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

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The Gay & Lesbian Network’s Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) programme held an evaluation event at the KZN Museum. Pierre Bickley, the programme coordinator welcomed everyone to the event and the National Anthem was sung.

Buckley also shared a number of presentations that document the work of the SRHR programme within the region. He also discussed some of the successful partnerships that have been formed with other LGBTI organisations within Africa, including Mauritius, Botswana and Swaziland.

The SRHR field workers also had a chance to present and Bongumusa Shezi spoke about the workshops which complement the SRHR programme; Mfundo Ntombela discussed the effect of dialogues on cultural and religious misconceptions; and Minenhle Nhleko presented on the impact of social media and community radio. A question and answer session was held after the presentations, and Noxolo Nxumalo spearheaded these discussions.

ICAP, one of the Gay & Lesbian Network’s partners also attended the event with their mobile clinic to do HIV, TB and STI testing and screening. These services are also available to the Gay & Lesbian Network’s office, situated at 187a Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg.

Other stakeholders that were in attendance included the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Siyanqoba and Families South Africa (FAMSA). Gusts were treated to performances by Sphesihle Mshiba and Xoli Ngubane. Lunch was served after the presentations and many positive comments made about the work and the reach of this project.

The Gay & Lesbian Network held their Annual General Meeting last weekend, on 27 February. The AGM was held at St Alpheges Church in Alan Paton Drive on Saturday. The acting chairperson, Nkululeko Conco, the finance manager, Nasreen Visajee and director of the Gay & Lesbian Network, Anthony Waldhausen kicked off the meeting with their yearly reports. The guest speaker was Pumla Mabizela from Oxfam, South Africa.  The Master of ceremonies was Mr Pink Mynah 2015, Abongile Matyila. In between speakers, there was lovely singing by Petunia Msani.

The various programmes also reported back on the highlights on the last year. The programme manager, Thuli Mjwara gave an overview of the progress of the programmes. The Gay & Lesbian Network currently run four programmes which are aimed at promoting Equality, Respect and Acceptance for all. The four programmes that the Gay & Lesbian Network runs are ‘Creating an Enabling Environment’, ‘Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights’, the ‘Outreach’ programme and the relatively new ‘Research’ unit.

The Gay & Lesbian Network were very pleased to announce that they have recently partnered with the Litres for Education initiative which enables ordinary people to make a difference to their choice of educational institution, community projects and non-profit organisations based on the amount of fuel they purchase monthly. When filling up with fuel at one of the participating service stations, 10 cents for every litre goes towards the charity and in this case, the Gay & Lesbian Network. All you have to do is sign up online and then choose the Gay & Lesbian Network as your preferred beneficiary, and tell the service station when you fill up on fuel. You need to also get a donor ID which you need to stick to your windscreen and they are available at the Gay & Lesbian Network office.

The Gay & Lesbian Network educates the general population, as well as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community on various topics, including health rights, sexual diversity, personal development, etc. The Gay & Lesbian Network also run a helpline for those in distress and are involved in numerous anti-bullying campaigns.

If you are interested in learning more about the Gay & Lesbian Network or would like to make donations through the Litres for Education fund, please visit the website at www.gaylesbian.org.za or call the Gay & Lesbian Network on 033 342 6165. Alternatively, you may visit the offices at 187a Burger Street.

 

The Gay & Lesbian Network has new merchandise in stock! These include some fun t-shirts that read “Let’s get one thing straight-I’m not” (available in white) and “Gay rights are human rights” (available in black and are great for #BlackThursday!) There are stunning lanyards so you don’t lose your keys and lovely beaded gay flag pins. We also have some tote bags which are made out of recycled PVC billboards/banners- which means that every single one is completely unique! The bags are available in a variety of colours and colour combinations. We also have bumper stickers available in 6 different designs. Scroll down to see all the options!

Please visit us at 187a Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg, if you would like to purchase any of our amazing new colourful products. Please note that all funds raised from sales will go towards benefitting the LGBTI community through the work that we do with creative programmes that foster Equality, Respect and Acceptance for all. Please note that we only accept cash.

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T-shirt (Black &White) R120
Tote Bag R70
Beaded Pins R25
Snap Hook Lanyard R20
Sticker R15
GLN Shirt (Pink & Lime) R50
GLN Badge R10
GLN Sticker R5

The Gay & Lesbian Network’s Pink Mynah Festival street parade was held on Saturday and saw dozens of LGBTI people and supporters march down Chief Albert Lutuli Street with pride. Flags were held high and songs rang out onto the streets. The parade was aimed at raising awareness and is Pietermaritzburg’s only festival to celebrate sexual diversity. The parade was led by drum majorettes from Fezokulhe School, and the winners of the pageant held the night before.

We marched to Alexandra Park, where all were welcomed to the Pink Mynah picnic with live entertainment. This included the drum majorettes who performed a spectacular piece at the picnic, singing, dancing, stalls, as well as HIV testing and counselling.  All in all, the Gay & Lesbian Network’s Pink Mynah Pageant 2015 was a huge success and GLN would like to thank all of our sponsors who made Pink Mynah possible, and to all of those who ‘came out’ to show their support.

 

 

The Gay & Lesbian Network’s Pink Mynah Festival included the Pink Mynah Pageant at the Protea Hotel Imperial on Friday night. The evening included great entertainment, a fashion show and of course, the pageant. The masters of ceremonies was the Gay & Lesbian Network’s very own Pierre Buckley, who won Mr PMB 2013 and Mr Gay South Africa Mr congeniality 2014. The other MC was Lucky Mthembu, who was crowned first princess for Miss Teen SA in 2009, was in the top 24 of Miss South Africa 2012, and is currently the face of Garnier. She has also modeled for well-known stores, including Mr Price, The Hub, Jet and Jam Stores, to name a few. She has featured in True Love, Destiny, Sawubona and Real Magazine, as well as many newspapers, billboards, TV and other print media.

There were two categories, Mr Pink Mynah and Ms Pink Mynah, and contestants were welcomed to enter either category regardless of gender or sexual orientation- just one of the factors that make our pageant very unique.  The pageant was judged by Siya Khumalo, Shireen Anthony, Linda Ngcobo and Elre du Plessis. There was a talent section, casual wear and evening wear and the contestants all looked stunning as they strutted their stuff along the run way. They also each had to answer questions about themselves, and these influences their scores.

The room was filled with excitement as we waited for the winners to be announced. And the winner of the Mr Pink Mynah is Abongile Matyila, and the Ms Pink Mynah winner is Philisiwe Ntuli. The runner ups for Mr Pink Mynah are Mhlengi Shezi and Nhlakanipho Mkhulisa; and the runners up for Ms Pink Mynah are Thanduxolo Thengwa and Veronica Banks (Veron Moodley). The winner of the pageant will get involved in community projects and serve as ambassadors for the Gay & Lesbian Network in the coming year.

 

 

 

The Gay & Lesbian Network’s Pink Mynah Festival started with an Arts & Film Festival which was held at the KZN Museum on 3rd December 2015. The event was a huge success, with over 70 people in attendance. One of the main highlights was the screening of the much celebrated film, While you weren’t looking. The audience thoroughly enjoyed this film and there was a discussion of it after the screening. Some of the comments included things like “This film portrays the power the love and what it can do to you” and “it’s really great to see a film like this- one that shows what it’s like for the South African queer community.”

Other highlights of the day included the Rainbow Theatre Group, the Gay & Lesbian’s Network very own drama group. They performed a contemporary dance piece entitled “my body, my life, my decisions” which aims at raising awareness on the high prevalence of hate crimes committed against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexed (LGBTI) community throughout Africa. There was also an art exhibition which focused on the prevalence of hate crimes, an HIV/AIDS exhibition, poetry and singing. A great time was had by all and there was only positive feedback on the day’s events.

 

 

The Gay & Lesbian Network volunteers attended the National Durban Anti-Corruption March. It started at King Dini Zulu park, where Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu and Cape Town, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba were at the fore front. Even though the turnout was not as the other national marches, the main organizer, Debbie Mathew from AIDS foundation South Africa was happy with the turnout and support from organisations.

Former intelligence minister, Ronnie Kasril addressed the crowd at Durban city Hall where the march ended, saying “ they is nothing like the sound of marching feet as abantu. As the people in all their formation. Rise up! Rise up in this troubled world, where is the capitalist international system which is breeding the greed and the corruption” he said.

 

The Gay & Lesbian Network (GLN) was at Soweto Pride 2015 showing our support. The march took place in Meadowlands and the main focus was to stop hate crimes against LGBTI persons, especially in the townships where it has mostly been women victims who have been raped and murdered. This year’s theme was “Our Lives Matter – Safety, Justice and Freedom are our Rights.” A great time was had by all who attended!

On August 6 2015, the participants of the Zenzele Project, had their graduation ceremony. The Zenzele Project is an off shoot of the Gay & Lesbian Network’s Outreach project, and is aimed at empowering youth in local communities.

The Zenzele Project is the first of its kind in the area and was implemented in February. The group of 42 participants were spilt into separate groups for training. The topics that were covered in the course included personal development, career development and financial literacy. The personal development was facilitated by Lindzi Robinowitz and Monique Van Deventer, while Simon Wilde and Mark Brassell covered financial literacy, and Anna Martin did career development with them.

Londeka Xulu is the programme co-ordinator and has been hoping to run such a project for years and is extremely happy about the Zenzele pilot being such a great success. Ndumiso Gwala is the outreach worker who was also an integral part of the project.