Show the LGBTI community respect, MEC urges
Protesters cry out for harassment and abuse to come to an end
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.
SUPPORT: Community Safety MEC Sizakele NkosiMalobane heads a LGBTI march in Sebokeng on Friday. Hundreds of people attended the event.