Responding to the psycho-social needs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community

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Staff at the Gay & Lesbian Network have been working on our veggie garden! We have planted an array of vegetables which will be used to feed our beneficiaries. This also forms a part of our staff wellness program. The Gay & Lesbian Network ensures optimum commitment and services for the upliftment and recognition of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community through creative programmes that foster equality, respect and acceptance.

As a NPO we rely on donations and sponsorship. This money goes towards our programmes, which foster the upliftment and recognition of the LGBTI community. The Gay & Lesbian Network is a registered non-profit organisation which is Tax exempt and has Section 18A(1) status which means that every cash donation you make to the Network is TAX DEDUCTIBLE. If you are interested in helping us, we are looking for gardening tools, seeds, plants, a bench and a table.

If you would like further information, please contact 033 342 6165 or email info@gaylesbian.org.za

Thobeka “TK” Bhengu (29) is a human rights activist, performer, choreographer and an artistic director of the Rainbow Theatre Company, a project of the Gay & Lesbian Network based in Scottville.  After her first collaboration with an internationally renowned artist and visual activist Zanele Muholi, a saxophonist Sebenzile Langa and a spoken word artist Andiswa Dlamini in Ohio, USA in October last year, local artist Thobeka Bhengu will be performing her experimental  work titled  ‘(Un)African’ in London, United Kingdom  at the Autograph Gallery at Rivington Place. She was invited by Zanele Muholi to create and perform at Muholi’s solo exhibition entitled ‘Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama’ that will be showing between the 13thJuly -28th October 2017. Bhengu will be departing on the 8th of July and she will be returning on the 16th of July.

Her new solo work is an exploration of culture, tradition and religion. Where she explores from her personal view how certain beliefs are used by a majority of African countries to reinforce homophobia. An idea that they have spent the past two months exploring with the Rainbow Theatre Company in an upcoming production entitled Safe Spaces. She is hoping to continue experimenting with the work for a while after her trip and believes there is room for the work to evolve after its debut in London.

Her hopes for the trip are to explore the culture, visit historic sites, and see some performances and also get a chance to network with other artists and potential funders. Bhengu hasn’t planned any tourist activities since she feels she’ll learn more by talking to locals than booking an official tour of the city. Local artists continue to wave our flag high and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

 

Thobeka performing Faces and Phases in Ohio, USA 2016.

 

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). The date was selected to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Since then, the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) community has come a long way; but we still face many health, economic, and social barriers, as well as alarmingly high levels of hate crimes.


At the Gay & Lesbian Network, we see first-hand how homophobia and transphobia negatively impacts the health and well-being of LGBTI people. We ensure optimum commitment and services for the upliftment and recognition of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersex (LGBTI) community through creative programmes that foster equality, respect and acceptance.

Here are five ways you can participate in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia to make sure it continues to get better for the LGBT community:

1. Spread the Word through Social Media:
Share this post and show your support on Facebook. Tweet your support for the LGBT community using #IDAHOT, #GLN and @GLNkzn. Write your own blog about IDAHOT and share it on Tumblr. Snap a photo of yourself holding a pro-LGBT sign for Instagram. Make equality go viral!

2. Give Back to the LGBTI Community:
Donate to your favourite LGBTI causes. As a NPO we rely on donations and sponsorship. This money goes towards the upliftment and recognition of the LGBTI community. The Gay & Lesbian Network is a registered non-profit organisation which is Tax exempt and has Section 18A(1) status. Every cash donation you make to the Network is TAX DEDUCTIBLE in terms of Section 18A(1) of the Income Tax Act of 1962, as amended.

GLN banking details:
Bank: First National Bank (FNB)
Account name: Gay & Lesbian Network
Account number: 62100583394
Branch name: Bank Street
Branch code: 220825

3. Share Your Story:
Let others know how homophobia or transphobia has affected you or your loved ones. You can help your friends and family understand how anti-LGBTI bias negatively impacts people they know and love. We have a number of counsellors who are trained on LGBTI related issues. For free counselling call our helpline on 086 033 3331 or SMS HELP to 079 891 3036 and we will call you back (Helpline operates from 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday). At GLN, we are also always looking for positive stories. If you have one, please contact media@gaylesbian.org.za

4. Listen to Someone Else’s Story:
Homophobia and transphobia impact us all differently. If you are a cisgender man or woman, educate yourself about the challenges faced by trans members of our community. If you are an LGBTI adult, do something that benefits the youth in our community—who face much higher levels of harassment and homelessness than their heterosexual peers. As we work to open other people’s minds, we should see where there’s room to grow ourselves. We have a number of awareness campaigns that you may want to take part in. For more information, please email info@gaylesbian.org.za

5. Take pride in our rainbow nation and celebrate diversity:
The Gay & Lesbian Network has some great events coming up this year! The highlight of our calendar is the Pink Mynah Festiva! 100% of the monies raised benefit our work for upliftment of the LGBTI community. We are also looking for sponsors for this event, so if you would like to let the world know that you believe in equal human rights, please contact us for more information on how you can get involved.

And remember, you can take these steps against homophobia and transphobia not just today but every day! For more information visit our website at www.gaylesbian.org.za or call our office on (+27) 033 342 61 65.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the sad reality for many of our beneficiaries. We are asking you to look into your heart and make a donation of either food or money. Please bring a can of food, or a food pack to our office, at 19 Connaught Road, in Scottsville Pietermaritzburg.

If this is not possible, please make a monetary donation. This money will go towards the upliftment and recognition of the LGBTI community, including providing them with thier basic needs, such as food.

The Gay & Lesbian Network is a registered non-profit organisation which is Tax exempt and has Section 18A(1) status. Every cash donation you make to the Network is TAX DEDUCTIBLE in terms of Section 18A(1) of the Income Tax Act of 1962, as amended.

Banking details:

Bank: First National Bank (FNB)
Account name: Gay & Lesbian Network
Account number: 62100583394
Branch name: Bank Street
Branch code: 220825
**Please use ‘Donation’ as a reference.

The Gay & Lesbian Network ensures optimum commitment and services for the upliftment and recognition of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community through creative programmes that foster equality, respect and acceptance.

19 Connaught Road, Pietermaritzburg
033 342 6165
www.gaylesbian.org.za

For free counselling call our Helpline number on 086 033 3331 or SMS “HELP” to 079 891 3036 and we will call you back.
Helpline operates from 9am-4pm, Monday to Friday.

 

The Gay & Lesbian Network’s ‘Creating an Enabling Environment’ programme recently held a workshop at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). The workshop covered the different types of sexual orientation, gender variation and sexual play.

 
The Creating an Enabling Environment programme focuses on engaging the key stakeholders at provincial and local levels with education and raising awareness on LGBTI issues. The aim is that local communities, their leaders, the health providers, the police and targeted educational institutions in the area, will provide an enabling and supportive environment for LGBTI people.

 
These types of workshops help to reduce stigma and stereotypes of the LGBTI community. This then allows for LGBTI persons to feel safer and accepted when accessing the various services. This works towards our core values of respect, acceptance and equality for all.

 

The Gay & Lesbian’s Health Programme co-ordinator, Pierre Buckley, and the health programme assistants, Mfundo Ntombela and Minenhle Nhleko, have been very busy in the Greater Edendale and Imbali areas. They have been handing out commodities such as condoms and water based lubricants, as well as information flyers on the Gay & Lesbian Network, the work we do and the various services that we offer. They also handed out booklets which have critical information about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) communities, and hate crimes. These booklets, which can be accessed online HERE, discuss hate crimes within the LGBTI context. It also has helpful information about what you should do if you have been a victim of a hate crime, who you can contact as well as some useful definitions.

The following clinics were visited by the Health Programme team today (24 January 2017):

  • Willowfountain Clinic
  • Impilwenhle Clinic
  • Azalea Clinic
  • Caluza Clinic
  • Gateway Clinic
  • Ashdown Clinic
  • Esigodini Clinic

 

Mfundo Ntombela, Sister Dlamini and Pierre Buckley at the Willowfountain Clinic.

Mfundo Ntombela, Sister Dlamini and Pierre Buckley at the Willowfountain Clinic.

Pierre Buckley, Sister Dlamini and Minenhle Nhleko at the Azalea Clinic.

Pierre Buckley, Sister Dlamini and Minenhle Nhleko at the Azalea Clinic.

Minenhle Nhleko, Pierre Buckley, and Sister Dlamini at the Ashdown Clinic.

Minenhle Nhleko, Pierre Buckley, and Sister Dlamini at the Ashdown Clinic.

Pierre Buckley, Sister Amanda and Mfundo Ntombela  at the Esigodini Clinic.

Pierre Buckley, Sister Amanda and Mfundo Ntombela at the Esigodini Clinic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to find out more about our programmes, please call us on (+27) 033 342 6165 or visit our website www.gaylesbian.org.za

 

The Pink Mynah Festival 2016 was a huge success! The festival, which was organised by the Gay & Lesbian Network and ran from 22-29 October, was split into various events which included an arts & film festival, a cheese & wine evening, the Pink Mynah Pageant and the Pink Picnic. There were various competitions held over this time and

 

The Pink Mynah Photo & Film competition #MyRight2B was held at the KZN Museum as part of our Arts & Film Festival and voters had the chance to vote at the museum and online for their favourite photos and films. The winner of the photo competition is Nompumelelo Mphantsha and the winner of the video competition is Sbongiseni Mahlangu- for the video “I get beaten up, but I rise. I am titanium”

 

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The Pink Mynah Pageant was held at the Aha Imperial Hotel and people from all walks of life entered the Pageant. It was a very close call, but the judges decided on the winners after considering all the different categories- namely casual wear, formal wear, a talent section and a question and answer session, the winners were announced. The winner of Mr Pink Mynah 2016 is Andre Brahim, and the winner of Ms Pink Mynah 2016 is Sphesihle Memela.

 

We also had a raffle for a pair of Limited Edition Pride Shoes which are made in Spain. The raffle was held at the Pink Mynah Picnic at the YMCA on October 29. We would like to thank Qadasi & Maqhinga who assisted with the raffle draw on stage. The lucky winner of these awesome shoes is Mogotsi Letlhage.

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The Gay & Lesbian Network would like to congratulate all of the winners and thank everyone who took part in the various competitions. We would also like to thank the Department of Arts & Culture, Pride Shoes and all of the sponsors who made the Pink Mynah Festival 2016 great! A thank you to everyone who supported the Gay & Lesbian Network and to those who attended our events. All of your support is much appreciated.

 

 

The Pink Mynah Festival 2016 was a huge success! The festival, which was organised by the Gay & Lesbian Network ran from 22-29 October, was split into various events which included an arts & film festival, a cheese & wine evening, the Pink Mynah Pageant and the Pink Picnic.

The film screening was held at the KZN Museum and had the premiere screening of ‘This is my Rose’- a story of love, betrayal, romance and secrets. The aim of the Rose films is to use visuals or digital stories to share the intriguing indigenous knowledge on Gender Identity and Sexuality in the African context, and to sensitize the community at large with such issues and challenges. The exhibition also had some photos from the #MyRight2B photo competition which focuses on the positive stories of the local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. Not forgetting the struggles that this community faces every day, there was also a Hate Crimes exhibition. Another highlight of the exhibition was the work of internationally renowned American photographer, Michael Ashby. Ashby’s ‘Alternative’, is a collection of portraits that have been shot using ambrotype, a 160-year-old form of “alternative photography.”

The Cheese & Wine evening was held at the Aha Imperial Hotel and was really a great event in terms of fundraising for the Gay & Lesbian Network. There were four members of staff who were actioned to the highest bidder for a lunch date. There was live entertainment and great wine from Holden Manz. This wine can still be ordered through the Gay & Lesbian Network.

The Pink Mynah Pageant was also held at the Aha Imperial Hotel and people from all walks of life entered the Pageant. It was a very close call this week, but the judges decided on the winners after considering all the different categories- namely casual wear, formal wear, a talent section and a question and answer session, the winners were announced. The winner of Mr Pink Mynah 2016 is Andre Brahim, and the winner of Ms Pink Mynah 2016 is Sphesihle Memela.

The Pink Mynah Parade, affectionately known as ‘Pietermaritzburg’s Pride’ was filled with colour as the LGBTI and allies marched from Market Square to the YMCA. The afternoon as jam packed with entertainment from the likes of Kwesta, Klutch Kollective, Joocy, DJ Le Soul and many more! The raffle for the limited edition Pride Shoes was done by Qadasi & Maqhinga, and the lucky winner is Mogotsi Lettage.

The Gay & Lesbian Network would like to thank everyone who supported the event and a huge thank you to the Department of Arts and Culture for their generous sponsorship. The Network would also like to thank all the artists, performers, all the people behind the scenes and to everyone who attended. This year’s Pink Mynah Festival has been the best one yet and we are looking forward to next year!

 

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Mr Pink Mynah 2016 Andre Brahim, Director of the Gay & Lesbian Network, Anthony Waldhausen and of Ms Pink Mynah 2016 Sphesihle Memela.

 

The Pink Mynah Street Parade was a big splash of colour!

 

To view more photos, please visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/glnpmb/photos

 

 

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Master’s art student, Rory Klopper, will be hosting an exhibition of his work at the Jack Health Gallery at the UKZN Centre for Visual Art on the 14th of October. The times are 5:30pm for 6pm and refreshments will be served. There is secure parking available and the artwork will be up for sale.

This exhibition concludes three years of Master’s work interrogating the self. The artist, Rory Klopper, explores his feelings regarding social structures that adhere to a particularised norm of which he finds himself unable to subscribe. Experiencing personal traumas led Klopper to resign from formal employment and take time to reflect upon how he perceives life. Re-entering academia at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, fine art’s department Klopper’s work navigates complex social structures that are primarily influenced by his homosexuality. As the ‘other’ always looking in his work evokes a sense of isolation and the bizarre. Confronted with heteronormative rubrics that aim to control and uphold certain ideologies Klopper actively deconstructs these codes in process of actualising his uniqueness. His work has come to explore concepts of queer theory, grotesque realism, and the cadaver exquisite to try understand who he is in the act of becoming.

The multiplicity of identity challenges how one understands one’s physical body in relation to the society in which one lives. One perceives oneself as a body that looks and behaves a certain way, but this body is an illusion of social enculturation. Klopper deconstructs his body and reinterprets its form to try and understand who he really is, in doing so he creates surreal creatures based on how he perceives himself within society. Life is full of obstacles, how one navigates these challenges informs the construction of one’s identity during transformation, thus it can be argued that identity is not static but rather in a state of flux.

One’s thoughts and feelings regarding how one perceives oneself are influenced by projections from those around us. Our multiplicity is foreground in and around corporeal action. We each have a story and we each have a unique way of perceiving our reality, Carl Jung describes this reality as personal myth believing that myth is more individual and expresses life more precisely than science. Klopper’s work explores his life journey – his pain and his joy – as his personal myth. His work does not offer answers to humanities existential questions, rather it is an intimate reflection of an individual who intuitively explores his emotions through tangible modes of creation, namely painting, drawing, cut-outs, photography, and assemblage.

A nervous breakdown early in 2014 led Klopper into the unknown, and it is in the unknowing of the self that Klopper has come to embrace the complexities of his multiplicity, and understand the contradictory aspects of his character. Who one is today cannot be who one will be tomorrow, we evolve in time and space continuously, informed each day by our lived experiences. Klopper’s work allows for elements of chance to unfold which he believes unveils the authentic self. Perfection does not interest him, the uncontrolled and flawed speak more closely to his reality. As a gay man Klopper is interested in the gendering of sexuality and explores this through colour and contour, his work expresses a desire to emancipate himself from social indoctrination that restricts individual fluidity. Body-modification performance artist Orlan claims that the body is obsolete, through his work Klopper explores ways of understanding at what point the body and self intersect in the formation of identity, and how awareness of this intersection can assist in the formation of a more enlightened version of oneself.

 

 

Rory Klopper with his creations Fat Man and Thin Man

 

 

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Pietermaritzburg’s annual Pink Mynah Festival is nearly upon us, and we are giving everyone a chance to win some great prizes! The Gay & Lesbian Network will be hosting the Pink Mynah Festival from the 22nd-29th of October. The programme includes a film & art exhibition, a cheese & wine evening, the Mr & Ms Pink Mynah Pageant, a fashion show and the much celebrated street parade.

 
The Gay & Lesbian Network is a non-profit Organisation based in Pietermaritzburg which advocates for equality, respect and acceptance of the LGTI community. The Pink Mynah Festival is our main fundraising event of the year and is proudly sponsored by the department of Arts & Culture and is endorsed by KwaZulu-Natal Tourism and the Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association.

 
As part of the festival, we are running a photo and film competition and are inviting everyone to submit photos or films of themselves in which they feel safe and supported within the context of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. The theme for the Pink Mynah Festival is #MyRight2B and so we are looking for photos and films of those who are ‘out and proud’, happy couples, and the supportive family and friends! These entries will form part of our film & art exhibition, which will be taking place on the 22nd of October. Entries for this competition close on the 30th of September so get snapping!

 
We are also appealing to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 to enter our Pink Mynah Pageant. There will be two winners, Mr Pink Mynah and Ms Pink Mynah. However, we encourage you to enter the category in which you feel most comfortable, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. You do not need any modelling experience and this pageant is a great stepping stone to those who wish to advance in this field. Part of the entertainment for the night also includes a fashion show by local designers and performances by Drag Queens. Entries for the pageant close on the 14th of October, so be sure to enter soon!

 
Furthermore, we are holding a raffle for a pair of limited edition Pride Shoes. These gorgeous shoes are made in Spain and made from top quality materials. Tickets will be available until the 29th of October, when we will hold the draw at our Pink Mynah Picnic, which will take place at the YMCA after the street parade. We are also seeking sponsorship and donations from anyone who would like to contribute to this auspicious event.

 
With all of these great competitions, fabulous prizes to be won, and great entertainment in store- you just have to be sure to join in the festivities!

 

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