “My son did not want to go to school as he was be­ing mocked be­cause his fa­ther is gay,” said Mo­lamu.

PIC­TURES: MASABATA MK­WANANZI

SUP­PORT: Com­mu­nity Safety MEC Siza­kele NkosiMalobane heads a LGBTI march in Se­bo­keng on Fri­day. Hun­dreds of peo­ple at­tended the event.

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