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

News

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Two men who brutally raped a young woman who identifies as a lesbian have been released on bail.

The Gay & Lesbian Network team, as well as members of the LGBTI+ community were at the court to support the young girl, raise awareness and advocate for justice to be served.

 

A 17 year old girl from Watersmeet, just outside of Ladysmith, who is open about her sexual orientation (she identifies at a butch lesbian) was viciously attacked and raped by two men who reside near her home. This is the third time in her young life that she has been raped by men who believe that savagely raping a lesbian will ‘turn her heterosexual’ and make her ‘a real women’.

This is known as ‘corrective rape’ which is the use of rape against people who do not conform to perceived social norms regarding human sexuality or gender roles. This means that the rape was premeditated, intentional and accompanied by malicious aforethought.

The bail hearing for the alleged rapists, one is 22 years old and the other is 20 years old have continuously been postponed, and today (4 December 2017) at the Magistrates Court in Ladysmith, bail was set at a measly R1000 for each perpetrator. It is alleged that this is the second time that that one of the perpratators has raped the victim. The hearing will be held on 26 January.

The Gay & Lesbian Network (GLN) is deeply saddened by this news. The GLN team have been supporting the young lady in terms of reporting the case to the National Task Team and the Rapid Response Team, both of whom respond to Hate Crimes. The case has being heard during the 16 days of activism against gender based violence. Londeka Xulu, the Outreach Programme coordinator at GLN says “It is devestating to see how the LGBTI+ community is still at such a risk. In terms of the law, we are protected, but in reality we aren’t.”

A hate crime is an offence by which a person is motivated on the basis of that person’s prejudice, bias or intolerance towards the victim of the hate crime in question because of one or more characteristics or perceived characteristics of the victim. GLN have also been counselling her and have referred her for further help.

One needs to take into account the nature of the rights of the victim and the nature of the crime; the severity of the emotional and psychological damage, as well as the fact that the impact of hate crimes and hate speech extend beyond the victim, and to the group to which the victim belongs or is perceived to belong.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a hate crime, please contact GLN for free counselling and referrals for further assistance if required. We also offer workshops for various stakeholders as well as sensitization training.

GLN is a registered Non-Profit Organisation which does pioneering work with the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) other marginalised communities and people. We aim to create a non-discriminatory, supportive and accepting society in which members of all communities are uplifted and developed. This is done though our various programmes.

You can help us continue the work that we do by assisting with donations and/or volunteering. Please call 033 342 6165 or email info@gaylesbian.org.za for more information.

28th November, 10am-4 pm, at Glen Ridge Church

For the first time, and as part of the KwaZulu-Natal Premier’s programme for 16 days of activism, religious fraternities and key stakeholders will have a chance to engage with survivors of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) on their experiences when seeking support from them.

An event is co-hosted by the Phephisa Survivors Movement together with We Will Speak Out SA Coalition and a number of other partners in KZN (KwaZulu Christian Council and its regional partners, Diakonia Council of Churches, Religions for Peace, KwaZulu Christian Council, the Gay and Lesbian Network and Lifeline).

The two main objectives are that survivors in KZN will receive better support and experience less stigmatization; and that there will be improved synergies between faith leaders and other stakeholders in both prevention efforts and support for survivors at provincial and local community levels.

The programme is split into two parts. The first session is a dialogue between faith leaders and members of a growing SGBV survivor movement in KZN, to help faith leaders respond to the survivors’ sharing of their experiences when seeking help from their faith communities. It will open a space for faith leaders to discuss practical ways to contribute to the broad sector that is engaged in various ways to prevent and respond to sexual and gender based violence.

The second session is a ‘multilogue’ – an open space for participants to address challenges experienced by survivors when seeking the services of a variety of stakeholders and how best to ensure improved continuity of services between public services and those (potentially) offered at local community level.

This session will end with a shared draft skeletal action plan to contribute into the Provincial 365 days Action Plan for 2018. It will propose concrete mechanisms for building on current good practices and improve synergies, while addressing key gaps to effectively tackle underlying drivers of SGBV in prevention efforts.

Ethekwini Mayor, Her Worship Ms Zandile Gumede and the Office of the Premier will address the gathering, attended by a wide spectrum of faith leaders, NGOs, Provincial service providers and other invited guests.

We Will Speak Out SA will also hold their Annual General Meeting from 8.30 to10am.

For more information, please contact Daniela 0724537502 or coordinator@wwsosa.org.za and for bookings, please contact or yspain@sai.co.za.

Gay & Lesbian Network would like to extend our sincere congratulations to our Operational Manager, Pierre Buckley on your engagement to Rudy Cupido! We wish you both a life full of love, joy and wonderful moments together! All the best for your future together!

 

 

The Gay and Lesbian Network (GLN) would like to express our deepest gratitude for the kind donation from Mark Butler. He recently gave a very generous donation which will go towards the work that GLN does to ensure equality, respect and acceptance. GLN runs various programmes which take a holistic approach to improving the lives of marginalised communities, primarily the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. These programmes include outreach, health, research and a unique creating an enabling environment, which focuses on educating and sensitising various stakeholders.

Butler had the following to say’ “First of all, it’s a terrible indictment on us as a society, as a community, that the Network needs to exist at all. It really shouldn’t be too much to ask that, as humans first & fundamentally, all of us love all of us – without qualification, without reservation, without fear, and without hatred. But the truth is we do fail – repeatedly and systematically. Scourges like racism, sexism, elitism, xenophobia, and queer-&homo-phobia are much too commonplace. So there’s lots of work to be done to affirm everyone’s fundamental humanity and dignity; to challenge prejudice and hatred; and to comfort and heal the many who are hurt and damaged by our failures of love and humanity. Giving support – and cash – to organisations like ‘Maritzburg’s Gay and Lesbian Network is one part of that work.”

The money that he donated is extra special, as it comes from his late mother’s estate. GLN would like to take this opportunity to remind the public of our bequest programme, in which you are able to include GLN in your will.  You can always make a difference in someone else’s life by assisting in any way that you can, whether it is by donation of money, food, clothes or volunteering your time. As GLN is a non-profit organisation and relies on donations, all bequests and donations are exempt from tax.

 

 

Anthony Waldhausen – Director of Gay & Lesbian Network (left) and Qiniso Nonjabulo Ntuli – Finance Officer of Gay & Lesbian Network (right) accept the generous donation from Mark Butler (centre) on behalf of the Gay and Lesbian Network.

Gay & Lesbian Network has partnered with Pride Wear ZA to raise funds for our programs that foster equality, respect and acceptance of marginalized lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people living in and around KwaZulu-Natal and Southern Africa.

We are selling bracelets for just R20 each. We have Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Pansexual, Asexual, Non-binary and Genderqueer designs available.

To get your hand on these beautiful bracelets, please visit our office at 19 Connaught Road, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg.

 

 

 

Check out our latest news letter! The Gayzette brings you news from the Gay & Lesbian Network from the last Quarter.

We are constantly working towards the upliftment and recognition of the LGBTI community through creative programmes that foster equality, respect and acceptance.

Gayzette- Spring 2017

As a Non-Profit organisation, we rely on donations and sponsorship. This money goes towards the work that we do with 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.

Banking details

Bank: First National Bank (FNB)

Account name: Gay & Lesbian Network

Account number: 62100583394

Branch name: Bank Street

Branch code: 220825

Swift code: FIRNZAJJ (international code)

The Gay & Lesbian Network staff are growing a vegetable garden to help feed the communities which we work with. This has been taken up by the staff wellness committee, and has become a teambuilding exercise for staff members.

Many of our beneficiaries have been disowned by their family and most battle to find work. One of the ways in which we can help is by providing food. After moving to our new office last year, the staff has designated an area for our vegetable garden, and we recently had a wellness day of planting some more vegetables. These have taken off well and some are nearly ready to harvest!  Sadly, we do not have all the necessary tools available to us and we use a polystyrene cup to water the garden. Other activities, like digging and clearing, is all done by hand.

 

We are looking for assistance in acquiring

  • a small spade
  • a small garden fork
  • a watering can
  • seeds
  • compost
  • or any cash donation which will go towards this initiative.

Other ways in which we provide assistance is with our outreach programme, which supports our beneficiaries with self-development, career-development and conflict resolution, through the Zenzele Youth Support Programme.

We also have an Advice Office at the Edendale Lay Ecumenical Centre, where we offer counselling, HIV testing and counselling, support groups, career guidance, transgender specific services and referrals. You may contact our Edendale office on 033 398 0004.

As a NPO we rely on donations and sponsorship, which goes towards our programmes. Our holistic approach fosters 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.

Banking details:

Bank: First National Bank (FNB)

Account name: Gay and Lesbian Network

Account number: 62100583394

Branch name: Bank Street

Branch code: 220825

Swift code: FIRNZAJJ (international code)

 

Tel: +27 33 342 6165

19 Connaught Road

Pietermaritzburg, 3201

E-mail: info@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.

 Members of the Gay & Lesbian Network (GLN) have seen the film Inxeba and feel that it has received a large amount of positive views in  an international platform. However, amaXhosa King Zwelonke Sigcawu, would prefer it didn’t show at all.

Anthony Waldhausen, the director and founder of the Gay & Lesbian Network, has claimed that the film ‘doesn’t focus on the Xhosa culture’ but rather on some of the difficulties faced by some men who are attracted to other men and the struggles they face within the culture.

He fears that most of the people who are speaking out against the film, most probably haven’t seen it, and if this is the case, he urges them to watch it before jumping to conclusions on what the film is trying to portray.

Abongile Matyila, who is Xhosa himself, also believes this. He says that people are getting ready to fight, due to the secretive nature of the Xhosa initiation ritual being displayed. He says that the trailer may have seemed disrespectful to many who saw it, as keeping the tradition secret is a normal part of the ritual that serves to preserve the nature and sanctity of the culture- a tradition which has been in place for hundreds of years.

“However, at the same time, there needs to be a space for people to express their sexual identity. The film does a lovely job in this as it shows that not all men who are homosexual are ‘out and proud’, and that there are other ways in which one can express their sexuality,” says Matyila. “This also plays into the themes of respect and caring for each other as men which are exhibited by culture. It challenges the traditional idea of what masculinity is supposed to be, and how, due to constraints from society, these lovers have managed to find a way in which to express their feelings for each other”. He adds that the story does not portray too much of the sacred ritual, but layers a context in which reality and story-telling can challenge our ordinary perceptions of masculinity, and portray the complex intersectionality between culture and identity.

Waldhausen is particularly concerned that one of the lead actors, Nakhane, has received very violent death threats over social media and recently had to cancel a trip to the Eastern Cape due to fearing for his life and safety. “He is just an actor portraying a reality, and this definitely counts as hate speech as it incites violence towards the LGBTI+ community. This highlights the fact that the delay in the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill is a major concern, says Waldhausen.

Pierre Buckley, the operational manager at GLN, echoes these concerns and reinforces the fact that Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill needs to be put into place ASAP. “You would think that in a country where diversity is celebrated, that we would not have such a tough time in accepting those who are different to us, be it racial, cultural, gender roles or religious differences” says Buckley.

The Gay & Lesbian Network acknowledges that our struggles are intersectional and the political difficulties minority groups might experience (including that of cultural groups) can be better addressed when we present a united front and embrace our differences within a safer, more tolerant space within our rainbow nation.

The Gay & Lesbian Network is a non-profit organisation which advocates for the upliftment and recognition of the LGBTI community. We offer various programmes and workshops, and encourage you to come forward if you have been a victim of a hate crime. We offer free counselling and work closely with other medical professionals. If you would like more information, please call us on 033 342 6165 or email info@gaylesbian.org.za

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.

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